Pillar #2 – Define Your Preferred Future

As you read yesterday, I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design over the next several days.  Yesterday, I shared Pillar #1 – Start Your Master Dream List.

Today I share Pillar #2 – Define Your Preferred Future.  What is your Preferred Future?  Quite simply, it is your dream life.  If you could live any kind of lifestyle at all…if time and money were no object…what kind of lifestyle would you choose?

I encourage you to get a piece of paper, or the computer, and project yourself one, three, five and 10 years into the future.  How old are you?  What is your life like?  What is most important to you?  How have your personal, family and career circumstances changed?  What goals have you achieved?

Be as realistic and objective as possible. This isn’t the time to dream that you can go from making $30,000 this year to making a million next year.  I know people have done it…and I’d be the last person on earth to stop you from dreaming it and doing it.

But one of the reasons many people fail at achieving their dream life is that they set unrealistic expectations, and they simply give up before long.

Here’s a sample Preferred Future description:

The year is 2014 and I’m 42 years old.  My family lives in a 4 bedroom home in the country, with a pool.  We have a few horses and ATV’s which we ride on throughout our five acre property. My photography hobby now supports our family as a business.  I sell my work through my website, at art shows, and a few retail locations.  We’re able to travel as a family to interesting sites across the country where I want to shoot pictures.  My spouse and I have a great relationship – we’re madly in love with each other.  Our three kids are a blessing and I have a special relationship with each one.  We now give away 14% of our income to causes we believe in (included in this is the 10% we give to our church).  We are debt-free (including the house).  The financial stress we used to feel is gone.  Financial freedom feels WONDERFUL!

Next, review what you wrote.  What stands out to you?  What things, from all that you’ve described, are most important and why?

Then ask yourself: “How are my current life/work experiences helping me achieve my future?”

Lastly, ask “What changes do I need to make so that whatever I do is leading me to the realization of my future?

That’s Pillar #2 – Define Your Preferred Future.  Tomorrow we’ll cover Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose.

Pillar #1 – Start Your Master Dream List

Today I begin sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design. Pillar #1 is – Start Your Master Dream List.

All of us have had dreams, since we were kids, of a career we’d like to have, a car we want to drive, a house we’d like to live in, or trips we’d like to take.

We often keep lists of hopes, wishes and dreams in our heads, but few people ever write them down.  This makes it harder for us to make a plan to achieve our goals, track our progress, celebrate our success.

The Master Dream List is the place to list everything you have ever wanted to have, all the places you’d like to go, all the things you’d like to do, the possessions you’d like to own, the personality or character traits you wish to develop, the goals you desire to achieve.   Others have called it a “Bucket List” – a list of stuff to do before you kick the bucket!

Sample of Master Dream List

Sample of Master Dream List

It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Just grab a sheet of paper, or your computer, and make three columns:  Date, Dream Goal, and Life Area.

  1. Date – List today’s date, the date on which you are writing your dream.
  2. Dream Goal – Write down whatever it is that you want to be, do, have, and achieve.  You can also include a deadline date if you’d like.
  3. Life Area – There are seven basic Life Areas, or categories, in our lives:  Family, Career, Financial, Social, Physical, Personal Development, and Spiritual/Ethical.  Decide which Life Area this dream fits into.  Is it a dream for your career?  Family?  Personal betterment?  Spiritual growth?  Etc.

Don’t evaluate your dreams or think about them too much at this time….just make the list.  Have fun and dream big.  Write down absolutely everything that comes to your mind…so you get it out of your head and on paper or in your computer.

This isn’t just a one-time activity. You’ll want to add to your Master Dream List whenever any other wish, goal or dream comes to your mind.

I’ve had one for over 10 years and I continue to make additions and changes.  And sometimes I make deletions…I decide something is no longer important to me or worth achieving.  Other times I tweak them a little or make some changes.

Everything that is worth achieving and giving your life to begins with a dream.  Sadly, for many, they stop here, and don’t go on to take the steps necessary to see their dreams come true.

One key to success in making your dreams come true is to regularly review your list and make additions as necessary.  The more you review them, the more you can clarify which ones to work on now, and which ones would be nice to do someday down the road.

Tomorrow I’ll share Lifestyle Design Pillar #2 – Define Your Preferred Future.