There’s something extra magical about turning the page and entering a new decade. Especially, when it comes to goal-setting for a new decade and considering what the next ten years could look like.
While I’m a goal-setting enthusiast when setting short-term goals, I sometimes forget to step back and think about my bigger picture and broader vision for my life.
If you’re anything like me, you might set personal and professional milestones as part of your New Year’s resolutions or in shorter time frames each year. But are these goals driving you toward the bigger picture? Are you actually excited about the direction you’re headed in?
Sometimes, thinking about the future is scary, daunting, overwhelming, emotional, or some combination of all the above. However, there is no time like the start of a new decade to pause, reflect, and envision the possibilities over the next ten years.
You can set goals over the next decade in all areas of your life—relationships, social life, career, fitness, health, spirituality, mental, and so much more. Fortunately, this new decade is a blank canvas waiting to be filled!
If you aren’t sure where to start, this guide is for you! We’ll help you set goals over a more extended period. Here are our best goal-setting tips for a new decade and some ideas to help you get started!
How to think about your life one decade at a time
As you set your long-term goals, there are five key activities you should consider doing. And ideally, these activities are not happening at the same time so you have some time to process and think in-between them.
These goal-setting tips for a new decade are listed below in this particular order because setting goals requires some self-reflection, clarification, and envisioning. Once those are accomplished, you can move into the actual goal setting with direction and confidence.
Laying the groundwork for your goals is actually the most important part so don’t skip these steps. Equally important, the final step will allow you to observe your progress and adapt as needed in order to meet these goals.
1. Reflect on the past decade.
Pause and take a deep breath—you survived the last decade! And you deserve to celebrate it. Accordingly, take stock of your greatest achievements, most cherished moments, people you couldn’t have lived without, and everything in between.
Here are some questions to ask yourself in this first part of goal-setting tips for the new decade:
- What were my core values and priorities over the past ten years?
- What are my proudest achievements?
- How did my accomplishments contribute to my personal and professional growth?
- What were the most significant challenges I faced?
- How did my relationships evolve over the last decade?
- Who were the most influential and essential people in my life?
- How has my career progressed in the previous ten years?
- Is my career aligned with my long-term life goals?
- Have I developed new perspectives I want to carry into the new decade?
- Am I happy with how I balanced my personal life, work, and overall well-being?
- Did I positively contribute to the lives of others?
- In what moments did I feel most joyful and fulfilled?
- What activities bring me the most happiness?
- When do I feel most like my authentic self, and how can I create more of those opportunities in the next decade?
- Are there any goals I’m releasing that I no longer want to pursue?
Print photos, create collages (physical or digital ones), journal, and look back through your social media posts. Additionally, talk about old memories with your loved ones, and indulge in reflecting in any other way that resonates with you.
Spend some time on your reflection; don’t rush it! In reality, a lot can happen in ten years.
2. Clarify your core values and priorities.
With a solid reflection behind you, sit with your core values. Although, maybe they changed over the last ten years, perhaps they didn’t—it doesn’t matter either way.
What’s important is that you define your values. Moreover, why they’re priorities for you so you can use them to guide your goal-planning efforts.
If you need some inspiration, might we recommend spending time with Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead List of Values as a starting point?
3. Envision where you want to be in ten years.
Like the reflection exercise, you must consider where you want to be ten years from now. Scary, right? It doesn’t have to be!
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Basically, you don’t have to have it all figured out, and it’s okay if your thoughts change halfway through the next decade.
Use the following prompts to cast your vision for the next decade:
- How do I envision my family life, friendships, and social circle evolving?
- Where do I see myself in my career ten years from now?
- What impact do I want to make in my industry or profession?
- Are there specific career goals I want to accomplish?
- What kind of relationships do I want to cultivate and strengthen?
- Are there specific health-related goals I want to achieve?
- What are my financial aspirations for the new decade?
- What passions and hobbies do I want to continue pursuing or explore?
- How do I want to contribute to my community?
- How can I make a positive impact on those around me?
- Are there any specific places I want to visit at some point during the next decade?
- What does happiness and fulfillment look like for me in ten years?
- Where do I hope to be the next time I reflect on the past decade?
4. Turn your vision into SMART goals.
Once you know where you want to be at the end of the decade, work backward and create tangible plans to help you get there. Additionally, you must break down your desired endpoint into smaller, manageable goals.
We love the SMART goal method:
- Achievable or Attainable
For example, if one of your goals is to buy a house in the next ten years, you must plan backward.
What year do you want to buy a house? When should you start looking? Will you need to save money for a couple of years before you start looking for a home? How much do you need to save?
First, think of your long-term goals in small milestones so you can set general deadlines to keep yourself on track. Then, map out your goals, and remember, you have ten years to get to where you’re going, so be realistic.
Don’t jam all your desires into small periods if it doesn’t make sense. Also, give yourself bite-sized amounts of work along the way.
5. Decide how you’ll monitor progress and check in with yourself.
Remember that goal-setting is dynamic and fluid, especially over extended periods. It’s okay (and necessary) to reassess and adjust your goals as circumstances change.
Ensure you implement processes to check in with yourself regularly. Review your goals (and the associated goal timelines) at regular intervals that work best for you, and rework your plans as needed.
There’s no shame in leaving goals behind if they no longer serve you. Accordingly, be honest with yourself and your vision! You deserve it.
Examples of decade-long goals for inspiration
Are you ready to begin following these goal-setting tips for the new decade? Below are some examples of decade-long goals for inspiration to jumpstart your planning:
- Achieve a specific position within your career
- Graduate with an undergraduate or advanced degree in your field of interest
- Start and grow your own business
- Move from an individual contributor role to a management role
- Get married
- Start a family naturally or through IVF
- Expand the size of your family
- Apply to become a foster home
- Adopt a child
- Pay off student loan debts
- Pay off credit card debts
- Learn about and open a high-yield savings account
- Build an emergency savings fund
- Build an investment portfolio
Health and Fitness
- Find and commit to a regular workout class
- Learn how to cook healthier meals at home
- Eliminate all fast food from your diet
- Work up to walking 10,000 steps per day
- Visit a set number of cities or countries
- Go on a trip with specific family members or friends
- Choose neighboring areas to explore for local hidden treasures
These are just a few examples to spark your thinking. Undoubtedly, your goals should align with your values and circumstances over the next ten years!
Final Thoughts on These Goal-Setting Tips for a New Decade
Take a breath and remember this is an exciting journey, not a burden. Furthermore, you get to decide how your life looks and you have the means to do so!
Each deliberate step you take and thoughtful choice you make will guide you through your new decade. Above all, you can be confident in the meaningful goals you make as you pursue them in the years ahead. Happy decade-long planning!
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