Greetings from the future – Where are your goals and choices taking you? All illustrations by Kanupriya Singh. 9 min read.
Knowing what we want to achieve and how we envision our future selves is vital for setting effective goals and taking the right actions. Unfortunately, many of us lack clarity in these areas, which can make it challenging to move forward in a meaningful way. It’s essential to take the time to design a clear and precise vision of our future selves and what we are working towards.
By having a clear understanding of our aspirations and values, we can align our goals and actions with our vision for the future, increasing our chances of success. Having a precise vision of our future selves can help us stay focused and motivated, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. It can serve as a beacon that guides us towards our desired destination and reminds us of why we’re doing what we’re doing. This clarity can also help us make better decisions and prioritise our time and resources effectively.
Designing a clear and precise vision of our future selves is a critical first step towards achieving our goals and living a fulfilling life. It’s a process that requires reflection, introspection, and careful consideration, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
We often start a change process by thinking about :
What we don’t want
I don’t want to be carrying excess body fat.
I don’t want to feel out of shape.
I don’t want to take all these medications.
I don’t want to feel clumsy in the gym.
I don’t want all of these injuries.
I don’t want to feel unattractive and unsexy.
I don’t want to feel out of control with my eating.
But it’s not exactly a clear action plan, is it? You have to keep going from there to define what you want. How about this?
What you want is
I want to be healthy, with some solid dense bones and muscle.
I want to be in better shape — strong, fast, flexible, agile, and physically capable.
I want to take fewer medications or get off my medications entirely.
I want to feel comfortable and confident in the gym. I want to try some new activities.
I want to feel healthy, mobile, functional, and pain-free. I want to thrive.
I want to eat normally, intuitively, and sanely. I want to nourish my body with wise food choices.
I want to sleep better and feel in control of my stress levels.
Here’s an example of an activity you can do for yourself to build a destination postcard.
Imagine you could get a postcard from the future. The postcard shows you exactly what you want to happen in your life journey. It’s like “the future you” arrived at the destination and sent a postcard back in time to tell you what it’s like. The destination postcard tells you what you want, not what you don’t want.
In a year (or 2 or 5 or in your last decade of life) from today, in an ideal world…
Where do you want to be?
What do you want to be doing?
What do you want to feel?
What adventures do you want to be having?
How do these align with your identity, priorities, and values?
Fast-forward and imagine yourself in exactly the place that you want to be.
What’s happening in that ideal-world time and place?
Where are you?
What are you doing?
How do you feel?
What adventures are you having?
For example, are you:
playing on the floor with your grandkids?
getting out on a remote vacation, without needing to find a pharmacy for medications?
climbing a mountain, biking across the state, going sky diving, or running a marathon?
feeling like a rockstar?
fitting into your wedding clothes?
You can be anything and do anything. Dream Big! Capture the future you! Capture your vision!
Clip photos. Make a Pinterest board. Draw a picture. Surf the web to find inspiration.
Or, simply write it down in a postcard from your future self.
This resource will guide you through it.
Tap into your imagination. Zone into your superpowers. Think about situations where you feel “in the zone”.
Situations in which:
You lose your sense of time.
You’re totally immersed in the moment.
Performance and learning just seem effortless.
You feel energised, aware, and awake.
Your whole “self” is participating – body, mind, and spirit.
What are your superpowers?
Areas to explore when creating a Destination Postcard
What does healthy, thriving, and wellness mean to you?
Strengths, superpowers, what’s already working for you.
Why is it important for you (5 Whys)?
Are you more intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?
Past success and tools that you can leverage in a new situation.
How does this vision align with your broader identity, priorities, and values?
What do you want your life to look like in 3 months from now? What about 1 year, 3 years, 5 years… into your last decade of life whenever it happens?
Below are some prompts you can use to get your creative juices flowing.
Use these in the way that best helps you to gain clarity, explore, and get creative with what might be possible.
Definition of success
What is your life like after you’ve achieved your goals?
What’s the same?
Goals and wants
What do you want to do?
How do you want to live?
Character & Principles
Who are you?
Who have you become?
What do you stand for?
What’s truly important to you?
What personal traits are most valuable and meaningful to you?
What are the essentials for being the best you, today and in the future?
Rules and accountabilities
Which rules don’t belong to you, or no longer serve you?
What is unimportant?
What do you need to ditch, delegate, or defer?
What values guide your choices each day?
What are the top three values in your life?
Why is making healthy choices important to you?
How do your choices help you accomplish your purpose in life?
What behaviours will help you get to where you want to go?
What will help you grow as a person?
How will you feed yourself with creativity, joy, fun, humour, love, and purpose?
Fill in the blanks with a few different answers:
A healthy person chooses to_______, and therefore to live as a healthy person, I choose to___________ (for today/this week/this month/this year).
How will you know if you’re on track and making progress?
Now that you’ve brainstormed, gathered your pictures, and taken notes, try distilling down your vision into a short statement that would fit on a postcard. That postcard is a greeting from your future self, telling you all about the success coming up in your future.
Aim to write the card in the present tense.
Instead of “I will be…”, “In the future…”, or “I want to…”, write as if it has already happened. Write as if you’re living the life you’re creating for yourself.
For example, that would look more like, “I am…”, “I have…”, “I completed…”, “ I feel…”
For a moment, pretend you’re already there.
And, when you come back from your imagination and ground back in the present moment, use each moment to get you a small step closer to making your dream destination a reality.
“I am living my best life, which means I honour my body each day with movement and good nutrition.”
“I’m a diabetes patient who has reduced my medication in half by managing my A1C through supporting lifestyle and behavioural choices such as…”
“I am a happy and healthy woman. I love doing activities that challenge my strength and stamina, so I am both a gym and outdoor enthusiast. I eat foods that taste good and make me feel good. I live by no ‘right or wrong’ way of eating… I eat to fuel my body and what my body needs day to day can ebb and flow, and I understand and I am ok with that. I know that I’m eating well when I feel no guilt or heaviness. I feel confident, alive, and well.”
“I am dedicated to living my life creatively and joyfully, and to learning new things. I eat well, and mindfully because it feels good. I choose activities that are fun and teach me skills. I am trying at least one new sport or activity every six months to keep things fresh.”
You have to keep doing what you’re doing as long as you can do it: Julia Hawkins
For me, I have set up the following goals for my centenarian year, when I will be 100:
Get up off the floor without support. (So I have to work on core, arm, and shoulder strength)
Pick up my great-grandchild or maybe great-great-grandchild that’s running to me. (strength in quads, glutes, arms, and shoulders, stability)
Walk up and down two floors of stairs with 5 – 7 kgs of groceries in each hand (forearm and grip strength, hip and leg strength, stability)
Lift my 15 kg camera bag and put it in the overhead bin by myself (core, arm, shoulder, and back strength)
Run a half marathon (aerobic and anaerobic strength, leg and core)
So, all my training is centred around
I don’t do anything fancy that we keep seeing on Instagram. Anything that does not fall in my long-term goal. Also, I try to optimise six simple basic things that can save me from the most possible causes of death and they are:
Eat nutritious whole foods
Improve my immunity
Work on my emotional well being
Avoid adventures that can cause a severe accident
Once you understand how important this approach is, a great way to stick to it is to create milestones. For example, setting annual goals in each pillar can be great for developing a sense of accountability.
I keep saving similar news or something that I come across. I know the only way I can win any medal for my country is by winning some medal in the Centenarian Olympics. These destination postcards keep me motivated and working towards them.
Julia ‘Hurricane’ Hawkins is 106, holds world records for her age group in sprinting, and has been competing in ‘ The Olympics’ for over-50s since the ’80s
Training for our later years may help us face our fears of growing old head-on. The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing conducted a survey across 21 different countries and showed that peoples’s biggest fear about ageing was becoming totally dependent on others and not being able to get the help they need.
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Tools to change your outlook on life – Research says people with a positive outlook live longer. But what if you’re not inherently optimistic? Can you change your outlook on life?
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” :Benjamin Franklin
In other words, lack of preparation increases the likelihood of failure. Holds true for your health span. If you don’t work today towards your health, the last decade usually becomes painful.