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How Will You Look Back on the Next Ten Years?

In Features, Magazine by RI Magazine

Time flies by with alarming speed. Ten years from now, will you look back at this time with regret at what you didn’t do? Or with amazement at all you accomplished?

BY HEATHER QUINLAN

Can you remember 2007 like it was yesterday? I can. And if you’re like most people over 30, it takes you a few minutes to realize… “Whoa. That was 10 years ago.” That’s a lot of time, and yet somehow you blink and you’re 10 years further into your career, your kids have gone from toddlers to teenagers, your new car isn’t so new anymore and, of course, you’re 10 years older. “Where does the time go?” you ask. A better question is: “Did you make your life happen in those 10 years? Or did life happen to you?”

If you fit more into the life happens to you category, resolve right now to make the next 10 years different. Creating a plan for the next 10 years of your life sounds like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Living your best life is completely within your control. Much in the same way you would plan before going grocery shopping—looking through the fridge and cabinets and taking note of what you need to get more of and what needs to be tossed—you’re going to take stock of your life.

Sit quietly and be honest with yourself. Make a list of things that didn’t work for you or kept you stagnant—these could be bad habits like procrastinating, spending too much time on social media, spending time around friends who drag you down, or failing to move yourself out of a dead-end job. These are the things you’ll toss from your cupboard. Next make a list of the things you did accomplish and be grateful for them. These are experiences you’ll want to “shop” for more of.

Finally, write down what you would do today if failure were not possible. Whatever it is you’re passionate about, write it down without any judgment, fear, or doubt. That’s what you’re chasing now.

Next, based on your list, decide what small task you can do daily to chip away at your goal. We are living in an incredible time in terms of technology. The amount of information and convenience available at your fingertips is truly amazing. Take advantage of that. Use it for something other than checking in on your friends. Enroll in a program online to learn a new skill for your profession or just to make your life richer. Look up people who have done what you want to do in life. Study their paths and figure out what you can emulate. Try to contact them! One of the marvels of modern technology is that no one on the planet is more than an e-mail away.

Consistent execution is the key. Identify action steps you can take immediately and start today. It took Michelangelo four years to complete the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Is there a better model for consistent action? Of not being overwhelmed by, literally, the big picture and instead focusing on each step of each day? Applying that kind of discipline, do you know what you could create in a year? In 10 years?

To be certain, 10 years from today you’re going to look back in astonishment at how fast the time went. It’s up to you if you’ll look back in regret at what might have been—or in amazement at how much you were able to accomplish.

Heather Quinlan is a certified Bikram Yoga instructor and a health and wellness coach. Contact her at: haquinlan@gmail.com