Life Choices

Life Goals: Why Your Decisions for Tomorrow Really Matter

Darren Matthews
Last Updated:
A young woman sits poised considering her life goals.
Table of Contents

We take life for granted when we should be focused on achieving our life goals.

The passing of my stepdad brought that perspective to me. His passing hurt me in a way no other earlier losses have. Dear grandparents have gone, creating a void once filled with love. Yes, their passing was sad, but not like this.

I’m sad because my stepdad had life goals he can’t achieve now. He wanted to explore and make friends, having moved not long ago. This won’t be happening now. But I’m also sad for his passing as it exposes a truth; we don’t get to live forever.

I’m running out of days.

A few years from fifty, I know I’ve lived longer than I have left to live. It isn’t a happy thought. Of course, some of us, faced with the same situation might feel the need to wallow in self-pity. Frustrated with the time that’s already gone, it’s easy to look back at what might have been.

You can’t live like that.

Life goals for tomorrow

The good news is there is a fix to this self-pitying - look back in anger - we can drift into. It comes in the form of life goals. Yes, life goals. Those goals you thought you had in your life, but when you think about it, you don’t.

We all claim to live with purpose. Of course, in your younger years this materialises itself with friendship, love, kids, and a family home. Beyond this fluffy image of a comfortable life lies a life that feels like it has had its day.

Life goals are the solution.

Life goals offer us a platform; not just to set some ambitious goals of building wealth, but something more. Life goals can lead us to our ideal life. They can push us to achieve more than a life spent drifting towards death.

So, what is an ideal life?

How do you set life goals?

Your ideal life should define your life goals. Furthermore, your ideal life should be a description of your future self – ten years from now.

In ten years - to the exact day - what would you want your life to look like?

Debbie Millman sets the scene in her podcast interview with Tim Ferriss.

"So, let’s say it is winter, 2027… What does your life look like? What are you doing? Where are you living? Who are you living with? Do you have pets? What kind of house are you in? is it an apartment? Are you in the city? Are you in the country?"

What follows are twenty-five searching questions – all aimed at giving you a vision of your ideal life.

25 questions to help you design your ideal life – ten years from now.

  1. What does your life look like?
  2. What are you doing?
  3. Where are you living?
  4. Who are you living with?
  5. Do you have pets?
  6. What kind of house are you in? is it an apartment?
  7. Are you in the city?
  8. Are you in the country?
  9. What does your furniture look like?
  10. What is your bed like?
  11. What are your sheets like?
  12. What kind of clothes do you wear?
  13. What kind of hair do you have?
  14. Tell me about your pets.
  15. Tell me about your significant other.
  16. Do you have children?
  17. Do you have a car?
  18. Do you have a boat?
  19. Talk about your career. What do you want?
  20. What are you reading?
  21. What are you making?
  22. What excites you?
  23. What is your health like?
  24. what does your entire day look like?
  25. What is that day like for you?

Debbie continues, "And write this day, this one day ten years from now. Start from the minute you wake up, brush your teeth, have your coffee or tea, all the way through until when you tuck yourself in at night. What is that day like for you?"

"Dream big. Dream without any fear. Write it all down. You don’t have to share it with anyone other than yourself. Put your whole heart into it and write like there’s no tomorrow. Write as your life depends on it because it does."

How to achieve your life goals

You now have the answers to these twenty-five questions, and you can use these to form your life goals. Remember, this isn’t a dream. It’s a vision of the life you want in ten years. It’s the goal you now need to focus on.

But it's one thing having life goals, it’s another achieving it.

The answer, specifically is to reverse engineer your ideal life.

Reverse engineering is like inversion; A simple, but effective process of problem-solving by thinking backwards. You see, throughout life, we look forward, apart from when we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, then we look back.

The difference here though is where you’re looking back from. We look back at what has already happened. Now, we are looking back and working out what we need to happen.

It's like taking your brick-built house and removing each brick, one at a time. You understand that the roof tiles go on last as they need the rafters and joists to hold them up. Underneath them is the bricks of each wall, with the windows fitted in place under beams to stop them from breaking. As the bricks come down, so do the stairs inside, until your left with the concrete slab of the floor and the foundations.

Without seeing these steps in reverse, it’s hard to grasp the order required.

Reverse engineering your ideal life therefore follows the same logic.

Your decisions for tomorrow and why they matter with your life goals.

Its’s reality check time. You’ve created this magical pathway from your life goal to where you are now, but you might spot a problem.

The problem is what you’re doing right now. At the present time, you might be like me, overweight, and fighting the midlife tyre which won’t leave our waists. You might not be. The point is this, where you are, and where your plan needs you might be quite different.

Now your decisions for tomorrow matter.

Without your life goals, what you do tomorrow is irrelevant.  With your life goals, in effect, you hold a vision of your ideal life and you want it. Life goals become central to your focus, as you adjust your decisions to help you get on the right path.

Concluding thoughts

Life goals aren’t easy, especially when they envision your ideal life. Having taken the time to create this picture of what your world looks like ten years from now, you want it. Wanting it means chasing it – and then making it happen. Confronted with what you want, you are now thinking about how.

Life goals will make you feel uncomfortable – and that is good.  

Nothing focuses your mind like being uncomfortable. It's like the sticky texture on your tongue from eating a banana. It is extremely uncomfortable (for me anyway), but all that potassium and B6 is worth it.

The fun part is the journey, but there is also a lot of pleasure to come from imagining your life ten years from now. When I did it with my wife a few years ago we learnt so much about each other. Our dreams – our fears – they all came flooding out.

Set out your life goals by visualising your ideal life. It will make your decisions for tomorrow matter more.

What are some life goals? Life goals provide the platform for you to focus on some big achievements that contribute to your ideal life. For example, these could include:
• Marriage and children
• Financial stability
• Maintaining a high level of health and fitness
• Winning and helping others win
• Personal satisfaction  

Make Fast Decisions...Faster

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