Start With The End, Then Build The Plan

When you think about your future, are you focused on the next week, year, or decade? Have you ever considered your 50-year plan?

One of the tactics that has helped me remain positive through a lengthy period of chronic illness was focusing on the long-term, the very long-term.

I imagined my ideal life at 80-years-old:

  • Healthy mind and body
  • Relaxing on a sunny porch
  • Smiling husband at my side
  • Children chatting with us
  • Grandchildren playing in yard
  • Friends walking over for dinner
  • Enjoying my favorite hobbies

That’s my definition of success. All I need is good health, to be surrounding be people I hold dear, and activities to keep my mind and body engaged.

Imagine your ideal life at 80-years-old.
What are you doing?
Who are you with?
Where are you?
How do you feel?
Then take actions today in order to build that future.

Whenever I’m stressing over the latest challenge, I return to my list:

  • Healthy mind and body
  • Relaxing on a porch in the sun
  • Smiling wife at my side
  • Children chatting with us
  • Grandchildren playing in the yard
  • Friends walking over for dinner
  • Enjoying my favorite hobbies

It centers me. Even if I have very little, I have enough. I am on the path to achieving my 50-year plan. I have time to achieve these goals.

Some are enabled by money (the porch and the yard), but most of them are enabled by consistent behaviors and actions.

Want a smiling partner at your side at 80? Be a loving spouse daily.

Want kids who want to be around you? Be a supportive and caring parent daily.

Want to keep your mind sharp as you age? Keep busy learning and trying new things.

Genuine success is about more than just career achievements or financial wealth. It’s about living a life filled with love, family, and friendship. And it benefits from some long-term thinking.

Draft out of dream life. Then plan your days, months, and years accordingly.

28 thoughts on “Start With The End, Then Build The Plan

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  1. What a lovely way to get back to center. I love that the activities you describe are relationships. I sometimes get reluctant to look too far into the future because I want to be open to how life unfolds. But looking forward to relationships – that makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When I fresh out of college and in my first job I had a boss who was crazy about Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. What you’ve done embodies one of his basic 7 habits. You are to “begin with the end in mind.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My daughter went to college with Covey’s grandson Britain Covey. He played football in college and now he’s with the Philadelphia Eagles. His attitude is amazing, surely learned from his grandfather. That’s probably how he is successful as football player at 5’8″.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh it makes sense how she knew about him. I don’t follow the NFL enough to know the name. Still I’m rather tickled to know this, it’s kind of six degrees of separation, blogging style!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I love that, Ally! I picked the book off my mom’s shelf when I was a young teen, so it must have made it’s mark on me. It’s so great that you were exposed to Covey so early in your career… so wisdom that applies so widely across life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I say it never hurts to have the end in sight. We all find different paths to reach that place, and often have to make adjustments along the way, but knowing where you want to end up keeps an important focus for day to day life! I hope your future self can look back and tick off everything on your list Erin πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Deb! I think looking at goals in *really* broad strokes for the long term helps. At the end of the day, I really just want to be surrounded by a bit of nature and people who love me. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great approach, Erin. You are actualizing your ideal life and taking it step by step to get there. Your 80s sounds glorious and wishing you the best in getting there. πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading the comments above from Ally and Elizabeth…I was thinking the same…the ‘begin with the end in mind’. Very Covey-like…even when the ‘end’ you’re thinking about is the END, END, END. πŸ˜‰ I think it’s important to look ahead and then be flexible when the curve balls come. Most of all, what a fun post to prompt forward leaning…and look what arrived…fun connections in the comments about Stephen Covey, his grandson and a connection to Elizabeth’s daughter. Fun stuff! I taught the “7 Habits” for years as a consultant and trainer…there’s a lot to like about the philosophy and the forward motion it conjures. xo, Erin! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I spent several years focused on the year ahead (evidence of failed goals are sprinkled throughout my blog’s archives πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚). I can look ahead 50 years with hope… I’m pretty sure, whether through my own stubborn persistence or medical advancement, those broad-stroke goals will be feasible. Yes, Covey is really great! I plucked his book off my mom’s shelf as a kid, and well many other personal development, financial, and business books, and I think they helped. xo Vicki! πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you…this is exactly the words my mind wanted to listen to be able to centered n achieve my plans…with so much work i get overwhelmed but these words are certainly a boost..”do it daily, everyday, no matter how small the effort is”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Visualization is powerful, helps us get a sense of purpose, and also gives us strength to weather through the difficult moments. This is a powerful tool for creating a life we love!

    Liked by 1 person

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