On a recent ESPN 30 for 30, I was captivated by the quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Without a vision for your future, you may find yourself stuck in a track toward middle-age with seemingly nowhere to go but old. As a surgeon, sports doctor, businesswoman, athlete, and mother I am here to tell you first hand that I have seen everyday people stuck in this very rut change their bodies, their brains, the way they feel about themselves, and their future starting with Step 1: Creating a Vision.

In my Guide to THRIVE, I divided the book into four practical sections to facilitate your transformation into your ideal self. In the midst of a full life you can THRIVE by first developing the substance behind your dreams. Creating your vision begins with asking yourself, “What do I really want, and where am I going?” You have the power to make your life healthy, vital, active, and joyful. The first step down this path is knowing where you are going.

No matter where you are in life’s journey, whether you are a recent graduate, raising children, getting the 20-year watch at work, or thinking about what to do as an empty-nester, creating a vision will motivate, inspire, and direct your path.

Are you ready to create your vision? Let the introspection begin by setting aside some time to learn a little bit about… yourself. Below are some questions to ponder:

  • What are your abilities? What are you naturally good at?
  • What is your personality? Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
  • What skills have you acquired over the years?
  • What types of things interest you? What are you passionate about?
  • What do you value? Reputation, hard work, family time, quiet time, a strong body, a strong mind?
  • What did your last success look like?
  • When was the last time you were fit?
  • Are you happy? When was the last time you were truly happy?

Your answers to the questions above will help you cast your vision. It is up to you to pull the most important elements you want to have going forward. These building blocks help to lay the foundation for your vision statement. Here is a template to assist you in this process:

My mission is to use my [passion/abilities/positive personality traits] to achieve [goals] based on my [principles/values].

What did I come up with? An example of one of several of my early stabs at Vision casting looked like this:

“I will maximize my good hands and talent for teaching and communicating to change the paradigm of aging in this country.”

Now… walk away from the writing. Sleep on the drafts you have created. Talk about your thought process with someone who knows you best. As with most decisions in life, everything will fall into place.

When you are ready, write down our vision. Your vision will be the substance behind your dreams and will give significance to the details.

These are the best years. This is the year you will thrive!

Have you set aside time to discover where it is that you want to go? What obstacles do you run into when creating your vision?