This post was originally published in the USAA Member Community – How Having a Vision Board Can Help Your Military to Civilian Transition

By: Ron Fugle

One of the most common statements I get when I am interviewing guests on Fire and Adjust has to be, “I wish I had begun to prepare for my transition much sooner than I did.” I agree with this statement as I did not prepare properly when I transitioned out of the Army. If I could go back and change things now, I would have begun preparing from the very beginning. I have been setting long-term, ten-year-plus goals, for as long as I can remember, but I never set any goals for transitioning. If there is one thing I want you to take from this post, it is never too early to start planning for life after military service.

Your goals for a smoother transition do not need to be set in stone. The point is to get your goals on paper and start breaking them down from there. Some people like to use a Vision Board for this part of their goal-setting process. They will actually take pictures of the things they want to achieve over the next ten-plus years or even lifelong dreams and put them on this board. You can use an online program for this (try Pinterest), or good old fashion thumbtacks and a wall.

You may be thinking this sounds silly, but it has worked when setting my goals. I have talked to many people who will say things like, “You cannot believe when you look back at your vision boards of the past and see how many of your goals or dreams came true.” When things get really tough and the questions start creeping in like, why am I doing all of this and if it is it all worth it, this is when I take a few minutes to look at my vision board and the goals I have set. Instantly, everything is clearer and it helps give me a jump start.

My challenge to you is this: if you do not already have some long-term goals relating to where you want to be after serving, then start putting some together today. Here’s how:

Take 15 minutes and ask yourself these questions:

  • Where do you see yourself in 20+ years?
  • What does your life look like?
  • What does your dream home and car look like?
  • Do you have a big family or are you traveling the world?

The sky really is the limit here; do not limit yourself just because you don’t see how you’re going to get that dream house in the woods or that private jet just yet. You want this to be something you can look at to help guide you in the general direction later in your journey. Once you really figure out where it is you want to end up, then you can start to build and set goals that will get you headed in that direction.

This is how I set up my vision board and goals for myself.

It may sound crazy, but really most of the work is done at one time and then I just update the yearly goals as needed. You do not need to get this extreme, but for me, it works!

  • I have a Vision Board or Dream Board – Goals on this board are Huge
  • I have a set of more solid 10-year goals
  • 5-year goals – these are stepping stones to the 10-year and big-board goals
  • 3, 2, and 1-year goals – Trackable goals to keep you leaning in
  • Mini goals set at the beginning of every year – Where the rubber meets the road

Have you ever completed a vision board? How has it helped you reach your goals? Share your insights in the comments.

This post was originally published in the USAA Member Community – How Having a Vision Board Can Help Your Military to Civilian Transition