I've always had a hard time coming up with a specific vision for the future. Then I would fret that I would not get to have a great future because every self-help book I ever read says you need to visualize the details.
I think part of the problem was a lack of imagination. The other half was a lack of appreciation.
If you're going to come up with a future for yourself, you need imagination. The more your potential future is supposed to differ from your current reality, the more imagination you need. Finding ways to imagine a better future is especially tricky when you're in a messed up situation with no obvious path out.
I started with super small things that I could just about imagine. "I want to live by the sea" is a lot easier to imagine than "I want to live in a peculiar Victorian house on the beach somewhere where it is not too warm. I love a temperate climate, and I enjoy storms. We don't need too much frost, though. The house has a little tower and more staircases than seems sensible. It also has a sunroom with stunning windows and the kitchen is the most beautiful thing. There is a studio with sun windows in the attic where I write. I also have a fainting couch there to throw myself into dramatically. Through the back of the house, you get to some sort of workshop. It has a library. And in the bathroom, there is a bathtub with clawed feet. The bathtub has an ocean view. There isn't a single ugly shower curtain in the whole house. All the bedrooms (at least 6 of them) are different in a quirky way. There are nooks and corners. We do not do this whole open floor plan thing. The house isn't just close to the beach in a village somewhere. It is right by the sea."
The first one I always knew I wanted. The second one took much more time to come up with. It only settled recently.
A similar thing is happening regarding "what I want to do with my life" right now. The other day, I decided on a pretty exact amount of money I want to make when I am forty. It just appeared.
The good thing about having specific visions like that is that somehow, I can now connect the dots from here to there. I don't know all of them yet, but I can at least always ask "is this getting me closer?" whenever faced with an opportunity or decision.
I guess the real power from these visions comes from what they do for you in terms of prioritization. It is easier to ditch things when you can test them against a concrete vision.
I try not to be too specific with my visions, though. I want them to be precise, but there also needs to be room for things to work out. For example, I have no idea where the house will be. I also don't know how the money is going to come to me. I am open to possibilities there.
I have learned that I need to imagine what I want only just enough to recognize it when I see it but not so much that I will pass it up because one detail doesn't fit.