It’s that time of year when we resolve to make changes in personal behavior. Unfortunately for most people, resolutions to exercise, diet, or otherwise improve ourselves will quickly succumb to lifetime habits that are much more comfortable.
Goals are wonderful things. They can motivate individuals and groups to greater levels of focus and effort. So why do so many people so quickly abandon the goals they set each January?
The question to determine the power of a goal isn’t “what” the goal is but “why” the goal is important. Achieving a goal must help us satisfy a deeply important need or else it is meaningless. It is that need that drives us, not the slip of paper hanging on our mirror.
Rather than going through an exercise of setting goals, it is much more powerful to start by honestly asking ourselves what is so truly important to us as to drive our behavior.
Each of us is pursuing something different and for different reasons. The challenge is that for many, we don’t know what we are pursuing or why. Said differently, how will you know if you have achieved a life well-lived?
People use words such as purpose and meaning to help frame the answer to this question. Determining your purpose in life and looking for meaning in your existence are worthy of deep consideration.
But perhaps a slightly less daunting question to consider is, “what is success for my life?” What does it mean for you to win and how will you know if you are winning? Determining what it means to succeed in a way that is personal to you can be incredibly meaningful and motivating.
A person who is pursuing something that they care deeply about is often described as being “on a mission.” You will commit great amounts of time and energy to achieve a mission. And when you have clarity about your mission, the actions you need to take (or quit) become more readily apparent and the goals that will assist that journey become welcomed tools.
One of the most powerful moments of my life was several years ago when I created a personal mission statement for my life. The clarity it has brought to the decisions I face and the actions I do or do not take has been powerful. My mission statement is a framework through which I see every aspect of my life and has given focus to everything I do. It is very personal and important to me and while the way I apply it changes from time to time, the essence of my life mission has remained.
Instead of spending time over the holidays creating random goals about a diet and workout regimen, consider doing something much more powerful – figure out a mission worthy of your total devotion. It will change not only your year, but also bring purpose, meaning and success to your life.
3 Steps in Creating a Personal Mission Statement
- Determine what you are passionate about
What are parts of life that get you excited? What do you really value? What really upsets you? Figure out the things in life that you will pursue out of passion and require no external motivators.
- Determine what you are good at
What comes naturally to you? What are your areas of strength? You are more likely to stick with something that requires you to use your natural gifts.
- Determine what you want your legacy to be
What do you want people to think of you? How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to be described? Our life is finite and its impact is ultimately determined by how our actions impact others.
Take the key words and phrases from the answers to these questions and then craft a statement that is memorable and meaningful to you.
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