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Goal Setting 101

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Alice Particularly Goes Nowhere

The phrase “on a mission” describes the state of mind of someone who has defined their goal and is focused solely on achieving it. In the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice, the main character, is not at all focused.

Alice... went on. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don't much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn't matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added.

“Oh, you're sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Alice will arrive somewhere, sometime, but it is clear that she is not “on a mission.” If she is lucky or a little bit clever, she may end up in a good place. On the other hand, she may endure misfortune, or choose unwisely. In this case, she will probably end up somewhere quite horrible.

Similarly, the story of The Hare and The Tortoise describes a race between two animals: The slow but focused tortoise and the speedy but easily distracted hare. The tortoise wins the race due to its attitude of focus and determination.

Here are two questions for you:

  • By what method do you discover your life’s mission?
  • How do you develop a plan made up of the smaller steps that will help you succeed in your quest?


Introduction

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, loudly proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!" ~Hunter S. Thompson

Discovering our most important goals often involves a process of self-interrogation. For example, you may ask yourself if your goals are strictly materialistic. Do you believe that you should buy something new just for the sake of adhering to the philosophy that “Bigger is Better?” You may need to quiz yourself further about the end result of an affluent lifestyle before you choose it as your life’s direction. Writers on the topic of materialism and its consequences have criticized this way of life as something that causes depression and a decrease in positive feelings. In other words, the possessions that can be acquired by excessive spending do not produce happiness.

Researchers have raised another interesting question: “Why watch hours of TV if it is ruining your social and emotional life?” Evidence exists that many people have less access to emotional support than formerly. Many people have reported that they have fewer people in their social circle with whom they can discuss their personal issues. It may be deduced from these reports that watching TV, although it may be entertaining, causes loneliness.

Have you also succumbed to this trend? Do you spend more time watching TV than you do talking to others? Does this habit contribute to your mental health? Does it contribute to peace in the world? Does it help you to help others? Does it help you to achieve your goals?

I am asking these questions especially to those who live like Alice, passively letting their lives unfold, or even letting themselves be tossed around by events as if they are sailing on stormy seas. There are so many self-help gurus, so many online courses, that it is easy to go from fad to fad or from trend to trend, without making any real progress.

As you progress along from pages to pages, I want to ask you a favor: Have a commitment to live and create your own story. Organize and construct your life so you will be able to find the meaning of it and enjoy it to the fullest.

Life is always a journey, but it does not have to be totally random. You can make some plans and stick to them without losing all spontaneity. Don’t let yourself be blown around by every wind especially when it comes to teachings about life-improvements. Stick to your course.

Determine What You Want To Do

At some point in our lives, we all hit those crossroads. It's that exact moment when we realize that we have absolutely no clue what we want to do with our lives. We all face this decision, regardless of how old we are or where we are from. The reality of the situation is that this exact thought can arise more than once in our lifetime.

Why do we worry about this? It is the natural fear of the unknown, not having any clue what is actually going to happen or become of us, if we make a wrong decision. To make this process a bit easier for you, here are different ways on how you can determine what you want to do with your life.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

What are you good at? What are a few things that you can do better than anyone else? Vice versa, what is something you are horrible at? If you really dislike certain places or things, it is best not to make them part of your future. For example, you excel with numbers. Great! You can be a fine mathematician. Yet, you hated school. You earned your college degree online because you did not want to attend a classroom in college. Obviously, teaching mathematics is not an option being that you don't like to be in rooms full of people. On the other hand, finances may be something to take a good look at.

Volunteer For Work

Another way of how to determine what you want to do is to volunteer. If you think you may be interested in a specific thing see what opportunities are available for you to take part in. There are plenty of charity works available in different fields of expertise. Look into this. Getting first-hand experience is a way of how to determine if this could be the right path for you.

Discover and Follow Your Passion

This is a big deal. Many people earn a college degree and are in a particular field for decades, only to come home every night exhausted and angry because they hate their job. It happens all the time. This is a reason why people decide to pursue their passion after they retire or why they switch careers mid-life. Follow your dreams; if you don't, you will never be happy and live a life full of regret, left to wonder what could have been. Do something you love. It will be worth it in the end.

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Morals and Values

Never jeopardize your morals and beliefs for something you don't even want to do to begin with. It's a good way of how to determine what you want to do. If you know that a particular thing or activity is against your religious beliefs or morals, don't go that route. If you hold on to some Bible integrity verses and whatever activity goes against it, don't go that route.

Whether you are thinking about your future or unhappy in your current industry, never listen to others. Listen to your conscious and follow your heart. After all, you are the only one who ultimately knows what it is you want out of life. Always focus on achieving your dreams and you will discover the things you truly want to do.

Major Pressures Influences Life's Mission

I guess if you have an original take on life, or something about you is original, you don't have to study people who came before you. You don't have to mimic anybody. You just have a gut feeling inside, an instinct that tells you what's right for you, and you can't do it in any other way. ~Barbra Streisand

Every single day, people make choices based on certain factors. In many cases, you may not even fully realize that you are making choices based on one or more factors. People like to think that they are making decisions based solely on personal freedom but the truth of the matter is that more often than not, decisions are being made for a lot of underlying reasons. That is why it is so important to ask yourself why you are really making a certain decision before you actually do it.

Peer Pressure

It starts happening when you are still in grade school and it happens for the rest of your life. Peer pressure can be one of the most difficult things to set yourself apart from because the last thing you want to do is single yourself out. This is especially true when the people who are pressuring you to do something are individuals that you respect and want to please. It is equally difficult when you are afraid of being looked down upon or made fun of because you don't do what others want you to do.

Mass Media

If you think that your decisions are not influenced by media on television, in magazines, and online, think again. People are constantly told that they should have a lot of money, live in big houses and drive more than one automobile, and that they should be a certain size and body shape. All you have to do is look around to see that many people in society are practically killing themselves trying to do exactly those things. It really comes down to the fear of not being accepted if you don't have as much in the way of material possessions as the person next to you or if you don't look as good as they do. Things like this shouldn't come into play when making a decision for yourself, but it happens all the time.

Money

This is something that was already touched on a little bit in the point above, but it is worth having a section all its own. People should not really make decisions based on financial satisfaction alone, but it is an unfortunate truth that whether you like it or not, money makes the world go round and round. Hence there are a certain number of decisions that have to be made for financial reasons alone. The problems start when you start making decisions purely for the sake of getting more money and everything else is discarded. This can cause you to feel empty and alone very quickly.

The Need To Impress/Outperform Others

Even the most humble of individuals have some type of drive deep inside them that causes them to want to impress someone that is close to them. The more competitive you are, the more it is going to bother you if someone else gets that job that you really wanted or they find financial success more quickly than you. Sometimes, that need to impress others or to outperform someone else becomes all encompassing and when it does, it stops being a healthy drive and it starts to consume everything that is good in your life.

Expectations

There are few things worse than having your own freedom to make choices for yourself taken away because you are trying so hard to live up to the expectations of others, you never give yourself the chance to see what it is that you really want out of life. Most people do try to live up to expectations, but like anything else, it should only be done in moderation. If you start to let it eat away at you, you might find yourself making decisions that you don't even want for your own life because you are trying so hard to please someone else.

Being Well-Respected

Sometimes, a person has goals that are rather lofty and far-reaching, mainly because they want to succeed at whatever they have chosen to do in life and they want to be well-respected. There is certainly nothing wrong with this. The most important thing to remember is not to lose sight of why you initially chose to do something in the first place. Having an inner drive is a great thing, but it is important to keep yourself grounded as well.

Refusing To Rest On Your Laurels

Perhaps you are one of those individuals that is so driven you refuse to rest on your past successes. Again, this can be a very positive thing as long as you don't let yourself get carried away with it. It is always good to push and learn new things as opposed to choosing to stay where it is safe so you don't have to risk anything. However, there is also no reason to give up something that makes you perfectly happy just for the sake of pushing yourself. There has to be something more personal to the situation or it is virtually destined to lead to failure.


goal-setting-101-finding-your-personal-mission-statement

Now that you understand how different things influence you, you can start to ask yourself whether or not you are making a decision because that is what you really want to do, or you are allowing yourself to be influenced by some outside circumstance. As long as you choose to do something for the right reasons, you can have a reasonable expectation of succeeding and more importantly, being happy in the process.

What Is A Mission Statement

Now that you have figured out what you want to do or achieve with your life, it is time to create your Mission Statement.

A Mission Statement is a written down statement of purpose. It is a statement for your "Being" of your existence. It's what you have decided to do with your life that creates value and meaning for you. It will be something that guides your daily actions, your decisions and your direction in life. With your personal mission statement, you will cut through the irrelevant “fats” of life that are slowing you down and clogging your life “arteries”. It will also help you focus your energy like a laser beam and accelerate your progress in life.

Having a Mission Statement can be frightening, and yet extremely exciting. It's scary, yes, because with it, you are required to make decisions about what you're going to accept in your life.

However, it only means one thing: it’s moving you out of your comfort zone.

Benefits of having a Life Mission Statement

There are many benefits in having a Life Mission Statement:

1. It creates a focus for your Time, Energy and Money

We have only so much time, energy and money at one given moment. Without focus, these resources become diffused and ineffective. Without focus, you become ineffective, unable to build or create anything of appreciable value. Work gets done halfway when other tasks come along to distract you. Taking on multiple tasks and roles causes you to create low quality work because you're rushed for time. Your money is spent aimlessly, chasing one thing after another with no discernible focus or result. So with a personal mission statement, you have to focus and make better use of your time, energy and money.

2. It defines a direction for your life, moving you in a definite, consistent direction over a period of time.

We are moving all the time. It's just that the majority of people are moving aimlessly, or walking in circles and finding themselves right where they began. With a personal mission statement, you have a consistent direction in life. You'll start walking in a straight line, out of the circle that you might have been walking in your life so far. Without stating the obvious, moving in a straight line will eventually bring you to someplace new in your life.

3. Decision making is simplified

You and I are bombarded by situations that require us to make decisions. Everybody wants something from you – be it your time, your energy, talent or money. With a Life Mission Statement, you have a basis on which you can make your decision. Anything that fits with your life mission statement, you give your time and attention. Anything that takes you away from your life mission, you either drop it or file it away for future consideration. Decision making becomes simpler and easier for you when you have a life mission statement.

4. It creates Energy

When you have a mission statement that you resonate with, it gives you the energy and motivation to get out of bed every day. There is something to look forward to, and there is a reason for your existence. You are no longer an aimless blob of unfulfilled potential wandering the streets and byways of the world. You have somewhere to go, your life has meaning, and you are more valuable because only YOU can fulfill your life's mission.

5. It creates Authenticity, Originality, Identity

A life mission statement spells out who you are. It tells others who you have chosen to be in life. It makes you unique, and creates a personal identity for you. If you have noticed, all the successful, well known people in the world are unique. They are original. There is no one else like them, who thinks like them, who talks like them, who has personally done exactly the same things they have done. With a mission statement, you can stand out from the crowd and make a unique contribution.

Your Mission Statement can and is one of the most important positioning tools that a company or individual can have. If successful companies use it, so can you. A properly crafted Mission Statement positions you as a unique individual who has something valuable to contribute to the world. In the next chapter, we will talk about how to determine and create your Mission Statement that will change your habits, your perspectives, and ultimately, your life.

Creating Your Mission Statement

You have already clearly identified some life objectives and know that change, but without clearly stated intentions it’s impossible. It is time to vividly visualize your core life objectives that will direct your intentions.

Step 1: Identify the core vision of your life

This is your life time mission statement. You need to take it seriously, free yourself from any external influence that I have mentioned in Chapter 4. Don't meditate. Just think and write the statement that describes your life vision, your mission in this life. Imagine that you are standing in front of the mirror and here you are ready to judge yourself. So you gotta explain to yourself who you are, what are the values you hold so dear, that you would die for them? Ask yourself this: “Why do I exist?” Prove to yourself that you live for a reason. This is your innermost, central mission. It’s almost as similar as identifying what you want to do in your life (Chapter 3), but this time, you have to narrow it down to something that is realistic and very easy to remember which most of the time inspires you to action. For example, instead of saying “I want to be a businessman”, narrow it down by saying “I want to start a business and successfully manage it”.

Step 2: Writing down on the paper

Here, you will distill your core vision into a mission statement. Be realistic and as objective as possible. Write it down. This statement must direct you to a new and more positive path. No need to worry about getting it right first time. Nothing worth doing is easy. By writing things down, it will help you move into right direction. Write down all other thoughts, even examples from the past if they come to mind. Consider this as your first rough draft.

Step 3: Boiling down your Mission

Apply your creative energy to boil out dilution to the point where your vision and mission starting to crystallize. From what you have written so far, look for the obvious crystals. Find one sentence that says it all. Still does not fit? Write it in two sentences and from that conjugate and rewrite until it’s extremely easy for you to remember.

Step 4: Motivate yourself to act

The words in your mission statement must help you float. Don't put words that will sink you. Use actionable and positive verbs and adverbs. Decide to do, instead of “want to”, “would like to”. Now is time to act. Choose the words that will make you to rise over the circumstances. These words must get you up in the morning when all you want to do is roll over and stay in bed. These words should be on your mind when someone budges in line in front of you. These words should be on your mind when someone said they’re frustrated with you because you simply don't fit their definition.

Step 5: Get those who are close in your life involved

Be open to the people in your life your search for mission in your life. Start conversations with them about their roles in your life. True friends who truly love you will tell you if you place too much emphasis on yourself, or neglect yourself and your welfare. Ask your friends a question if you are trying hard to be someone else? Ask if what they observe about you is consistent with the ability to live your vision? Pay attention what your friends are saying, but make sure you don't lose the track of your own vision.

Step 6: Materialize your Mission Statement

Some people want to write it on a whiteboard or in their bulletin. Others put them in their bathroom mirror, while a few insert a card on their wallet with their mission statement. No matter if you want to post it all over your house or simply take 10 one-minute break to think and rethink their mission statement, what’s important is that you materialize it. Find a way that works for you and don’t be afraid to try another method, creative or not, to do this.

Step 7: Make your Mission Statement a Living Document

Your first Mission Statement is the seed that you plant. It must be planted into the ground. Once it is sprouts, it will be the same species as the seed, but it will be at different stage of life. Similarly, it is good to come back to your plan and see if it is fits. Assess and reassess it. Adjust your plan according to the realities of your current life. Reflect on the steps taken.

Remember…

Life examined – worth living.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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