It’s incredibly important to take a little time and reflect on what you truly want to accomplish in life. We all have busy lives, and much of our free time is spent in front of the TV or on the internet if we are not careful. If you have not done so recently, I highly recommend you start with this crucial question:
Thirty years from now, what do you want to have accomplished in your life?
Sit down and ask this question to yourself now. This reflection does not need to take long, and it could be a huge game changer for you.
You probably already have a good idea of what your goals are, but you may not have them written down. Before I started walking around everywhere with a notebook, my goals would flash through my mind all day long, then disappear. Life would simply get in the way; our “busy work” chips away at the bigger things we want to accomplish. So sit down and reflect. Maybe you just need to update your goals, or maybe you need to honestly revisit your life plan. You absolutely do not want to find yourself at the end of your life having done nothing but busy work in your day job. Now is the time!
Once you are sitting down, here are your next steps:
1. Think about what you’d like people to say about you at your funeral. Steven Covey wrote about this in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” — the habit called “Begin with the end in mind.” Educational leaders call this “Understanding By Design”. Imagine you are at the end of your life, looking back. What would you like to have accomplished? What kind of person would you like to have been? What are the tangible and intangible legacies you want to leave on this Earth?
Ask yourself: Are you doing this with your life right now?
2. Now jot down some ideas for life goals you’d like to achieve before you die. What do you want to accomplish professionally? Do you want to start a non-profit? How about your own business? Do you want to build your own home? Where in the world do you want to travel? What is your “bucket list”? There is more to think about than this, and of course you don’t need to have goals in all of these areas. This type of ‘mind mapping’ will definitely get you started, though. Don’t write with any rules or formatting; just empty your brain onto paper. One subject will lead to two others, and on and on. Trust me, once you start writing it will all flow out. You may be surprised (and even excited) about what you see in front of you. Seeing it on paper is very different than daydreaming in the car once in awhile.
3. Expand or Refine your list. After your initial mind map, you may want to trim it down or even expand it. Remember, this is a time to “get it all out”. Perhaps you want to start a business, but in order to do that you must create professional connections with people that have always been on your “to call” list. You also may want to divide the goals up at this point. If you have 3-4 of them, I recommend you expand them into detail to the best of your ability. If you have a ton of goals, make sure you create separate columns for each one and begin to flesh them out. Keep writing your ideas down!
4. Break it down. Now take each one of your goals and, one at a time, begin to break them down in chunks. What should you accomplish in the next 10 years for each of these goals? How about 5 years? How about two years? One year? This month? Once you’ve planned out each goal for 10-year, 5-year, 2-year, 1-year and 1-month periods, you’ve probably written a bunch. What you have in front of you now will look like a pretty do-able plan. I remember a few years ago I decided in 10 years I wanted to start my own school. At the time I was a teacher. After going through these steps, it became very clear to me that I needed to immediately sign up to take college credits in administration. It was a small step, but one year later I had the degree, and four years later I was a school district leader; well on my way to learning how to open my own school! The small steps add up very quickly.
5. Just do it. Take your monthly goals and make a to-do list for the coming week. What is one actionable step you can take today to further your goals? Make sure you make time for that step. Imagine taking 365 of these small steps over the course of the next year? Your life could be forever changed, and it won’t have been an overwhelming life overhaul.
Take a step towards your dreams today by writing them down and making a plan. It’s never too late!
Here are some other great posts from around the “sphere” this week:
The Truth About Simplicity on Be More With Less
So the World Didn’t End. Now What? on Reach Financial Independence
Pension, Schmension! Retire on Your Own Terms on Mr. Money Mustache
7 perks of being a full time employee with benefits on Young Adult Money
Why I chose the debt avalanche method to pay my debt on Work Save Live, guest post from Grayson at Debt Roundup
Reformed spenders adjust to life on a budget on Eyes on the Dollar
The Ultimate Secret to Discovering Your Passion on Brazen Careerist
Time to Establish Financial and Savings Goals on Broke-Ass Mommy
Ahh..First Paycheck Memories on Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
How to Pay Little or No Taxes for the Rest of Your Life on Financial Samurai
Blogging and Writing Full Time on Frugal Confessions
The side effects of staying in budget On Budget and the Beach
Is a penny saved a penny earned? On Edward Antrobus
Try adding a survey to your blog or website On Digital Personal Finance
Grocery Game challenge, will you target your budget On Canadian Budget Binder
Why I’m not killing our mortgage On Master the art of saving
Saving to rebuild out emergency fund on Plunged in Debt
Your savings plan for 2013 On Modest Money
Will you be my frugal Valentine? On One Smart Dollar
How much does it cost to have a baby? On Monster Piggy Bank
7 steps to debt busting on Money Principle
Being an effective public speaker on Outlier Model
A man’s credit: taking responsibility for your financial life On Frugal Rules guest post from John at Fearless Men.
Have a great weekend!