photo credit: Calum MacAulay

Goal setting is spoken about in an almost cliche way, which is too bad, because spending time in reflection about what you want out of life and writing down your life goals truly is an important thing to do and to review often. In the example below, I share my personal life goals which I wrote as I was finishing college. The exercise is quite simple to do and consists of just two parts.

The first part is to identify the one overarching theme which you want your life to represent. What single thing do you most want to be able to say you did with your life (not just in your life). Perhaps it is easier to think about this point as what you most hope people will say about you in your memory.

The second part is to identify 10 – 15 concrete actions which you will do to contribute toward the overarching theme. This is the content of your life. The things which you want to accomplish along the way.

Do keep in mind that frequently reviewing and revising this list is very appropriate, even encouraged. We change as we grow older. We identify new ambitions and new passions, so it is natural that this list might change over time. Aas I like to say, even a bad plan is better than no plan, and the most important part of any plan is having the flexibility to change.

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Here Are My Life Goals

The Overall Experiential goal of My Life is to MAKE AN IMPACT.

Things in priority order that I’d like to do before I die that would contribute to my impact:

  1. Always be the one to “walk through the door.”
  2. Volunteer.
  3. Gain vast cultural knowledge and world understanding.
  4. Live for several years in another country.
  5. Share my knowledge and experience with others.
  6. Start (and end) a music revolution.
  7. Give generously.
  8. Be an active Rotarian.
  9. Love.
  10. Learn to collaborate better.
  11. Complete Peace Corps service.
  12. Reconnect with my worldly friends.
  13. Make my parents proud / be like dad.
  14. Have great expendable income.
  15. Be wealthy.

This post is is dated to the date which I originally wrote the paper form of this list (12/23/2007) but I actually did not post it to my blog until 6/8/2014 when I found the original document while “lightening the ship.” I am proud that in my short years I have already accomplished a number of these things and I will continue to do many of these things over and over throughout my life. I struggle with identifying how to approach #6 and I hope that #14 is coming in due time. Your feedback is welcome in the comments section below.