People tend to speak about goal-setting in cliches, which is too bad because spending time in reflection about what you want out of life and writing down your life goals 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 you want your life to represent. What one 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 in terms of what you hope people will say about you in your memory.
The second part is to identify 10 - 15 concrete actions that you will do to contribute toward your life’s overarching theme. These actions will lead to the content of your life—the things you want to accomplish along the way.
Remember that frequently reviewing and revising this list is very appropriate and even encouraged. We change as we grow older. We identify new ambitions and new passions, so, naturally, this list might change over time. As I like to say, even a bad plan is better than no plan, and the most important part of any plan is the flexibility to change.
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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 goal:
This post is dated to the date which I originally wrote the paper form of this list (12/23/2007), but I 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 accomplished a number of these things, and I will continue to do many of these things 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.
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