Before you can identify your life goals, you need to thoroughly and honestly explore your values and beliefs in order to determine what you really want in life.
For each of the various components of a healthy, happy life listed below, you will need to spend quality time articulating what you believe and what is important for you.
It’s worth writing down your thoughts about each area. As you grow and change throughout your life, your priorities and values will change, as well.
You can return to this exercise again and again, and having your thoughts recorded is an excellent way to evaluate if you still feel the same or have changed what you believe.
Regularly revisiting and updating your belief and value statements is an excellent personal development exercise. This will help ensure your goals are still on track and you are moving in the right direction.
Without this regular check-in, you could find yourself achieving dreams that don’t deliver the promise of happiness and contentment.
Your ongoing growth and development should be the cornerstone of everything else you work toward in your life.
Everything you do in life is a choice, and your personal development is the ultimate reflection of those choices. Personal development encompasses all the aspects of your inner self you think to be important, including the growth of habits and mindsets that will help you achieve your dreams.
- Do you have a fixed mindset, or will you embrace a growth mindset in life?
- Do you value co-operation or competition more, and when do you think each is appropriate in life?
- Is your outlook grounded more in the past, the present, or the future?
- Do you value positive or negative thoughts more?
- Are you more optimistic or pessimistic?
- Are you goal-oriented or process-oriented?
- Which is more important to you, the destination or the journey?
Personal development includes your thoughts regarding morality and ethics. This area describes your beliefs about right and wrong and how you choose to live your life as well as treat other people. In the absence of outside laws or rules, what do you ultimately believe about what’s good and bad in this world, and where does your moral compass lead you and your behaviour?
Personal development is ultimately about your commitment to learning, growth, and change over time. As you learn more in life, it should shape your vision, values, and mission. Spend the time needed now to get to know yourself, your personal characteristics, and your approach to the world, and it will inform the rest of your life strategy work.
In order to thrive and be happy in this world, we all need other people. Our relationships provide us with happiness and fulfilment, love and understanding, support and guidance.
This part of your life strategy should focus on the role other people will play in your life.
- What do relationships mean to you?
- Are negative connections impacting the life you want to live?
- What is your level of commitment to spending time with other people and investing in relationships?
- What do you want from these connections?
- How can your social circle support your life vision?
- If you know that you have weak social skills, and this is something you are committed to improving, what are your goals?
- If you already have strong skills in this area, how will you develop connections to others?
- If you are comfortable with having just a few relationships, what do you value in those you truly treasure?
Your socialisation strategy should encompass your personal as well as professional relationships, the types of activities you enjoy doing with friends, how many people you think are ideal for a strong social circle, and what you value most in your closest companions.
We each also have specific relationships with our families and loved ones, and it’s important that they are a part of your life strategy.
This may require assessing the quality and strength of your existing relationship with your family members, especially your siblings, parents, and other close relatives.
- Is it important that you remain close to them geographically, or are you comfortable moving away from them?
- If your family history and cultural backgrounds is important to you, how will this play a role in your life?
- Is your family history important to you, and if so, how will this influence how you lead your life?
- Are there aspects to your relationship you would like to improve, and do they feel the same way?
One of the most difficult decisions you may have to make is whether or not to break ties with values and beliefs held by your family that are not aligned with yours.
This can be hard, especially if your values are in direct contradiction to theirs. Only you can determine how important this is to you and to what extent you plan to share your different beliefs with your family.
Making decisions about whom you share your life with is an essential part of your life strategy.
Family and friends are a necessary and crucial component to overall happiness, so give yourself time to really consider what you value in others.
The role of money, including the acquisition and growth of wealth, is often a guiding force in life.
- But, the first question you must answer for yourself is what role does money play in your happiness?
- If you lived the rest of your life poor but have contentment, would you be satisfied?
- Is making money more important to you than achieving other goals in life?
- What are you willing to do for compensation, and how does this align with your values?
To make money, you must determine if you want to get a job working for someone else, work for yourself, own your own business, or use what money you have to invest and grow your fortune.
This part of your life strategy should include the value you place on saving for the future versus enjoying your wealth in the moment.
- How comfortable are you with debt, and what is your strategy for paying back any debts you currently owe?
- What is your savings plan for retirement?
While this is one of the more practical aspects of your life strategy, it is also the one that raises the most anxiety in many people. How you feel about money, how comfortable you are with talking about it to others, and the role it plays in guiding the rest of your goals is key to understanding.
Money is a necessary part of life, so developing a set of values and beliefs around it can only serve you well moving forward.
Just as friendships and family play a crucial role in your life, so do those with whom you have intimate, long-term relationships. Whether you choose to marry, whether you even want long-term commitment from someone else, and how important finding love is to your overall happiness are all included in this part of your life’s strategy.
It’s important to be clear with yourself about what you think of as the ideal partner. Knowing what you are looking for in a mate can help you make better decisions when you meet someone with potential as a partner.
Make a list of important qualities as well as your non-negotiable traits. This will give you a clear picture of what you want so that, when someone comes along, you can make a better choice.
Included in this category are things like how you feel about marriage, your take on traditional gender roles, how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice for someone else, and how you feel about dishonesty or betrayal from your partner.
Depending on your age and if you have had past successful or unsuccessful relationships, this part of your life plan can be hard to think clearly about.
You may find yourself having to think about past failures, times when you have been hurt, and even your own mistakes when it comes to love. Spend the time you need to gain clarity now, though, and you’ll avoid making future mistakes.
Wrapped up in romantic life are issues related to sexuality and, if you decide to have children, how you will raise them with your partner. Each of these brings its own set of considerations and
questions, as well. Knowing what you value in a sexual partner, how important a role sex will play in your life, and the relationship sex has with intimacy is important to understand about yourself.
Regarding children, it’s important early in your life to determine the reasons you may or may not want to have children, how important raising a family is compared to other aspects of your life, and your values when it comes to raising your children. These issues will need to be determined in conjunction with your partner, as well.
Health and Fitness
Taking care of your body should be a part of any life plan. If you want to live long enough to enjoy your dreams and see them come to fruition, you will need to invest in your health and well-being.
Only you can determine the importance of health in your own life’s vision and goals, but the sooner you get clear about this for yourself, the more likely you are to develop regular habits that support your goals and values.
- Chief among the considerations in this category are your relationship with food and with exercise.
- Does food play a role in how you deal with unhappiness or discomfort in your life?
- How do you feel about your body? How often do you workout, and does this meet your current health goals?
- If you have known family health problems, how important is it to you to monitor your health to prevent these problems for yourself?
- Is your physical appearance more important than your health? How do you feel about taking medications?
- Is your physical appearance more important than your health? How do you feel about taking medications?
Knowing the value you place on your body, its fitness and health, and your personal habits for maintaining these is of vital importance to your overall life plan.
Finding ways to relax and enjoy recreation are just as important as other aspects of your life plan. Finding ways to create, learn, and have fun in the world makes life interesting, unique, and enjoyable.
Spend some time investigating your values and beliefs about the role hobbies and recreation will play in your life.
- Do you work too much ignoring the importance of relaxation?
- How much time will you devote to recreation?
- What do you find relaxing, and how often do you engage in those types of activities?
- What role does travel play in your life?
- How do you like to unwind after a long day?
- How would you spend your ideal vacation?
- Do you enjoy doing things by yourself or with other people?
- How much free time do you devote to your hobbies or leisure activities?
Neglecting this important aspect of your life’s strategy can leave you feeling unfulfilled, may gravely impact your physical health and undermine a healthy ageing process, so don’t skip over this necessary component. Valuing down time is just as important as valuing career, family, and wealth, and the sooner you learn that, the happier you will be in life.
Deciding on a career strategy will depend a great deal on your ambitions in life. What you value in a career now may be very different than what you find important in even a few years, too.
While having the ability to earn money is important, it is equally important you find a career that brings you fulfilment and happiness versus one that just provides a pay check.
To develop a career and professional life strategy, start by considering how ambitious you are.
- Is it important to you that you achieve a high level of recognition and acclaim in your field?
- Do you see yourself as a leader, or are you comfortable following others?
- Is it important that you work for a company with specific values are a certain mission? Or do you want to work for yourself?
- Are you someone who enjoys the politics necessary to survive in a big corporation or for the government?
- Is advancement in your career important to you, and if so, do you have the right skills to rise up in your field? If not, are you committed to developing those skills?
In today’s world, most people will have multiple careers, not to mention individual jobs. This part of your life strategy may need to be revisited often.
The final aspect to consider in your life design strategy is your spiritual development. Not only does this encompass your religious beliefs and whether or not you adhere to any, but it’s also about how you view your own soul.
Your spiritual development is not just about religion but instead encompasses how you treat others, how you treat yourself, and how you treat the world.
Spiritual development means different things to different people, for some it is faith and religion, for others it is having a great sense of inner peace that may come from meditation, yoga or Tai Chi, others view it as simply having a healthy spirit that is gained from being in nature or at peace with their life’s purpose.
Being spiritual means you are connected to your beliefs, you ground your actions in a set of principles, and you act in accordance with your understanding of right and wrong, good and evil.