Our world offers us a multitude of possibilities in the choice of our professional activity, our hobbies, our partner, what we eat or where we live, etc. Sometimes too much maybe. Because by dint of contemplating all of our options, we finally choose none or on the contrary, we chose a lot of them and really engage in nothing. We change our job every 2 years, we date 5 persons simultaneously on Tinder… But how can we reverse the trend and start to go « deeper » into the important domains of our life ? Here are a few suggestions (inspired by the very interesting book of Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” that I highly recommend you to read).
Define your values
Travelling without a specific goal can lead to wonderful discoveries, but it can also be quite precarious. This is why it’s safer to keep a compass with you in order to find your way back when you get lost.
If we continue this metaphor, your personal fulfillment and happiness would represent the North, the reference direction. Your values would then be the compass. Define the core values that lead your life (respect, fulfillment and honesty for example) and that you cherish the most and write them on a paper. By making them explicit, you’ll be able to remember them when you’ll feel lost or when you’ll have doubts on what you want to engage yourself in. (For other articles on the definition of your values, please read this, this or that).
Define your mission
Once you’ve defined your values, in order to decide more precisely in what you’d like to engage, it will be necessary to define your mission. Keep your paper on which you wrote your values and add a description of your « life mission ». Ask yourself : why do I get up for every morning ? What would I want people to say about me at my funeral ? What brings me happiness, satisfaction and pride ? Describe your mission in details in order to define the target at which you’ll have to aim.
Define your goals
Now that you have your compass and that you know in which target you’d like to shoot, you’ll have to define how you’ll reach it. Take your piece of paper and write 3 goals concerning any domain of your life. It can be for example a travel destination, a specific skill you’d like to master, a person you’d like to reconnect with. Once you set those 3 goals, write for every one of them an action, a first step, that you can start in order to get closer to your goal. Set the first one for today, the second for tomorrow and the third one for the day after tomorrow (this technique is largely inspired by the wonderful book The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich).
If, for example, your goal is to learn Spanish, during the 3 next days you could 1) contact a language school to know what courses they offer 2) buy a vocabulary book the next day 3) and book a 2-weeks trip to Madrid the third day.
It’s very important to put yourself into action directly after having set your goals and keep on executing the other tasks the following days. This way, by shifting from reflexion to action, you’ll engage immediately in the process of reaching your goal. The more you’ll wait before doing concrete actions, the less chances you’ll have to get to the point you want.
In summary, it’s crucial to define your values, your mission, set goals and put yourself immediately into action in order to engage into a changing process. Engagement in a non-defined project has all the chances to fail. That doesn’t mean that you have to precisely define all the domains of your life, which is totally unrealistic and would make you lose the flexibility required to adapt to every life event that could occur. It’s more about defining large guidelines in order to maximize the chances to reach your goals while staying flexible to adapt and modify your target during your journey.