As summer winds down and the weather turns cool, we start to sink back into a routine. Whether that involves getting a little one on the school bus or digging into third-quarter financial goals, fall is a time for gearing up to finish the year strong.
It’s also a good time to create or adjust your personal vision. If the idea of a personal vision is new to you, think of it as a statement that sums up what’s important to you and/or what you want to get out of life. When you have a clear idea of what’s important to you, you can build a routine and life that support your goals. A personal vision provides you with a sense of direction and can help you determine long- and short-term goals. It lets you design your own definition of success.
First things first—what if you don’t have a personal vision? The best thing is it’s yours. You can create or recreate it at any time, and these three steps will help. This might be easy for you, or it might feel uncomfortable, all of which is okay.
1. Start with identifying what you value.
Make a list of what’s most important to you in life. It could be things like relationships, kindness, personal growth, financial security, giving back, spirituality, etc. Try not to get too hung up on perfection—but don’t stop until you have a list of values you feel comfortable with and that speak to your authentic self. Prioritize them until you have a top three list. Even if you only did this part of the exercise, these three values also lay the groundwork for finding your purpose, or what gives your life meaning.
2. Next, imagine a life that follows your values.
This is the “vision” part of the process. Imagine what your life looks like when it aligns with those important values. Think about the details, the things you want to accomplish or experience. Journal about different aspects of your current life such as career, health, family life, hobbies, etc., and how those relate back to your envisioned life and values.
If one of your values is relationships, for example, you might reflect on how connected you feel to your family, friends, or co-workers. Do you make time for those who mean the most to you? In your vision, how much time a week do you set aside to nurture those connections?
3. Next, craft your personal vision statement.
Now that you’ve pictured a life that aligns with your values, craft a statement that sums up what you envision as your best life. It’s meant to be flexible and to help guide you. It can be long or short but should feel inspiring to you.
Some examples of personal vision statements are:
“I am happiest and most fulfilled when I make time weekly for those who are important to me. I’ll live each day to appreciate my friends and family so that they know how much I care about them and how much they mean to me.”
“I want to leave a positive mark on the world by giving back and being the best version of me. I will volunteer my time/money/resources once a month, keep pushing myself by learning how to do new things, and unlearn bad habits.”
“My family and financial security are most important to me. I can prioritize spending money on experiences for the whole family so we can make memories together and save money by cutting back in other areas like material goods.”
Once you have a vision statement, it’s time to think about what it will take to attain your vision. What long-term goals are necessary to fulfill your vision? What resources will you need to make it happen? What short-term actions can you take to start moving toward your goals? Once you’ve outlined the steps needed to make your vision a reality, you can start incorporating them into your daily routine.
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