Stop and think for a moment, where is your life going? Are you satisfied with your life or do you want something more? Do you feel successful or should you be doing better? Succes is more than having wealth or titles after your name. A trully successful person will also have a sense of well being, of satisfaction with their life. They will be happy.
If you aren't entirely happy with your life, then you need a plan to reach that goal of happiness. Call it a "life map" if you will. A plan that sets you on the right path to the life you really want. Like any useful map, this plan will need to consider the following details, your point of origin, your destination, your vehicle for getting there, your luggage, any landmarks on the way, and what is the best route for you?
Origin: Where are you now?
Your plan must have a starting point. It doesn't really matter where you have been before. Sure, your history has led to you to your current position but now you are about to start a new journey. Don't dwell in the past, it's time to step forward
Your origin is where you are right now. Identify yourself. If you were to introduce yourself to somebody right now, what would you say, "Hi, my name is .............., I live in ................. I'm a .........." Something like that would be a start but there is much more to describe who you really are. Look beyond your economic status and where you live. Look at your beliefs, your values, and principles. What is important to you?
Don't just look at your strengths, look at your weaknesses too. What would you like to be different? What areas of your personality are lacking? Create a complete picture of who you are, positives and negatives.
Consider the example of my friend John. He might introduce himself in this fashion: "Hi, I'm John, I'm a 20 year old student and I live with my parents". That tells you a little about John and you may already have some pre-conceived notions about who he is. However there is much more to John. He is actually a highly motivated and generous person. He tends to be impatient. He is interested in helping other people and he detests violence. He has some first aid training and enjoys "patching up" injuries. He has a strong spiritual belief system and considers war to be degrading and destructive to humanity.
Destination: Where do you want to be?
Where do you want your life map to go? What are your goals? Now that you know who you are , who do you want to be? Identify the things in your life you would like to change and use them to set goals for your destination. If there are major changes needed, identify them, then break them down into smaller goals. These smaller goals can be considered as "landmarks" (more on those later) along the way. Consider all aspects of who you are, physical, spiritual, economical, intellectual and emotional.
In John's case, he realises a career serving others would meet many of personal goals.
Vehicle: How will you get there?
Your vehicle is your means of transport to reach your destination. It is the means to an end. It may be your vocation. It may involving education or improving other areas of your life. You may need a physical or mental development program. Knowing where you are now and where you want to go, you need to devise a plan that will carry you there. Think of your ultimate goal as your "Mission" and devise a "Mission Statement" clearly stating your intended destination.
After assessing where he is now, his current abilities, and his destination, John decided he should be a medical doctor, and importantly, he also wanted to be one. His Mission Statement that encompassed all of his goals was "To become a medical doctor and serve his fellow men living in conflict areas."
Luggage: What do you take with you?
What do you take with you on your journey? Any of your current skills, education, personality traits, etc, that will assist you to reach your goal. Anything that can be further developed to help you on your journey. You need to assess what you have now that will be useful to you along the way.
What do you leave behind? Anything that will be a negative influence. You don't want to be dragged down by excess baggage. For example, if your mission involves a change in career path, start taking the steps needed to leave that old job behind. If you need to develop a more positive outlook, start a an educational program to remove your negative tendencies.
John knew he would need further education to develop the knowledge he already has. He also recognized his impatience and knew that he would have to keep this in check. He knows it will take time for him to reach his ultimate goal and impatience has no part in that plan.
Landmarks: Plan for stops along the way
When planning any journey always set targets for landmarks along the way. Aim for these special points of interest not only for the satisfaction you get when you reach them, but because they keep you on the right path to your final destination. The same is true for your life map. You know what your final destination will be but also prepare to visit those important smaller goals along the way. Breaking down your journey into a series of smaller trips, from goal to goal, helps you to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
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