Another new year…another fresh start. As we make our New Years Resolutions each year, we usually make a list of things we are going to change. Most of us want a lot of the same things: health, financial freedom, happy relationships, and fulfillment in life. We all want a sense of purpose – a life purpose. Something that’s personal and empowering. So how do we go about finding our life’s purpose?
First, let’s gain some understanding about the origin of making New Years Resolutions, and how it can help us as we move into a new year. The tradition of New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies before the beginning of each year.
So our first step then is to look at the past year and learn all that we can from our experiences. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What didn’t work, and what did? Experience is a powerful teacher, so let’s use it for our highest good.
Next, we move forward by making a Personal Mission Statement. Successful businesses make a Mission Statement, and so should we. This personal motto will serve as a guide and provide clarity as we make worthwhile goals for ourselves. Stephen Covey, in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says: “Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behaviour with your beliefs ” A Personal Mission Statement might look something like this: I live to serve my talents as communicator, artist, and independent businesswoman. I create balance in work, play, and community. I inspire those I interact with. To create your own mission statement, list your answers to the following questions:
- What do I want to do?
- Who do I want to help?
- What will be the result – what value will I create?
To help answer some of these broader questions, make a list of specific qualities that are unique to you. This should include the following:
- What are your natural talents? What comes easy to you?
- What were some challenges, difficulties, and hardships you’ve overcome? How did you do it?
- What activities make you lose track of time?
- What do people typically seek your advice about? Need your help with?
- What are your deepest values?
- You are now 90 years old, looking back happily on your successful life – what mattered to you most?
This exercise should take some time, but will pay off abundantly as you align your goals accordingly.
Once our Personal Mission Statement is created, goal-setting becomes easy, as we now understand our unique focus. As D.M. Dellinger said, “You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own…. “ As this new year starts, let us first reflect on the experiences of the past; contemplate our interests, talents, and strengths - then move forward with the confidence of someone who knows their life purpose.
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