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The #1 New Year’s Tool for Getting the Life You Really Want

Written by Gary North on December 29, 2011

You don’t need New Year’s resolutions. You need a lifetime plan. This is simple to say but difficult to do.

I came across a very good article on this.

Being a mature man means knowing what you stand for and where you’re going in life. A man always has a plan, especially for something as important as his life.

I decided 51 years ago what I wanted to do with my life: discover a system of Christian economics. I work on this at least 10 hours a week. My 39-year deadline to start writing my book on this: February, 2012. I have written 37 volumes of preliminary material.

Like any good craftsman, we need a solid blueprint to guide us. But instead of creating a blueprint for a cedar chest, we’ll be drafting a blueprint for our life. Below I’ve laid out the steps that I’ve personally used to hash out a life plan. It’s a mash-up of ideas from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Brian Tracy’s book Goals!. This is what has worked for me, and it’s helped other people I’ve shared it with. I’d encourage you to read other materials on goal setting and experiment with different formats to find something that’s comfortable for you.

This is no small issue.

Drafting a blueprint for your life is a huge endeavor. It’s not something you should expect to complete in just an hour. We’ll be doing a lot of meditating, writing, and soul searching, which is surprisingly difficult and draining work. Ideally, you should dedicate a weekend to drafting your life’s blueprint.

You don’t need special tools. A spiral notebook and a cheap Bic pen will do the job.

Here’s a list to help get you started:

  • Husband/Boyfriend
  • Father
  • Son
  • Brother
  • Friend
  • Grandson
  • Manager
  • Employee
  • Leader
  • Disciple
  • Artist
  • Student
  • Photographer
  • Writer
  • Soldier
  • Landlord
  • Coach
  • Teacher
  • Citizen
  • Mentor
  • Mentee

The author makes a good point.

A great deal of stress and angst in a man’s life occurs because he doesn’t spend enough time nurturing and growing in the roles that are most important to him. A man might consider himself an entrepreneur even though he works a day job at a corporation. Working on projects that he’s passionate about fills him with a level of manly vitality he doesn’t feel doing anything else. He might even have hopes of one day hustling his side job into a full-time gig. But whenever there’s a choice between working on his business and going out with his friends, this man consistently chooses his friends. Consequently, his small biz never goes anywhere and he ends up bitter, resentful, and depressed.

To help guide our long term goals and even our daily choices as men, we need to put down in ink what roles are most important to us. Look at your list and start prioritizing your roles in order of most important to least important.

With an ordered list, you can make better choices. You can allocate your time and money more effectively.

Here is a rule: a bad list is better than no plan. You can revise a bad list.

Now a few caveats with your prioritized list of roles. First, this isn’t a static list. The order of your roles will change during the different seasons of your life. So take a regular personal inventory and make adjustments when needed.

Now comes the really crucial part: Define Your Purpose for Each Role

Begin with Scrooge’s third ghost.

How will we establish our different purposes? Stephen Covey suggests imagining your own funeral. A bit macabre, yes, but it’s a very effective exercise. Imagine the people in attendance. Who will be there? Many in attendance will probably be the people you interact with in your various roles as a man: your wife, your children, your friends, your boss, your co-workers, your clients, and maybe even your dog.

What would each of them say about you? Which of your contributions will they mention in their eulogy to you? What memories of you will they share? How do you want them to remember you?

Now take a piece of paper and write out each one of your roles in a nice column. Leave some space in-between so you can write a paragraph or two underneath each role.  Underneath each role, write out what you want the people you affect in that role to say about you when you’re dead. Be as idealistic as you want.

Only when this is done should you do this: Define Goals For Yourself

Make these BIG long term goals; goals that really stretch you. And make sure they’re YOUR goals, not the goals that you think you should have. (Remember, don’t should on yourself!) If you want to travel the world  with nothing but a backpack, that’s great. But if you’re more of a homebody and would be happier advancing in your current career without having to re-locate, that’s fine, too.

This is kind of a bucket list.

  • Health
  • Career/Vocation
  • Financial
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Travel
  • Social
  • Lifestyle/Where You Live

But you must be specific.

Take any vague goals you might have and re-write them so that they’re laser specific. Our goals need to be measurable and have a deadline for completion. If you want to lose weight, state how much you want to lose and the date you want to lose it by. If you want to pay off your debt, state the exact amount you have to pay off and the date you’ll pay it by.

This is the beginning. To complete the process, read the entire article. But share the results with your spouse. This is a joint venture, as is marriage.

Continue Reading on artofmanliness.com

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2 thoughts on “The #1 New Year’s Tool for Getting the Life You Really Want

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