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Discovering Your Life Goals

By: Ellen Berk, LCSW BCD

Jeff did not worry about how his life would unfold. He hoped for the best and only looked forward. He considered himself a typical male in that he did not reflect or analyze his life, his thoughts, or feelings. His circumstances forced him to look in the mirror. Jeff was getting bored with his work and life. He wanted to make some changes but did not quite know how to get there.

Uncovering Your Priorities In A Quiet Space

It starts with a slight sense that something is missing. You may not take yoga, attend self help seminars, or cry at movies, but you can still easily find a quiet space and think about whether or not you like how you have organized your life. Grab a pad of notepaper and give yourself one half a page for each of the following questions.

1. The single most important element of life is….

(If you say, "to pay the bills" "pay my taxes" or "buy more…." you need to dig a little deeper. Take a day off, go fishing, hiking, or horseback riding and think of nothing. Before you return to your daily routine, take another look at these questions.)

2. The purpose of my life is…

3. My greatest talent is…

4. The greatest contribution I could make is…

5. I strive very hard each day to…

6. The three things I would like to accomplish are…

7. The single greatest truth I have uncovered is…

8. My goal for the next year is to…

9. My greatest blessing is…

10. If I only had one year to live I would…

11. If I only had six months to live I would…

12. If I live a long life, I would like to look back on life and think that…

13. Life has meaning when….

14. If I put my mind to it I can…

Your purpose for living can change over time and so should how you spend your time. What gives life meaning may or may not change as you age. Everyone is talented at something, so answer question # 3 or you will have to work on improving your self-esteem. What would be the greatest contribution you could make? Any "truths" that you have concluded about life? ( ex. of a truth :"I have to accept my life as it is with all the unfairness.") Are your answers truths, judgements, disappointments or just examples of a negative attitude? Are your answers job related or about your family and relationships? Are your answers hopeful or bleak? What patterns do you notice in your answers? Is it easy or difficult to find genuine answers to these questions?

3 Steps Toward Changing Your Priorities.

1. Decide how you want your life to be.
2. List possible barriers.
3. List possible options for removal of barriers.

You may recognize that there is a gap between how your life is and how you would like your life to be. The "gap" showed up in Jeff's life as boredom. You may think that changing your life direction is impractical or not possible. Before you decide that, put down on paper how you would like your life to be. Now list the possible barriers and obstacles to attaining this. Are these barriers real or are they your imagined fears? List possible options for removal of these barriers.

Adjust Your Attitude and Focus To Help Change Come About.

You need to take a proactive stance to shift roles, alter responsibilities and do whatever else it will take to shift your priorities from work to a relationship focus.

You can change some aspects of your life when you make up your mind to do so. If you had only one year to live, how would your priorities change? Is crisis and tragedy the only impetus to change? You can change some aspects of your life and lifestyle without crisis. Decide that change is possible or necessary.

To find out more about your own communication style, Assess Your Communication Style.

Also check out the list of Recommended Reading.

Other Resources
About the Author
Contact Ellen

Discovering Your Life Goals
Changing How You Define Success Can Ensure Happiness
Coping With Depression/Losses
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