Simplify your life - 7 Hard questions to answer to plan for your future [Habits of well-being]
Have you ever thought about the future? Not like next week, or even next year, but as in 10 years time, or 20, or 30? The distant future where you might have kids/grandkids/great-grandkids. Have you ever thought what you would have liked to accomplish by then, own, be doing, have done? And if that thought has come up, even vaguely, have you ever worked out a plan to get there?
Some might say this lack of farsightedness is a Millennial thing, but I assure you it is not another weakness of our generation. The Baby Boomers who came before us, and the generation before them, and before them, all had the same problem. In fact, this problem is so common that behavioural economists have coined a name for this tendency - present bias. What it basically means is that we allow the pressure of the now to crowd out any thoughts of tomorrow. If you want to test this, quickly glance at your to-do list. How many items listed actually have future value? Things that might help you achieve your dreams and goals as opposed to what you need for dinner, for your next job project, etc.
Today I want to challenge you a bit, I want to force you out of your comfort zone. So grab a pen and paper, and go sit somewhere where you won't be disturbed for at least half an hour. What follows are 7 of the "hardest" questions, and I want you to really answer all of them. Don't worry, we will tackle this one question at a time, you just stay focused, honest, and intuned. Once done, you will have specified your gameplan, and are you ready to go out there and change your life!
Without further ado, here are the questions:
1. What are my passions?
Think about the things that you love doing, that makes you feel fulfilled. What work do you do that doesn't feel like work? Just remember we all have things that we are great at, but it is not a given that we love doing them. Make this distinction for yourself! The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you love doing, and then do more of it.
2. What has been my greatest accomplishments?
What are you most proud of? What did you achieve that made you feel awesome? This will give you a list of things that you are good at, and that you feel pretty good doing. Again, living a fulfilled life means filling it up with things that we are proud to do, and love doing.
3. What would I do if my life had no limits?
If you had nothing holding you back, what would you do? Where would you go? With whom would you spend time with? These answers can guide you towards figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Don't get caught up staring at your bank account, being happy and free is not linked to money. First, break the bonds of your own mind, figure out what you want and then work hard to the point that the cash starts rolling in. This question will help you to identify certain goals you would like to reach, leading you to the next question...
4. What are my goals in life?
Having set goals are one of the crucial elements needed for a happy and fulfilled life. Think about the following specifics:
What are my health goals?
What are my career goals?
What are my family goals?
What are my spiritual goals?
What are my financial goals?
What are my time goals?
The answers to these questions will give you a much clearer idea of what you want out of life, and what you should do with your life.
5. Who is my role model/mentor?
Having someone to look up to, not emulate, can help guide you through life's toughest challenges. Think about whom you respect the most. What about them makes you admire them? Which qualities do you wish you possessed? Any life decisions you respect them for? What can you learn from them? And also, what can you do better than them?
Remember, we become like the people that we surround ourselves with. So make sure you surround yourself with quality, people who will help you up and not people who will hold you back or bring you down.
6. What do I dislike doing?
Be very honest, and write down what you definitely do not want to do. Part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is identifying the opposite - things that you want to steer clear of. Think about the things that you hate, the things that bother you about your current job. Also, consider how you can change a negative into a positive. E.g. you hate working in an open plan office because the people distract you. Positive: when you focus you are super productive and can out-work almost anyone.
And the final question
7. How badly do I want it?
Figuring out what you are prepared to do to reach your goals and achieve your dreams is a great indication of how badly you want it. If you know you are going to give up the first time it is a bit difficult, then whatever you have written down up to now is not your real calling. Go through the questions again. To have the perfect fulfilled life you must be prepared to do anything, to work as hard as it takes, to never give up. Remember, great things don't come easy! And usually, it is directly proportional to the effort you have put in.
That can mean working more hours, getting out of your comfort zone, to push yourself, to learn something new every chance you get. To never ever say no to an opportunity. And to enjoy the journey, because your story can be the inspiration needed to ignite someone else's passion.
Trust me, take the first step towards changing your life!
I hope that somewhere in this process you have had that "Ah-hah" moment that is needed to answer the question: What do I want to do with my life? Take all of your notes, everything that you have jotted down and all of your answers and dissect them. Find the golden thread that runs through your answers. Clearly write it down. That is what you want from life, and now you are in a unique position to clearly plan your future. This is your life plan. Now follow it!