advice, goal setting, Happiness

Getting Clear on What We Want

Today, I want you to think about the life you want … take a minute to think about (and actually jot down) what you want for your life … beyond the “what,” aim to consider the “who” too … who do you want to be? Again, take a minute to jot some ideas down … 

Here are those questions again …

  1. What do I want for my life?
  2. Who do I want to be? 

It doesn’t matter your age or your stage or your season, these questions are important … they are important today, they are important for tomorrow (and all of your tomorrows after that) … they should be pondered again and again with steady re-assessment and lots of effort to create and be what and who you want to be.

Your “What Do I Want for My Life List” might begin with a few material possessions, what you do for work, your hobbies, where you’d like to live, the type of home you’d like to live in, and the like. Or perhaps this list includes some “ways of being” … routines maybe or traditions … travel and adventure … pastimes and activities … 

To illustrate …

I want a peaceful life … routines and traditions that make life predictable and “orderly” … a life where the most important things (like people) are put first. I want a joy-filled life … a life deeply entrenched in nature and its natural rhythms … a life where we notice and pay attention to what (and who) is around us … a life where snacks and meals are enjoyed together (again and again throughout the day) … an active life … 

As we consider WHAT we want for our lives, we must also consider WHO we want to be … we need to think about how we want to show up for the people in our lives … as a parent perhaps or as a spouse … as an employee or as a community member … 

A few weeks ago, while putting my makeup on one morning, I caught myself pondering this ever-present question: what do I want for my life? Before long I scrawled these words in black eyeliner on the bathroom mirror …

  • a good mom
  • a good wife
  • a good teacher
  • a good friend

In a lot of ways, these 12 little words pretty much sum up what I want for my life … granted, there’s countless “intricacies” within each of these categories and some clarity work “fleshing out” what each of these things means to ME is crucial, but I kind of think this is it for me … which is ACTUALLY kind of interesting … since a lot of my “spare” time is invested into serving others beyond this list (mostly through my writing or little initiatives I take on to get others to “get moving” or take action in their own lives). 

So perhaps my initial “What I Want for My Life” list DOES need an overarching statement or “theme” though … I’ve settled on this … 

“Do all the good that I can in all the ways that I can …” (source unknown).

I can’t help but help … I love to serve … this starts with my role as a mother and as a wife, extending to my role as a teacher and as a “friend” I suppose  … at home, I have countless opportunities to help and serve my family … in my work, I have the privilege of helping and serving my learn-from-home families (and my colleagues on occasion) … beyond that, I aim to help and serve my “friends” … the people “out there” in the world who read or listen to my work … the people “out there” who are influenced by the things I share or do for others … but perhaps, at times, I’ve become a little too focused on what’s “out there” instead of what’s “right here” in front of me … perhaps I’ve been focused a little too much on the bottom of the list, instead of the top of the list … 

Though I never thought about a hierarchy initially, I DID write down what was important to me as it came to me … and I do think it is in the order it should be (for the most part) … perhaps it should be ranked in number order rather than with bullets … with me first (you’ve heard me say this before … I can’t pour from an empty cup), my kids and my husband second, my work as a teacher next, then “everything else” after that …

Upon further reflection, it’s quite apparent that this ranking IS actually critical. It serves as a reminder of what’s REALLY important to us … what (and who) comes first … and some days and (in some seasons), I might not get past the first few bullets … 

And that’s okay … because sometimes, “the basics” are enough … and “extras” are just that … “extras” … and they may come, but they may not come right now … because there’s no time or energy or “resources” to make them happen … right now … 

Beyond helping us prioritize our time and energy, figuring out what we want for our lives (and who we want to be) helps us REFOCUS when comparison gets the best of us … when we see or hear about what others are doing (then wonder if we should be doing that too) …  for example, as others in my life are trying to build a business or have a farm full of animals, I catch myself wondering if these are things that I SHOULD be trying to do too … but these things aren’t for me and I KNOW that deep within, but my thoughts become consumed with what I SHOULD or COULD be doing … thus, I encourage you to consider what you DON’T want for your life (and why) too … these lists are JUST as important and can definitely help us clarify (again) our priorities …

Imagine creating a “vision board” of sorts outlining and illustrating all of the things that you want for your life then referring to it often to remind yourself what’s important (or not important) to you. Will it change? For sure! Will it need to be tweaked? Of course! We’re constantly evolving and changing … we’re continuous “works” in progress. Will we have everything we want all at once? Probably not, but such a “vision” helps us focus on what we want (or don’t want) and what we want to work towards … will we have the same “visions” as our children or our spouses? Probably not … we’re all different, of course, and we all have different dreams, goals, and ideas … but perhaps there are a few “overlapping” areas we could work towards together. What a gift it would be to know what’s important to those around us! And what a way to help and serve others as they work towards building the life THEY want too!

So, go on … get out a piece of paper and start writing down what you want (or don’t want) for your life … get clear on WHO you want to be … then get going on making all of those things happen one baby step at a time until you catch yourself one day living the exact life you dreamed of.

1 thought on “Getting Clear on What We Want”

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