By Mark Lynch, Founder of The Excellence Addiction: Life Balance Community
Since 2016, Mark Lynch has been conducting interviews and developing his own strategies to living life with purpose. His own journey started when he asked himself “Why am I not as happy as I could be?” and from there, founded The Excellence Addiction. Mr. Lynch specializes in helping people find their best balance in life and how to use that to achieve their goals. In the HERdacity guest blog below, Mr. Lynch shares his five steps to identifying your core values and using those to design your life to its happiest potential.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you design your life in a way that your values, goals, and actions fall out of alignment you feel like you’re spinning your wheels in circles. You’re continually working but not really getting any closer to your best life.
When I first noticed this issue, I began evaluating the life balance and alignment of our world’s most successful individuals. I wanted to learn how they used these to facilitate their personal and professional happiness and success!
That’s why today I’m going to walk you through creating this alignment based on what I learned from these people. Once you’re done with this article you will have a strong sense of what actions you need to take to design your life in the best way possible.
The Best Way to Design Your Life: Reconstruct Your Values
The best way to begin designing your life is to reflect and reconstruct your values.
There are several questions you can ask yourself to help you figure out what values will make you happy:
What things do you choose to do freely in your life?
Which activities do you have a great passion for?
And, what activities, experiences, and people cause you to feel deeply engaged and connected?
Your answers to these questions will help guide you to your core values.
Next, an important part of this reconstruction process is reframing success in a way that is consistent with your true values. Don’t just buy into the definitions of success imposed by popular culture (wealth, status, popularity, and physical appearance). Create your own definitions of success, live true to your values, and set and achieve meaningful goals.
Design Your Life Alignment
Now that you have identified your values, it’s time to use them to guide you towards the activities, experiences, and people that are most valuable to you. To achieve this, we need to create a plan that allows you to move towards the life you’ve designed in a meaningful way each day.
How you can do this is through a simple 5-step process. It starts with your values, mission statement, and goals. Then you work on developing a plan and designing a lifestyle which aligns with them.
The smaller and more detailed these steps are the more direction they will provide you with. So, down your big goals into small, detailed, and organized steps to make them more manageable.
Here is the 5-step process we are going to work through today:
- Establish core values
- Determine your unique mission statement
- Write out goals which align with your values and mission statement
- Develop your action plan step-by-step
- Follow through
5-Steps to Design Your Life
Establish Your Core Values
The first step of the process is to establish your core values. These core values outline who you are and what is most important to you. They’ll guide you through tough times and decisions as you design your life.
You start by brainstorming a ton of different values you that resonate with you personally. For example, intelligence, continual learning, and life balance would be just some values which resonate with me.
Then you trim that list of life values down to form your “core life values”. Your core values are a group of 4-6 values which truly define who you are and what is most important to you.
The final step is to then take time to reflect on your core values and decide whether you need to make any changes moving forward.
This isn’t a one-off process. You’ll constantly be evaluating and tweaking this list as you grow and as your life and goals change over time.
These core values will guide you as you design your life!
Determine Your Life Mission Statement
Without a clear vision, it’s tough to know where you’re heading. If you don’t know where you’re heading, your next steps could cause you to stray from your path.
This is why the next step to design your life is to use your core values to establish your personal and unique mission statement. This statement will help keep your core values in front of you and remind you what is most important.
For example, using the three core values I outlined in the last step, intelligence, continual learning, and life balance you might come up with a mission statement like:
“I will always seek out new opportunities to learn and expand my horizons as well as invest in a deeper understanding of the topics which are most important to me. However, I will not do these at the expense of my self-care or life balance.”
This statement incorporates my different core values and reminds me of what’s important. Here my value for life balance trumps the other two. You may rank your core values like I did in this example or you may have them all equal.
Once you’re done, your mission statement will help you to design your life and stay focused on what’s truly important to you personally.
Determine Your Life Goals
Now that you have your core life values and mission statement it’s time to think about your life goals. Establishing life goals which align with your core values and mission statement is where many people get stuck.
However, taking the time to complete this step right will result in goals which are more meaningful to you personally and will provide you with a greater overall sense of life satisfaction and fulfillment.
Basically, you want to try and set life goals that involve activities, people, and experiences you enjoy. Setting goals that you enjoy and value will make the struggles and obstacles worth it. You’ll be more motivated to push through those hardships and setbacks.
What activities do you most enjoy?
Who do you enjoy being around?
What would make you feel accomplished, successful, meaningful and fulfilled?
Your answers should help you set life goals. Just remember to keep these goals “SMART goals” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Don’t just set your goals randomly, use them to help you design your life with a purpose.
When you have these goals, write them down. 100% WRITE THEM DOWN! Stick it somewhere that you will see them regularly. These little reminders help a lot. Trust me.
Develop Plans to Achieve Your Goals
Now, this step is the beast. This is where people often quit because it takes a little more effort than the prior steps. So do yourself a favor if you’ve made it this far and see this through to the end! This step will be by far the most useful to you as you design your life.
You’ll have a detailed step-by-step plan of what you need to do to achieve your goals and attain that valuable, meaningful and fulfilling life. You’re essentially creating your life design blueprint.
The best way to do this is by starting from the end result and working backward to where you are currently. For example, if you had a goal to run a marathon this might be the process you would go through:
End goal: Run a marathon
Step: Run your own marathon at a high pace
Step: Run 42 km at an easy pace
Step: Run 30 km
Step: Run 20 km
Step: Run 10 km
Step: Run 5 km
Step: Run 1km
Step: Get running shoes
These steps take you from where you are now to where you want to be. It’s an incredibly useful trick as you design your life.
Remember, the more detailed your plan the better! The clearer the steps are, and what you have to do to achieve them, the easier it will be for you to take action.
Now that we’ve outlined our core values, mission statements, and made plans to reach our goals we need to begin taking action. What good is all this invested effort if you don’t ever take action!
This is a tough step for a lot of people because bringing about change in our lives isn’t easy. We’ve grown comfortable with how things are and these changes may make us uncomfortable at first. We’ll likely be tempted to revert back to our old lifestyle. So try to keep your momentum and progress moving forward.
We both know that sometimes it’s going to be tough. But the rewards will be worth it. Don’t let your efforts and potential go to waste by failing to take action.
Schedule a target deadline for each small step you plan on taking towards your goals. Physically write it out on your calendar. The stick to it!
Remember, knowledge is great. But, if you want to truly impact your life you need to take action!
Well, that’s it for today’s post on designing your life. We talked about the problem with following the script society has set out for you. We’ve talked about the importance of designing your life in a way that makes sense for you. And we also discussed the 5-step process you can use to design your life in accordance with your core life values and goals.
I hope you found this article valuable. Remember, knowledge is great. But taking action on that knowledge is what will help you become extraordinary!
Stay excellent everyone!
Founder of The Excellence Addiction
Mr. Lynch is the founder of “The Excellence Addiction: Life Balance Community”. If you’re interested in aligning your life to facilitate your personal happiness and success check out Mark’s FREE “Balanced Living Workbook!”. Currently, over 10,000+ members have joined Mark’s community in order to begin aligning their lifestyles with their unique life values and life goals. If you would be interested in learning more about what Mark does and how to begin living your ideal life take a look at the Excellence Addiction Website!