Below is an exercise that can help guide decisions as to which thoughts to get on board of as well as which behaviors to engage in. Simply, at each choice point there is a behavior or thought that takes you in the direction you want to go. When you don't know where you want to go, stepping back to create a life compass can help.
The foundation of a life compass is your value system.
First, identify what you value in each of the following arenas. Consider what you would want written on your tombstone related to the following areas of your life. Think about the values in terms of what legacy you want to leave behind.
Other questions that can stimulate ideas include,
Describe the person you want to become. How can you best help yourself become that person? What struggles have you already faced in trying to become that person? What are the barriers? What dreams have you denied yourself or failed to develop? What is the story of the kind of person you would like to be?
Second, while you will never reach a value (e.g., in recreation I want to be strengthening my endurance or in family I want to be someone others can be open with), there are goals that bring you in alignment with what you value. To follow a compass you designed, it is helpful to consider goals towards the meaningful direction for you. Consider what you want your life to be like in five years.
Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. In other words, SMART. For example, if you are interested in running when you haven't even been walking frequently, break down the goals into reasonable steps. Set up a specific time three times per week to walk/run. Ideally, it is the same time. It can be helpful to identify a friend to work out with because that is a motivator, a reinforcer, and more fun.
Specific: Answer the 6 "W" questions for your goal: Who, What, Where, When, Which, Why.
Measurable: How will you know you have accomplished your goal?
Attainable: Plan a time frame that is reasonable as well as a level of change that works for you. Sometimes it can be important to think of the goal in terms of a day at a time.
Realistic: The goal must represent an objective towards which your are both willing and able to work.
Timely: Ground your goal in a time frame. While your values shape your compass that directs you, the goals are reached and passed.
Third, think of one thing you can do, no matter how small, when you stop away from this blog, that helps you to follow the direction of your life compass.