Step 1: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down “values” and then spend 10 to 15 minutes writing down everything that you value. There is a great website: www.stevepavlina.com/ that has a list of several hundred values to start your mind thinking in the right direction. After the time is up, stop doing this and move to Step 2.
Step 2: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down “lifetime goals”. This is where you can dream; for example, what places would you like to visit; what experiences would you like to have; what would you like to accomplish within your lifetime. This might include traveling to Australia; getting a university degree; living in an X square foot house, etc. There are no rules to this brainstorming – simply make a list.
I have done this goal setting exercise many times and I tend to use the same list of lifetime goals and add to the list each time I do the exercise.
Step 3: at the top of a blank piece of paper write down what you would do if you had six months to live. This part of the exercise really came home to me this week when one of my close friends died at 36 years old. Some of us may have only six months to live; however, we may not know it yet. List everything that you would do if you had only six months to live. Part of the purpose of this exercise that I found works well for me is that it brings the truly important into focus. Often I find things that I would do if I had only six months to live that are not listed on my life time goals.
One of the things i did when i was 25 or so was to write a future resume, what would you resume look when you are 30, 35 and 40 years. It clarifies your thinking and helps prioritise your goals/efforts. I dont know where i read about it, but it was along the lines of what Jim Estill has written here in this post. It sounds corny but it is worth the time.
By the way, most of what i wrote for 30 and 35 years came true!