Photo: Chinmay Singh
To be 100% happy with your life and the path you are on, you need to be happy with the choices you are making every day. Those choices will be better if you clarify where you are headed in life and career.
Napoleon Hill once said “There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.
People who know their objectives and what they want from life are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.
Successful people clarify their long-term goals and then break them down into manageable intermediate targets so that they can measure progress along the way.
If you don’t have clarity on what you want or what you need to get to do to live your best life, you will be distracted by almost everything or everyone.
Lack of clarity can show up in how we talk, how we hold ourselves, how we take action, and how other people relate us — It affects our wealth, health, careers, happiness, and relationships.
Clarity helps us to focus and to take action in the direction of our dreams — a lack of clarity causes inaction, a scattered focus, relationship difficulties, confusion, and daily stress about what we really want for ourselves.
Every area of your life can become a helpful framework for tracking and measuring success in your life. You are already familiar with these five areas of your life, but have you clarified how you will improve each of them?
1. How to take control of your career
What are your ambitions for success in your work? Do you have a plan?
When we’re unclear on something (how we should reach a goal, for example) … most often we put it off instead of getting any clarity.
Think about it: When you feel unclear about a career choice, you have difficulty pursuing it. And if you don’t know why you should do something, you can’t fully commit to it.
People who are constantly striving to achieve something meaningful with their careers crave clarity. They have a clear understanding of what success means to them.
Everything they do is consistent with their career goals. They look forward and decide where they want to be. Their day to day actions help them move closer to their long-term career goals.
2. How you can improve your relationships
At every stage of your life, you are either improving your relationships of making them worse.
Think about your relationship with your parents, your siblings, your partner, your children, your friends, your neighbours and so on. Are there aspects that need to be repaired or developed?
Think about how each of those relationships could be improved and plan the actions you can take to make it better.
Your relationships with others take a whole different level of significance if you aim to connect deeper and spend genuine quality time with those you love. Choose to be of value to others — whether it is your time, attention, love, or your knowledge, be generous whenever possible.
3. How you’ll get healthier
Almost every aspect of your life depends on your continued good health. Most people know the key issues that affect their health but often they do little about them. Set yourself clear goals to change to charge of your health.
The Internet is full of hacks meant to help you optimize each little detail of your health, but most of the benefits of sleep, exercise, and diet come from just doing the basics right.
Some obvious first steps include eating more greens and superfoods and cutting back on sugars and alcohol. Sleeping, meditating, exercising, and keeping stress levels low are other key ingredients in the recipe of wellness.
Your daily habits have more impact on how long and how well you live — plan to live well. Set yourself clear goals to change your lifestyle in the areas which are harmful to your well-being. It is never too early or too late to start living more healthily.
4. How you will build wealth for the future
Financial health is important, but like our bodily health, we often tend to ignore it until it becomes a looming problem.
Money may not bring you happiness, but money can make your life easier to live. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. That’s why it’s important to set clear goals for improving your financial security.
This should include savings, loan reduction, pension planning, your property, your investments and so on.
The formula for wealth is simple: spend less than you make and invest the difference wisely. Rinse and repeat until the income from your investments exceeds your expenses. At that point, you’re infinitely wealthy and financially independent.
With that said, the sad truth is few will achieve financial freedom despite the desirability of the goal and the simple path you must follow to achieve it.
Procrastination is the single biggest wealth killer — you plan on getting around to it someday. You know what you should do but there is always some other priority.
Our habits make it difficult to sustain our financial goals. But you can change that. You can be mindful about your spending and get practical clarity about your financial future.
If you’re young, you probably don’t think about retirement much. But it’s important. Even if you think you can always plan for retirement later, do it now. Do whatever you can to improve your net worth, either by reducing your debt, increasing your savings, or increasing your income, or all of the above.
5. What you will do to improve yourself
What are the skills and experiences you want to develop? Maybe you want to improve your public speaking or learn a new skill. When you make your personal goals as important as your professional goals, achieving balance is a natural result.
A personal development plan is “a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you manage your own learning and growth.
When you don’t have a vision, a plan, or a goal, you can easily be distracted. To really make personal growth a habit and help you stick to a daily or weekly plan, try reserving certain time slots in your week for those activities.
True personal development enables you to identify your lifelong goals and pursue them. Successful people don’t grow by accident, they grow by design.
When you schedule personal development time on purpose, you are making time to design the life you want. In his new book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way Brendon Burchard said, “Often, the journey to greatness begins the moment our preferences for comfort and certainty are overruled by a greater purpose that requires challenge and contribution.”
To fully control all the important areas of your life and improve them, start a use a clarity journal. Write about what you need clarity on — it doesn’t have to be any solid answers or any kind of comprehensive writing.
Just let your thoughts pour out every now and then. When you have any kind of clarity at all, write it down as simply as you can. Putting it down simply helps it become more clear. And then you can start to take action them.
As you set things in motion, it’s useful to step back every month or two to see how things are going. What have you learned? What’s getting in the way? Use what you’ve learned to get even more clarity.
Don’t get disheartened if you are not in total control of every area of your life. We all miss goals from time to time. Clarity is not something you can achieve one time and move full speed ahead. As you move down the path toward your goals, you will happen upon new areas in need of clarity.
The critical thing is to consistently measure your life and do more of what’s working, or revise your plan if you are off-target.
Remember the Pareto Principle and focus on the most important activities — it says that 80% of the value you generate comes from 20% of your activities. Focus your time and energy on that critical 20% to get the results you want in life.
This article first appeared on Medium.