Use A Personal Vision Statement To Guide Your Life

Create a great life with a clear vision of what you want to accomplish

Thoughtful, serene woman drinking coffee and looking at mountain view, Alberta, Canada

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What Does a Personal Vision Statement Do?

Your personal vision statement guides your life and provides the direction necessary to chart the course of your days and the choices you make about your career, life, and family.

Think of your personal vision statement as the light shining in the darkness that illuminates your path through the forest of life.

Writing a vision statement is the first step in focusing on your life. It can help put things into perspective—your joy, your accomplishments, your family life, and your contributions.your joy, your accomplishments, your family life, and your contributions.

Prepare to Draft Your Vision Statement

Journaling has been advocated by many psychologists for a long time as a key activity for self-improvement and self-reflection. You could begin by starting a journal or looking through the journal you already have for hints about behaviors, values, morals, thoughts, and feelings that are important to you.

Ask yourself some guiding questions to start yourself off. Be honest. Your answers can help you clearly illustrate your vision. If you fudge your answers or are dishonest with yourself, you will not create a vision that is uniquely yours—one that is worth your time and life to follow.

As you collect information on yourself, take time to formulate your thoughts cohesively into descriptive sentences or paragraphs that summarize single values or characteristics.

Questions You Could Ask Yourself

  • What are 10 things that you most enjoy doing? These are the 10 things without which your weeks, months, and years would feel incomplete.
  • What three things must you do every single day to feel fulfilled in your work?
  • What are your five to six most important values?
  • Write one important goal for each of the following facets of your life: physical, spiritual, work or career, family, social relationships, financial security, mental improvement and attention, and fun.
  • If you never had to work another day in your life, how would you spend your time instead of working?
  • When your life is ending, what will you regret not doing, seeing, or achieving?
  • What strengths of yours have other people commented on, and how have the strengths and comments affected your accomplishments?
  • What strengths do you see in yourself?
  • What weaknesses of yours have other people commented on, and what do you believe are your weaknesses?
  • What weaknesses do you see in yourself?

You can explore additional thoughtful questions that may also provide the opportunity for introspection.

Develop Your Vision Statement

Once you have thoughtfully prepared answers to these questions (and others) that you have identified as consequential for you, you are ready to design a personal vision statement. Write in the first person and charge yourself to take control of your destiny by crafting realistic goals that reflect the characteristics and concepts you have identified.

Write the statements as if you are already making them happen in your life. Don't count your words and fully articulate the vision that you wish to achieve. The more detailed you develop your written perspective, the better you will be able to see it in your mind's eye.

People tend to accomplish goals, dreams, plans, and visions they have written down. Writing down your goals lends power and commitment, and creates a reviewable reinforcement of your goals.

Your personal vision statement can, and most likely will, change over time depending on what is happening in your life. However, the changes you integrate into your vision more often than not will still reflect the original values and intent you described to yourself during your first vision statement.

When people live and experience the components of their personal vision frequently, they tend to feel more fulfilled and happy. This is because a personal vision statement is a guide, written by and for you, for your life.

Envision Your Ideal Life

Theresa Quadrozzi, a certified life coach, suggests that you should think about how you would want your life to be—without barriers. 

"One of the first exercises I do with clients is to have them envision their ideal life, as if money was no option, as if a fairy godmother granted their every wish and they woke up in the morning to find that they've all come true. This helps shift them out of a fear-based, conditioned world, out of pessimism and into possibilities, into what could be."

Quadrozzi says that people live unfulfilled because they are negatively influenced by circumstances around them, such as meaningless work or the constant struggle to survive. Regardless of circumstance, there are endless possibilities passing by with the world constantly changing, innovating, and creating new opportunities.

As Quadrozzi suggests, "What would you like to do? What does the world need? What difference are you going to make?" Use your talents, strengths and abilities. Develop your weaknesses and seize opportunities.

If you have identified your hopes and dreams, and the methods you will use to fulfill them, you should be able to work at achieving them every day. This will give you the feeling of wholeness you have been looking for, a sense of accomplishment. If you have outlined a plan for your ideal (and realistic) life, and committed to following it, how could you fail?

The Bottom Line

Quoting the late American televangelist Robert H. Schuller, "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?"

What would you do?