As 2018 rolls in, many of us are inevitably thinking and talking about our New Year’s resolutions: “I’m going to do yoga 4 times a week!” “I’m going to triple my work load!” “I plan on reading 12 books this year!” “I’m going to master the art of meditation!” “I’ve decided to give up bacon and become a vegetarian!”  The list of potential options goes on and on…But if you take the time to examine your list you might realize that they are either A) a repeat of your last three years’ resolutions, or B) disjointed and somewhat random. They are missing a key point; What are they laddering up to? What is the overarching goal of these additions to your life routine?

Perhaps it’s that more yoga and meditation in your life will help you gain headspace and facilitate better time and stress management. In turn, this can help you free up time in your life to devote to spending with your family, and to really be present when you are with them. Your resolution might just be building up to a larger end goal (i.e. be a better parent). And if so, wouldn’t it be a smarter decision to discover your personal mission first? For example: “To live a balanced life and to be present for my family.”

Starting the new year with a resolution seems almost backwards, what should come first is a mission statement.  This gets you to actually think about your overall purpose, only after this can you begin to think about the appropriate resolutions to help get you there.

Writing a mission statement is no easy task, it can be as daunting as answering existential life questions like, “Why am I here?”  But, the exercise is invaluable. It forces you to sit down and think about what’s important to you, what your role is in this world. Ultimately, it should provide you with a clear and coherent message that can be your guiding light in life.

So, give it a go… today. Don’t waste another minute without having a focus! Take a moment to think deeply about life and your purpose, and write your thoughts down (sometimes, there’s no substitute for pen to paper.)

If you want an example to get you started with the exercise, here’s the mission statement of the CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company, Denise Morrison, “to serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”

Start this task by thinking about the following questions:

  • What does the best version of myself look like?
  • Who is important to me in my life? Why do I look up to them?
  • What type of legacy do I want to leave behind?

Now, bundle it up into a clear, concise, and useful guiding sentence, and there you have it - your very own personal mission statement. Read it out loud, share it with your friends and family, post it on LinkedIn, stick it on your bedroom wall!

We recently did this exercise at Inspiring Capital and we loved it -- now each of us has our personal mission statement alongside our bios on our team page, check them out here! It’s a great way of reminding us of our guiding purpose!