Socrates is famously quoted as saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  At some later point, I’ll reflect on my studies of Socrates/Plato during my undergrad years at Northern Illinois University.  But for now, I would like to share a framework that my friend Ron K. shared with me a few years ago for actually examining life.

We were talking about New Year’s Resolutions, and Ron shared that he had a much more elaborate system.  Every year, he would sit down and make resolutions from several categories.  He wrote them down.  He kept them.  He showed me a tablet of paper going back YEARS, with these annual plans and goals- detailing the person he wanted to become that year.  Some were very lofty and high minded.  Others very earthy, talking about income goals for that years.  Others were more whimsical, like learning to play guitar well enough to perform publicly.

And so, for several years now, I have at least attempted to make a similar list.  Ron shared that the ACHIEVEMENT of the goal was not necessarily the mark of success, but rather the MAKING of the goal.  It’s the process that matters.  It’s the systematic, regular, detailed examination of one’s life that not only leads to business success (and Ron has been very successful in business), but to fulfillment in life.

As these goals are often very personal things, I won’t share all of mine here, but I would like to outline the major areas, some of which I’ve altered from Ron’s list.  Each category should have 1-2 concrete goals within it.

  • Artistic Goals – we all need some sort of artistic outlet, whether writing, painting, making music, or even blogging.
  • Career Goals – Not just “job” goals, but how do I want to enhance, or even begin to change my work life this year?
  • Family – What do I want to do to be a better husband, father, son, brother, etc.?
  • Physical – Run a 5K?  Lose weight?  Bench press a Volkswagen?
  • Public Service – What will I do to serve my community this year?
  • Attitude – What do I want to develop or change in how I respond to the world?
  • Educational – We should always be learning. How will I?
  • Financial – How will I know if I’m succeeding in the area of personal finance?
  • Pleasure – What will I do that will bring me joy this year?
  • Spiritual – How will I develop or change my relationship with my Creator?

One of my Artistic goals for the last several years has been to blog at least weekly.  And so here we are!  Anyone else want to share?

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