Committing to a better life is committing to a mission.
Your mission outlines what you are going to do in life now, in order to create the life you want.
Many people may have the same vision for their life, but no two people are going to take the same path to get there. Your path, your mission, is unique to you.
There are seven keys to committing to your mission.
- Key #1: Know Who You are
- Key #2: Start Your Mission Today
- Key #3: Seek Clarity in all Areas of Life
- Key #4: Know Where You are Going (Vision)
- Key #5: Cultivate a Practice Mindset
- Key #6: Incorporate Journaling
- Key #7: Have a Mission Statement
Key #1: Know Who You are
Understanding yourself and how you work is an invaluable skill. What works for others may or may not work for you. For myself, I have found over the years that I work best in 20-minute intervals with a break where I get up and move around. Knowing this about myself made me start using [Pomodoro](https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique) timers when they first got popular a few years ago. Without the reflections I have made over the years in my journals I may never have made the connection.
My life design has been created and refined over my lifetime. I wish I could have gone for a weekend retreat and come back knowing exactly where I wanted to go and what I could do to get there but that never happened. I tried many times, and it showed me bits and pieces, but I needed to assemble and push forward to get a little more clarity on where I was going.
It would be nice if we were like hockey players who knew from the age of 2 they wanted to be a hockey player and everything in their life was done to that end.
I think for most people it takes a long period of time of self-reflection, defining their mission, trying it, changing what doesn’t work or doesn’t resonate, and moving on. Unfortunately, in this day there are so many distractions and so many get quick schemes.
Everyone has different obstacles in their life. Everyone has different ways in which they react to obstacles. There is no one solution or one life path or mission that is going to work for everyone.
Most often, we are our biggest obstacle. We know what the right thing to do is, we just don’t know how we can follow through. Understanding who we are is the first step. We need to start any change from where we are now. Find that next step that moves you one step closer to your life vision.
Key #2: Start Your Mission Today
Your mission starts today. Simply put there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be. Where you want to be is defined by your vision. Your mission is what is going to close that gap. This gap includes things that you want in life, systems, and processes that need to be put in place, and most importantly who you need to be to live your vision.
Every day put into place one small piece of your vision. What is missing? What do you need to learn? What habits do you need to form? Who do you need to connect with? What systems and processes do you need to create? These are all questions that need to be answered and then completed to close the gap between where you are and your vision.
Remember that a mission starts from where you are now. Don’t try to change too much at once. Do one thing a day to help move you forward. When you are reflecting in your journal, reflect on tasks and habits that can provide leverage. These are tasks or habits that you gain a benefit from continuously long after the work is done. Exercise is a good example. If you can get into the habit of exercising regularly, the benefits are going to be realized in many areas of your life, not just your health.
Your mission does not have to be the whole way, it just needs to get you closer.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” – Bill Gates
Keep building and defining the precise steps you are taking towards your vision. As your mission starts to become clear then you will need to create goals and objectives to more effectively move you towards your vision but that will be another blog post.
In order to learn how to execute, you need to execute.
If you are trying to get from A to B and you are off by 45 degrees, you are still making progress. Pursuing your vision is a zig-zag path. You don’t need to know the exact path, you just need to move closer to your vision. Do something, see where you are, adjust, repeat.
Key #3: Seek Clarity in all Areas of Life
Life design is the process of designing and executing the design to purposefully create the life you want. For any process, the greater the clarity in the components the greater the design and the higher probability the design will be executed.
To effectively execute your mission to create your vision, clarity in all parts of your life, including yourself will make the journey to your vision easier and more straightforward. Life is a puzzle and understanding each puzzle piece makes assembling the puzzle easier and faster.
The overall purpose of your mission is clarity. Clarity in where you are in life, clarity in where you want to go, clarity of who you are, and finally clarity in what you are going to do. The better you understand and can specify the details of your mission the more effectively you will carry it out.
Key #4: Know Where You are Going (Vision)
Your mission builds towards your vision.
You have a day mission, a weekly mission, a monthly mission, a yearly mission. When we do not have our life design in mind, our daily mission just becomes routine, we go through the day and end up going to bed no closer to our vision than when we got up. If we are trying to close that gap each day, the worse that can happen is that we are no closer but we have the experience and knowledge of what doesn’t work so that we don’t repeat it.
Being a little philosophical, everyone’s mission in life is to work toward a vision where they are creating value for others. Whether you work harder in your job, or you invest in yourself, you are creating value and eventually, you will be rewarded for that value you create. Reflect on who you are creating that value for, who is your tribe. Like your mission, your understanding of your tribe is going to take time. As you progress on that journey towards your vision, more and more of your time is going to be spent on creating value for your tribe and you will get to know your tribe more and more.
The more clarity you have in your vision the clearer your path to your vision. The more you live your mission the more clarity you will have in your vision. Constantly refine your vision and then constantly refine your mission to create the vision. Clarity in one will result in clarity in the other.
Key #5: Cultivate a Practice Mindset
Your mission is a set of steps you are committing to follow. Approach the steps of your mission with the mindset of practice. You are practicing doing the steps of your mission daily. Viewing your mission as practice does two things. First, it reduces the overwhelm. As a practice, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Second, as a practice, you are constantly refining and improving the steps of your mission.
Be strategic in those steps. You are systematizing the steps you are taking, and the more you can refine those systems the better. Everything you do is a system, you can call them routines, or actions you habitually take, but they are a set of steps to accomplishing something. Looking at your routines with the mindset of making them better will start to accelerate you towards your mission. This could be as simple as placing a bowl by the door for your keys so that you always know where they are. As part of your daily review, reflect on what you did that day and how you could be more effective at them.
When you are first systematizing your routines, it may slow you down, but it is laying the foundation for a more effective life.
If you had the task of building a pyramid, there are two approaches you could use. The first is to start moving the stones into place as quickly as possible. This would be fine for the first couple of levels, but eventually, you will hit a wall. Alternatively, you could take the time to set the systems or processes in place. You could cut the logs to roll the stones, you could build water ducts to bring water to lubricate the stones, you could build the roads from the quarry to the pyramid, etcetera. Once you start using the systems the pyramid will be built much faster than the brute force method. Use this type of strategic thinking in your mission so that you will realize your vision so much faster. Take the time now to figure out what you need to do to get to your vision, then put the processes in place, and then start executing. Be strategic.
You have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly missions. What I mean by this is that every day you are working towards fulfilling your life design, every week, month, quarter, and year you have a focus on your life design.
Commit to practicing what you need to do rather than doing. Practicing means you are trying to get better at it, you are in a learning mode. Doing means you are already good at it.
Practice, evaluate practice, adjust and practice some more
- Make your map
- Follow your map
- Evaluate and refine your map
Key #6: Incorporate Journaling
Incorporate journaling into your mission to build clarity and focus.
The overall purpose of journaling your mission is clarity. Clarity in where you are in life, clarity in where you want to go, clarity of who you are, and finally clarity in what you are going to do. The better you understand and can specify the details of your mission the more effectively you will carry it out.
I encourage you to take the time to constantly update and review your mission until you can articulate exactly what it is that you’re are going to do in order to reach your vision.
Daily, journal the actions that you are taking as you carry out your mission, document your reflections about fulfilling the steps. Use these reflections and experiences to figure out how to be a little better tomorrow.
If we can be just half a percent better each day than the day before, the compounding effects mean that after a year we will be over 500% better than what we were!
Journaling is a keystone habit for you to reach your vision.
Journaling will allow you to track the actions you’re are taking, and your reaction to those actions. This information will allow you to constantly improve how you are executing what you committed to in your mission.
As you make progress each day to executing your mission record these accomplishments in your journal, so you can evaluate and improve your efficiency in executing your mission. Record what went well, what didn’t go well, epic moments, moments of flow, moments of resistance. When you review your journal entries you can revise how you are carrying out your mission.
Key #7: Have a Mission Statement
Creating and writing your mission statement makes it real.
Your mission statement can take any form, it all depends on what works for you. It can be a short paragraph, a story, a set of bullet points. The thing your mission statement needs to accomplish is to give you clarity on what you are going to do now to reach your vision. Where your vision was motivational and fed your dreams, your mission needs to be practical. Your day-to-day tasks should come directly from your mission.
Statements for one person may work great whereas the same statement for another person will be too vague. One person may say that their mission for the year is to work hard. From them, they know what it means to work hard and what they have to do. For another person, they may not know what it means or what it takes to work hard. For them, they would need a more specific statement.
Share your mission with an accountability partner. Your mission is a promise to yourself. Make sure you can fulfill the promise. The promise is why it is deemed a practice. It is far easier to promise to practice writing than to write.
Key # 8: Reward Yourself
Fulfilling your mission is going to take work, at times it is going to be hard. Having the inspiration to keep up the hard work is necessary. This could be working with your significant other to support you, finding an accountability partner to help, or deciding on some reward that you are going to treat yourself to.
Moving closer to your vision is also inspirational. Keeping track of your experiences on your journey will show your progress towards your vision. It will show the wins and the hard times you have worked through. When you are looking for inspiration, you can read through your list of experiences like the story of your life.
A mission is hard work. Reward yourself when you come through.