For years, I have been assisting men and women in their effort to clarify the purpose and direction they want for their lives. One of the tools I have encouraged them to use in this process is the Personal Mission Statement.
You have likely heard the widely-quoted statement that if you write down your goals you significantly improve your chances of accomplishing them. This principle reinforces the value of creating a written personal mission statement to help you become who you want to be and accomplish what you want to do.
Over the years, I have gathered information from many sources on creating a personal mission statement and want to share some of that information with you.
The challenge is to write your mission statement in such a way that it will be effective, so while there is no required format or formula, the following guidelines may be helpful:
Keep it simple, clear and brief. The best mission statements tend to be three to five sentences long. Identify the area of your life you want to address. Focus on who you want to become (character) or what you want to achieve. Think about specific actions, behaviors, habits and qualities that would have a significant positive impact in this part of your life over the next one to three years.
Use positive language. Instead of saying what you don’t want to do or don’t want to be, say what you do want to do or become. Find the positive alternatives to any negative statements. Include positive behaviors, character traits and values that you consider important and want to develop further.
Assess your current situation. Think about how your actions, habits, behavior and character traits in your focus area affect the important relationships in your life. Create a mission statement that will guide you in your day-to-day actions and decisions toward your desired outcome.
Create multiple mission statements if desired. As you write one, think about how it affects the other areas of your life. Is it consistent with your other personal mission statements? Will it conflict with or contradict something else. Is it balanced?
Make it emotional. Including an emotional payoff in your mission statement infuses it with passion and will make it even more compelling, inspiring and energizing.
Feel free to change or update it. Remember that your mission statement is not cast in stone. It will continue to change and evolve as you gain insights about yourself and what you want out of each part of your life. Let it grow with you!
As with any worthwhile endeavor, the hardest part can be getting started, so here are some templates to get your creative juices flowing and help you direct your thoughts and feelings toward creating an effective mission statement.
Personal Mission Statement Sentence Templates
“To… [what you want to achieve, do or become] … so that… [reasons why it is important]. I will do this by… [specific behaviors or actions you can use to get there].”
“I value… [choose one to three values] … because… [reasons why these values are important to you]. Accordingly, I will… [what you can do to live by these values].”
“To develop and cultivate the qualities of… [two to three values/character traits] … that I admire in… [an influential person in your life] … so that… [why you want to develop these qualities].”
“To live each day with… [choose one to three values or principles] … so that… [what living by these values will give you]. I will do this by… [specific behaviors you will use to live by these values].”
“To appreciate and enjoy… [things you want to appreciate and enjoy more] … by… [what you can do to appreciate/enjoy these things].”
“To treasure above all else… [most important things to you] … by… [what you can do to live your priorities].”
“To be known by… [an important person/group] … as someone who is… [qualities you want to have]…; and by… [some other person/group]… as someone who is… [other qualities]…”
Feel free to combine these sentences in any way to carve your own unique personal mission statement. Here is an example of a part of a potential mission statement for someone focused on health and fitness using the first sentence template:
“To be healthy, fit and energetic so that I can enjoy life to the fullest and have the energy to pursue all my goals. I will do this by exercising regularly, following a nutritious diet and eliminating negative habits that are impacting my health.”
I hope that helps you get started today to create one or more personal mission statements that will guide you toward becoming the person you want to be and accomplishing the things you would like to do in your life.
Have you ever written your own personal mission statement? Can you describe to our readers how that helped you focus your efforts to shape your life?
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.