Yes the first of a New Year is fast approaching and the 2018 year has come and gone. How do you feel? How did you do on this past years goals? Are you confused as to why you set them? Maybe confused as to how they fit into your big picture. Here is a quick test on your goal setting & achieving ability. Can you easily find your goals you set at the end of 2017 to launch you into 2018? The smart people say to WRITE THEM DOWN! So where are they? In the front of your journal or note book? Or scattered on a todo list? Or did you give up and take them off your todo list all together.
So what is your bigger picture for this year? What are your goals? AND WHY? Let me rephrase this… How do you rank your sources of personal meaning?
One of the greatest gifts we have as humans is to make meaning out of experiences. Let me demonstrate:
1. We have individualized experiences that shape the way we see the world.
2. Then we experience something that thwarts our current world-view and we have to revisit the meaning we personally assigned and perhaps assign new personal meaning. In short, we strive to answer the, “Whys?”
We may need to revisit our sources of personal meaning multiple times throughout our lives. Generally, individuals experience a few bigger events (what could be termed as life-changing events) that cause this self-reflective process to take place. Oftentimes we go through this during adolescence, emerging adulthood, and if large and unexpected events cause us to scratch our heads and say, “Wait, what?”
Just when you think you have it all figured out… Well, I would like you to try something. I’d like to thank Dr. Kent M. Keith from the Green Center for Servant-Leadership for inspiring this exercise…
Rate the following as sources of personal meaning in your life, 1-10. Be true to yourself as this is the first step of Spiritual Well-Being (SWB).
- Giving and receiving love
- Importance of Meaningful Happiness
- My family
- My friends
- My religious faith
- Being appreciated
- My personal sense of mission
- My hobbies
- Being creative
- Being physically fit
- Continuing to learn
- A sense of accomplishment/personal achievements
- The “little things”
- Serving others
- God/Higher power/universal power (you choose)
- Living my values
- Overcoming obstacles (resilience)
- Attaining and using wisdom
- Doing my personal best
- Donating to good causes
How would you rate the amount of personal happiness & meaning in your life? What are your top 5 sources?
This is important to know about yourself. Cultivate them. Why are they meaningful? What experiences have you had that make them so?
Now back to priorities. Time for me to get personal. Staying physically active is very important to me. It affects every area of my life. When I let it fall lower on my priority list I become unhappy. Therefore, this is a big priority for me. In fact, the only thing that really rivals it daily are the important people in my life and obligations with pressing deadlines. I sometimes even get out of balance with sleep and nutrition.
Recently I realized just how important my spiritual well-being relates to my personal relationship with God, and somehow this has dropped on my priority list as I have experienced some major life changes that caused me to question, well, everything. I have made a commitment to put God first. This doesn’t necessarily mean chronologically, but each day will be dedicated and focused on making this aspect of spiritual well-being my greatest priority.
After months of choosing to question this source of peace, I received inspiration that this would be the biggest contributing factor towards my confidence in the future as well as a daily dose of personal peace. And I relate spiritual things to physical things so often because it helps me understand. Just as I need exercise to be a regular part of my life to keep me happy, I need to practice faith and obedience to my greatest source of personal meaning in order to feel spiritual peace. I need it daily.
I could put many disclaimers on the statements that I have made. I choose not to. You must decide what your greatest sources of personal meaning are and why. They may change depending on experiences, like I said before. Once you assign personal meaning to the experiences you are having, awesome or awful, you will feel greater peace and contentment in your life, I promise. If this takes you longer than you thought it would, the eventual meaning will be one of the greatest treasures you will ever possess. Please don’t forget this.
I suggest getting in touch with your higher power first then write your goals on your mirror with a dry erase marker.