While you are reading this, I am likely experiencing a day I have dreamed of and hoped for, one I have written about for myself while doing the Ideal Day exercise from last week. My dearest friend’s daughter just got married, my husband and I traveled together to Gourdes, a small town in France, to witness and celebrate Isabelle’s wedding. We have know this beautiful woman her entire life and it was amazing to be present.

But just six months ago I could not have imagined being there or here where I am now  (biking along a road with my husband, Chip). You see, Chip was a high school teacher for the past 15 years, a job he both loved and excelled at. So when the wedding “save the date” came in May, I assumed I would travel alone, as he could not take a week off during the school year.

But then Chip left his job and is figuring out the next steps and volunteering with kids who need some extra academic help. Which means he has time. So now we are doing something we did pre-kids, cycling a country road together, something we both love with passion.

But when we return, Chip will be further exploring what’s next, just like I did when I left my job and started Wellfleet Circle. That kind of transition calls for a pause and self reflection. Crafting the life you want takes some thinking AND feeling, and it is so worth making the time to explore. And you don’t have to be in a major transition to benefit from thinking about what you want more of in your life.

Knowing What You Want Means Thinking About You

The first step in getting what we want in life, in living the life we want, is knowing what that looks like. The problem is that sometimes we are so worried about what others think or want that our desires or preferences get left behind. And then, if we do think about what we want, we’re afraid of being selfish.

Today, you get to think about you. Whether you have kids or parents or other people in your life that you care about or for, you get to think about what you want in your life.

Write about What You Want

Take 5–15 minutes to journal about what you want. You can make a list or write rambling paragraphs about what your ideal life looks like with all the things you want in it. Don’t worry about how you say it. This writing is just for you.

What should you write about?

  • How you want to feel
  • What you want to do – both work and play
  • People you want in your life
  • Things you want in your life (from a beach house to more ice cream … big or little)
  • Places you want to go

Just write down anything that comes to mind, without judgment or censoring yourself. Write down things even if they seem impossible. But don’t write down things you think you are supposed to want—just what you personally want.

Create the Life You Want

Knowing what you want is the first step to getting more of that in your life.

Do you want more time with your family? You can make choices about work and volunteering and other activities to make that happen. Have you always dreamed about writing a book? Set aside 20 minutes a day for writing for starters or sign up for a writing class.

Do you feel better when you help others? Add simple acts of kindness to your day and connect with other ways of giving of yourself. Do you want a job with more meaning? Think about what you value and explore new opportunities.

Writing about your life won’t create the life you want, but it can help you find your way.

Write a Personal Manifesto

In addition to journaling about what you want in your life or what you want your life to be, writing a personal manifesto helps you get focused on what you want out of life. A personal manifesto clarifies your guiding values and can act as a touchstone as you make big decisions and choose how to live intentionally each day.

Check out the values list and identify 8–10 values that really matter to you.

Then take some time to freewrite about these questions:

  • How do I want to show up for myself? For family and friends? For work? For my community and the world?
  • How do I want people to remember me?
  • What are my core values? My goals? My priorities?
  • What is important to me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?

Now imagine your life based on your answer to those questions. Are you making time for the things that really matter?

Write your personal manifesto as a guide for living your most authentic life. You can be begin with statements like:

  • I believe in a world where …
  • I value ___ so I ___.  
  • In my life ___, ___, and ___ are my top priorities.
  • I live my best life when …

Or simply put together a statement about how you live your life and why. Write it in the present tense, even if you are still moving toward fully living this way.

Put your manifesto some place you can see it regularly. Recommit to it daily.

What do you want in your life? Writing can help you unlock it—and remind you to keep coming back to the things that really matter to you.

What’s one thing that really matters to you? How are you including it in your life?

Want a better idea on how to create a more meaningful life? Download my free guide, 3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love to start designing your best life—a life with more energy, engagement, and clarity.

Want to feel more engaged and energized? Get your copy of 3 Steps to a Meaningful Life You Love!