I appreciated New York Times blog-writer Tara Parker-Pope’s suggestion to replace New Year resolutions with mission statements. This posting is abridged from her longer posting, Creating a New Mission Statement (1.5.2015).
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While it is common for businesses to define goals and values with mission statements, most people never take the time to identify their individual senses of purpose. Most focus on single acts of self-improvement — exercising more, eating more healthfully, spending more time with family — rather than examining the underlying reasons for the behavior, says Jack Groppel, co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, an Orlando-based coaching firm.
By creating a mission statement people can begin to identify the underlying causes of behaviors, as well as what truly motivates them to make changes. “A mission statement becomes the North Star for people,” says Dr. Groppel. “It becomes how you make decisions, how you lead, and how you create boundaries.”
The concept of a personal mission statement is not new. It was popularized by Stephen R. Covey, a self-help guru and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Habit No. 2 advises people to “begin with the end in mind” by creating a personal mission statement that defines the personal, moral and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself.
Since then, mission statements have become the cornerstone of the Corporate Athlete program as well as the life and wellness coaching business. Rather than focusing on behavioral changes, we are encouraged to explore those guiding principles that capture how we want to live our lives. In so doing, we refocus our energy on personal priorities and identify the obstacles blocking from achieving goals.
- How do you want to be remembered?
- How do you want people to describe you?
- Who do you want to be?
- Who or what matters most to you?
- What are your deepest values?
- How would you define success in your life?
- What makes your life really worth living?
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Some examples of mission statements from the Corporate Athlete program:
“I plan to spend more time doing things that I like to do.”
“I want to become more physically active and try new hobbies.”
“My mission is to incorporate a healthy balance of work and personal time.”
“I aspire to transform negative work-related situations and put energy into relationships with family and friends.”