During 20 of the 28 years of my life I have heard mentioning the importance of a life project. To have clear goals and make wise decisions that lead to fulfill those goals have always been my priority. Since my childhood my mom always motivated me to dream big and have my thoughts focused on reaching my dreams. Later on, during my primary and secondary school, there were several classes focused on the life project topic. In fact I will never forget one of the most rewarding tasks I did in my school days when I completed a small book: my life project.
The ideas I share below are not based on psychologicalor social theories, but rather on my own experience building my life project and goals. Moreover, based on disappointments and unexpected situations, I share personal thoughts related to the importance of being flexible on the road to conquer our dreams. If you wish to share personal experiences, please leave your comments below.
What is a life project
All humans have dreams and needs. During our childhood, we play to be superheroes, to be firemen or veterinarians; no matter what profession we chose, our dreams were based on what we “wanted to be”.
A life project is simply a document that compiles “what we want to be” and “what we are going to do” to achieve it in certain chapters of our life. It also includes the possibilities and means/resources that we need and currently have to achieve those goals. In summary, a life project is our little manual where we register our dreams and the actions that we are going to carry out in order to fulfill those goals.
The importance of a life project
I know that many may see irrelevant a long-term thinking approach in life; however, I believe that devoting time to set goals and visualize ourselves in the future helps us to be successful and happy. Personally, I have linked the fact of having a life project with certainty. A life project offers the possibility of being clear with ourselves and focus our energies to satisfy our physiological, safety, affiliation, recognition, and self-realization needs. One of the biggest fears that I have always identified in me is the waste of talents and opportunities. I always feel the need of thinking about ways to ensure that my potential is fully exploited.
The exercise of thinking about a life project helps us to:
- Connect daily activities with larger objectives, so that our actions coherent and a greater value is perceived when meeting goals. Here you can find 14 things you need to do daily to achieve your dreams
- Manage our life in a more professional way; this means taking advantage of our talents and obtaining the best results from each of our efforts.
- Create a protective barrier against depression and bad decisions, especially in cases of crisis or unexpected changes.
- Take a 100% advantage of the resources and opportunities offered by life.
- Increase self-esteem and self-awareness, know yourself, and internalize behavior.
- Learn to plan, establish priorities, and make decisions according to our goals.
How to create your own life project
A life project is composed by different elements, each of them inviting us to reflect on a specific part of our lives. Once you have decided to start the construction of your own life project, it is enough to take time to analyze the current situation of your life, define your dreams and the available resources. Once defined, you can establish general and concrete activities that lead to the realization of these goals.
Below I share the components of a life project:
- Reality: it refers to the current state of our lives, including the resources we possess, the skills and talents. Everyone can decide how specific they want to be, the main thing is to be clear about who they are as a person and what are the circumstances in which they find themselves.
- Needs: the main objective of this component is to know yourself and identify what is needed to be happy. The components of happiness are relative and cannot be copied from one human to another. A technique that works well is to take the different components of life (physiology, safety, affiliation, recognition, and self-realization) and respond to our ideal and needs in each of them. From psychological needs such as being understood and loved, security needs such as a stable financial life, or affiliation needs such as good interpersonal relationships at work, this is the time to define your requirement.
- Goals: this is the moment to dream and define what we want to be in the future. The goals can be clustered into general and specific goals. For example, you can group more concrete actions around a topic that lead to a greater impact in an area of your life. It is always good to establish goals according to the needs previously established by each component of life. Only in this way you can guarantee balance and fulfillment for all components of life.
- Values: here it is important to determine which moral and ethical values govern our lives. What does each of the values mean and what are our limits? Complying with our scale of values guarantees self-realization and peace with yourself after achieving goals.
- Decision: once the elements mentioned above are defined, we can trace a path to follow based on our reality, needs, goals, and values. Making decisions is never easy, so the most convenient way to do it is by breaking down actions into projects. Each project will then have assigned tasks and goals to achieve.
The importance to be flexible on the way to reach our goals
Once you have a life project, it does not mean that you need to be rigid with decisions and leave aside your spontaneity. On the contrary, a life project allows us to continue being spontaneous with trivial decisions and actively decide on things that are important for ourselves, our needs, and dreams. It would not be fair or smart to leave important decisions to chance. There is always a high percentage of probability that the projects are not fulfilled if we do not have them clear.
Being flexible is one of the essential components that should not be forgotten in a life project and in general daily life. Regardless of how much we plan, there will always be something that does not happen as we want. In such a case is when we should breathe deeply, assume the changes, and continue. Many times the change will affect the way we achieve a dream; other times the change will affect the dream as such. Either one or another, if you have as main goal to be happy, then you will most probably “fall in love” with new goals and exploit your potential in new ways.p
Change is an inevitable factor in our lives. We may have thought and planned a series of activities, and then life collapses and changes all our plans. Change is a fact, however, it is always in our hands to foresee, control, and adapt to it.
One last invitation to be perseverant and reach our dreams
I have always considered myself a very stubborn person; some people see this as the virtue that drives me to move forward. Others consider my stubbornness as one of my biggest weaknesses that in fact does not allow me to desist from my goals. For me, I have managed to channel my stubborn energy in perseverance to make my goals come true regardless of the obstacles.
Despite the countless opportunities in which I felt that my life collapsed in front of me, especially when losing loved ones, my invitation for all with this article is to trace dreams and not forget them. Bethe owners of your own lives, maximize your potential and remember to be flexible. As I often heard during childhood, let’s “not let anything or anyone break us apart, on the contrary, to show courage and have your eyes always on the goal and your dreams”.