One of the most powerful freewriting exercises I know of is also the most straightforward.
The exercise is for finding your life goals and developing a plan for achieving them.
Why use freewriting?
Freewriting is a way of writing that gets around the common blocks and mental barriers. Because you are writing without stopping, you naturally invite more wildness and authenticity to the activity.
It’s necessary to invite all parts of you to the exercise because these are your life goals we’re talking about. It’s important that they are actually true to you. If you pursue goals, they should be goals that speak to you uniquely.
We think we know what we want, yet there are also many unconscious self-limiting beliefs. We have “goals” that really are just things we think we are supposed to pursue. Maybe these are achievements our friends or parents might want, but unless they truly and deeply speak to who we are, it would be a waste of time and energy to achieve them.
Part one of this exercise connects you with your life goals.
Part two is about organizing your goals into groups and categories.
Part three gets you to develop a timeline so that your goals are scheduled and achievable.
No matter where you are right now, you can chart a course towards where you want to go.
Freewriting exercise for finding your life goals
Instead of doing the exercise to try for a single life purpose or main life goal, let some different categories emerge. Look for areas of purpose in different facets of life. For example:
- At work, I want to X
- Places I want to travel . . .
- Friendships and relationships I want . . .
- What do I want to accomplish before I die?
- Who do I want to become before the end of this life?
- What do I most want to cultivate within myself?
- What do I want to explore and experience in the world?
- What are some items for my bucket list?
Look at things from an end-of-life perspective. No games, no flowery items on your list that are there merely to sound good.
From the standpoint of where you want to be at your life’s end, look backwards in time towards where you are now.
Let the exercise be one where you continually get real with yourself. What do you actually want?
Pay special attention to how each thing feels as you write it down. Does it feel vitalizing? Mysterious? Surprising? Inspiring? Or merely correct? Polite? Politically correct?
Spend as long as you want on this exercise. You can do it for twenty minutes but much better is to spend at least an hour on it. I have done this where I have spent an entire day dedicated to nothing besides this exercise, and it has proven life-changing.
Step Two – Organize
Once you have abunch of stuff, now you should organize it so that it makes sense.
Connect the dots. From the morass of stars, form constellations.
Maybe you repeated yourself. What is really the essence of what you wanted to say?
Can you group together similar goals or activities into categories? For example: career goals, spiritual goals, financial goals, creative goals, relationship goals, well-being goals.
Step Three – Plot a timeline
This sounds simple, so simple that you might be feeling that it isn’t even necessary to actually do.
But it is absolutely key. When you do this step, you actually show yourself exactly what it takes to get where you want to go.
If your goal is to write a bestselling book, now is the time for you to position that goal on your calendar.
Of what you have written, which are lifetime goals? Which are ten year goals? Which are five, two and one year goals?
As you decide, actually put them on your calendar.
Once the goals are on your calendar, you can begin to set monthly milestones.
Once you have monthly milestones, you can develop weekly action lists.
This way, there is little to no ambiguity. As long as you complete the actions on your list, you can be reasonably sure that you can meet your milestones and therefore your larger goals.
Living this way puts you in the driver’s seat. You aren’t leaving your fate up to someone else. You are grabbing the controls and taking over. It’s your life, after all. What do you most want to experience?