How and Why to Write Your Own Personal Mission Statement

Crafting my own personal mission statement has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. My personal mission statement has saved me much time, money, and frustration in my life.

Crafting a personal mission statement has been one of the best things I've ever done. Click To Tweet

I think many of us when we hear the phrase “mission statement” don’t think of ourselves. You think of a large organization or business. Yet, a personal mission statement can help us to better manage our lives and our family. Family mission statements are also helpful.

I wrote my first personal mission statement after reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This was back in the early 1990s. Covey’s book helped me more than any other to keep my focus on what I value. I’ve learned not to get pulled in every direction by life. It’s written with business people in mind but can apply to anyone. The 7 Habits are applicable to pretty much any area of life.

My mission statement put into writing what I wanted to do with my life. I was able to keep a target in front of me to aim at, even if I missed it quite a bit in the beginning.

How Does a Personal Mission Statement Help You?

As you write your personal mission statement, you are writing what you value most. You are writing what is important to you.

Your mission statement helps you decide what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. It lets you judge these opportunities based on what you’ve decided ahead of time.

Use your mission statement to choose what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to Click To Tweet

I do revisit my mission statement every so often. My mission statement is reviewed from year to year, to reflect our changing lives and family.

Your Many Hats: Think of Your Roles

The best way to get started on your mission statement is to first think of all the different hats you wear in your life. What are your different roles?

For example, in my life, I have several different roles:

  • Individual
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Homemaker
  • Homeowner
  • Friend
  • Writer
  • Artist
  • Web & Graphic Designer

You may realize that some of them really don’t fit into your life at the moment, and may need to be put on hold for now. When my children were young, this list was much shorter. It reflected the time priority my young children had in my life.

My children still rank higher than everyone except my husband and God. Yet life has changed a bit and allowed me to add some other roles that had been on the shelf for a while.

In fact, I think when I was younger, I didn’t even put “individual” on my list as a role. This was a mistake. If we don’t refill our tanks, we will have nothing to give others. It’s important to take care of yourself while taking care of young children.

If we don’t refill our tanks, we will have nothing to give others. Click To Tweet

Your Values: What’s Really Important?

In my many roles, I have one basic value that I want to achieve in every area of my life, and that is to glorify God.  That’s my main mission in life, no matter what I’m doing.

Think through what your main mission in life is. You may need to take some time as you think this through. What is the ultimate thing you would want someone to say about you at your funeral? What do you want on your headstone?

Besides having the main mission statement I also have a more specific mission statement in each of my roles. These are based on my main mission statement, and reflection what I want to do.

It’s not a goal though because it’s not a to-do list.

I think of these role-based mission statements to be more like an all-encompassing attitude or value. As I take care of everything that this role requires of me, this reminds me of what the big picture is.

For example, in my role as an individual, I have used this as a governing mission statement:

To have the heart of Jesus towards others, demonstrated in my words, posts, images, how I direct my time and spend money. I will arrange my outside commitments in such a way that I am able to enjoy my family while benefiting them with the fruits of my labors.

Another of my roles, homemaker, has this mission statement:

To have a home that is “real” (not staged) but also a good witness (not filthy).

Under my homeowner role, I reflected my desire to maintain my home a certain way. My vision is to not have larger expenses later through not taking care of little things when they come up. This helps me focus in my 120-year-old home. It helps me prioritize the never-ending list of repairs.

It’s important to think through what is important to YOU.  Craft your own “ultimate goal” or “ultimate value” for the different roles you fill.

How Is This List Supposed to Help?

If you already know what you value, what is important to you, then you may be wondering how writing out some mission statement would be of much help.

Here’s how I find it helpful.

You may find yourself battling things as they come up. There are split-second choices to make for different crises.

In the day to day living of life, we face the temptation to make all kinds of choices without thought of the long term. We think of fixing problems right now, instead of how this lines up with your values over the long term.

don't make choices to fix problems right now, instead decide based on your values. Click To Tweet

For example, let me use my homeowner role. I want to take care of the house in such a way that those small problems don’t turn into big problems. Reminding myself of this will make me more likely to choose to save towards maintenance expenses. I’ll put money aside instead of spending that extra $5 in my pocket on a Latte.

Keep Your Mission Statement in Front of You: The Morning Ritual

I find it helps best by keeping my mission statement in front of my own eyes whenever possible. It does me no good to write something like this out and then stick it in a filing cabinet.

My mission statement is hanging in front of my desk. The mission statement is also hanging in my closet, hanging on a cupboard door in the kitchen, and in my Evernote notebook.

I make it a point to read it every morning to remind myself what I have already decided is important in my life.

I read my mission statement every morning to remind myself before life comes at me Click To Tweet

When decisions come my way, I can make them based on what I’ve already decided is important, and what I value. I make decisions based on my mission in life in each role.

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