“The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.” – Stephen R. Covey

Wow. What a powerful quote. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is one of my most treasured self improvement books. I have read it a few times now and regularly pick it up from my bookshelf to consult particular sections.

I mention this because upon re-reading it a year ago I sat down and took the time to write out a personal mission statement. Now, I must admit, I often skip the exercises in self improvement books but on this particular occasion I followed the advice of Dr. Covey. This decision has made a world of difference. Let me explain why.

What Is a Personal Mission Statement?

A personal mission statement is an individual statement that outlines what you want to be (character), what you want to do (contributions and achievement), and the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.

2 Ways A Personal Mission Statement Can Help You Change

1. Self Knowledge

A personal mission statement requires introspection, self-analysis, and written expression. Rather than being something that is produced in 5 minutes, a personal mission can takes weeks, even months, to complete. The process of writing the statement is so important as writing will help clarify your inner-most thoughts and feelings. You will come to a greater understanding of who you are, what you are about and what you value.

2. Decision Making

A mission statement becomes a personal constitution that can be turned to when making either major life-changing decisions or small daily decisions. It will not necessarily make such decisions easier, but it will add focus and direction. Think of it as a roadmap that you can refer to for guidance as you journey through life.

My Personal Mission Statement

Just as each person is unique, so will be their personal mission statement. That said, I believe we can find inspiration in the statements of others. The following is my personal mission statement which I wrote a year ago and have stuck on the inside cover of my diary.

  • I will be loving and proactive in building and maintaining my relationships with family and friends, so that I may be considered a successful husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend.
  • I will always act with integrity and never compromise with honesty, so that it may be said that I am a person who stands for what is just and right.
  • I will approach life with a curious nature, so that I am someone who continually strives to better understand both my inner and outer worlds.
  • I will look after my health by regularly exercising, eating well, and limiting the intake of anything that may be harmful to my body.
  • I will treat money as my servant, not as my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and means. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save and invest part of my income.
  • I will try to help others live a better life by writing articles for my blog that are both inspiring and motivating.
  • When times are tough, I will remember there are still countless reasons I have to be thankful. As such, I will give something back to the community, via donation and volunteering, so that those less fortunate receive a helping hand.

Even just now, after having rewritten my personal mission statement above, I feel a sense of clarity and direction about my life.

Writing a Personal Mission Statement

If you want to begin writing a mission statement, I suggest opening up a new Word document or taking a blank sheet of paper and answering the three following questions:

  • Who do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I value?

Just write what immediately comes to mind. As mentioned earlier, your statement may take some time and a few rewrites before you are comfortable with it.

Photo by trent roche

Peter Clemens

Peter Clemens is founder of The Change Blog and author of The Possibility of Change books series. Click here to learn more about Peter and his books.