Find Happiness: Get Your Life on One Page™—Part 1
by William S. Frank, President/CEO of CareerLab®
Taking Notes on Paper

This is a breakthrough concept. In a busy world where we're juggling multiple priorities and expected to do it all, your "Life on One Page" (L1P™) serves as a guide. It's about achieving focus, clarity, purpose and meaning, and about building community for yourself—that is, feeling more OK with your place in the world. The premise is that if you can get your life on one page, you can manage it.

There are numerous goal setting programs on the market. This is different, because it isn't just goal setting—it's about finding life's meaning and purpose. In addition, it's self-created and one-of-a-kind. It isn't part of a system. You provide the structure, you determine what's important. You are the center of this exercise—it's all about you.

The problem
We live in a complex world. Everyone you talk to is "too busy." We seem to be riding our horses in all directions. Never-ending media input creates confusion about what we should be, do, or have. "What's my focus? Where should I spend my time? What's valuable?" These are the kinds of questions we can no longer answer.

Ten Basic Rules
Although the basic concept is "no rules," there are some guidelines that will help you develop a useful tool for yourself.

  1. Simplify. It may seem obvious, but you must limit the document to one 8-1/2x11" page, no exceptions. When in doubt, leave it out.

    "Our life is frittered away by detail . . .
    Simplify, simplify, simplify!"
    —Henry David Thoreau, On Walden Pond

  2. Yet include everything you would enjoy being, doing, having. Include such things as goals and objectives, observations, dreams, hints, placeholders.

  3. Embellish. Play. Be as creative as you want. Use different colors. Add artwork. Make drawings-or turn the entire page into a drawing, mind-map, or collage. You are the artist.

  4. Set reachable goals. Well-written goals have at least five (5) characteristics. Besides being written in a language a 12-year-old would understand, they should be:
    • Desirable. You have to want to pursue them.

    • Believable. You honestly think you can.

    • Achievable. Don't attempt to pole vault 16'6" on your first ever attempt. We defeat ourselves by setting goals that are too high. Missing a goal reinforces our bad feelings about ourselves and makes further pursuits difficult. It's better to set a series of small achievable goals than one large blockbuster.

    • Measurable. Instead of writing "Lose weight," try "Lose 2-1/2 pounds." Instead of writing "Have enough to retire by 55," try "Net worth of $800,000 by age 55."

    • Time-centered. "Lose 2-1/2 pounds" isn't a goal, but "Lose 2-1/2 pounds by July 31" is.

  5. Seek balance. If your L1P™ is 95% work, you could be missing something. Your life may be one-dimensional, which is fine, as long as it's a conscious choice. Ask yourself, "How is my career affecting my wife/husband/partner/family/children?" Better yet, ask them how they perceive it. Parents with young families will find balance harder, but not impossible. Remember Aristotle's "golden mean" —moderation in all things. Next ->

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"No wind favors s/he who has no destined port." —Montaigne

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