Life Crafting Challenge
“Life crafting” is a method that can help you reflect on the goals that you would like to pursue most in your life. This assignment is not about goals that important others have in mind for you, or about goals that you feel you should pursue because this is expected of you, but about what you would truly like to do.1
Schippers and Ziegler (2019) define life crafting as: “a process in which people actively reflect on their present and future life, set goals for important areas of life—social, career, and leisure time—and, if required, make concrete plans and undertake actions to change these areas in a way that is more congruent with their values and wishes.”
Research has shown that writing down your thoughts helps you to organize
them, and it also makes it more likely that you will achieve your goals. This shows that it is very useful to put your goals in writing. Watch this video for more information.
This is a writing exercise, so make sure to have a word document or pen and paper available. You can write on the computer or with pen and paper, both are fine. It is important that you feel relaxed and unhurried. You write for yourself; you don’t have to share your answers with others (unless you want to). You are free to use your own style of writing. However, the following guidelines might be helpful:
- Write freely – don’t be critical of what you write, and don’t worry about spelling or language errors. You can always correct these later.
- Give yourself time and space to be creative.
- For some questions there an indication of time is given. Try to follow these guidelines.
1. What do you like to do?
Think of things (e.g., hobbies, activities, etc) that you like to do, things that give you energy. For example, what did you like to do when you were young? Write these down
2. Positive and less positive characteristics
Everyone has good characteristics and characteristics that they are less satisfied with. Write down some positive and some less positive characteristics of yourself.
3. Your future: what if you don’t change anything?
In order to think about what you want in life it can be helpful to consider what would happen if you don’t make any changes to the life you have now. Think about a future in which you have not used your full potential. Write about this future.
4. Your ideal future; the life you want to live
Think about your ideal future. Imagine that everything will work out exactly how you would like it to. For now, imagine that there are no obstacles. Only reflect on what you would really like, and what gives you energy. Think in more detail about various aspects of your life, such as family, career, and leisure time. Daydream and use your fantasy.
Spend about 5 minutes writing about this ideal future. You don’t have to be realistic, be ambitious. Write without interruption about everything that comes to mind. Don’t pay attention to spelling or language errors.
5. Specify concrete goals
Specify three goals based on your ideal future, and briefly describe them. Your goals are probably related to various domains. Here are a few examples:
- A work-related goal could be: “I want to organize my time better”
- A social goal could be “I want to get to know more people”
- A material goal could be: “I would like to own a big house”
Write these goals down and explain each of them briefly. Why is this goal important for you?
6 Prioritize your goals
You will not be able to achieve all your goals at once. Rank them in order of importance, starting with your most important goal. Write down this ranking.
Describe for goal number 1:
• What is the first step you are going to take towards achieving this goal?
• Be very concrete, when will you start working on this goal, and how much time per week do you plan to spend on it the coming weeks?
• Start small. For example, start with walking for 5 minutes a day if your goal is to exercise more.
7. Identify and overcome obstacles
In life, things do not always come easy, and you will have to make choices. It can be very helpful to anticipate on possible obstacles and setbacks. Research shows that people who make clear plans and also think about what they will do when they face obstacles, have a higher chance of achieving their goals than people who do not do this.
Describe for each goal the possible obstacles you might face, and how you could overcome these. You can use the following format:
If obstacle, then solution
Example: If the gym is closed, then I will exercise outside
You have now taken the first steps towards a new life. A life in which you decide yourself on your own path. Start to work on this. For example, if you have decided to exercise more or to make another change in your lifestyle, then keep this up for at least three weeks. This is the average time that is needed to change an old habit and learn a new one.