Creating focus with a personal manifesto

Creating focus with a personal manifesto: don't just plan the things you need to do. Plan the way you want to live.

We live in a busy world. It's easy to get so bogged down in planning all the things we need to do that we forget to plan how we want to live. We might sprinkle inspirational quotes throughout our planners for the occasional reminder, and that's great. But how many of us sit down and spend serious time thinking about it? How many of us have an actual plan of action for how to be the kind of person we each want to be? That's where a personal manifesto can help.

One of my aims for this year is to live more intentionally. I want to take actions that I've actively chosen, not just roads I'm running on autopilot. I wrote a little about this with my One Word for 2016 goals, but I realized this week that a slightly more detailed gameplan would help me to live my goals more fully. It was pure serendipity that I stumbled across Creative Mercantile's guide for writing your creative manifesto.

What is a manifesto?

According to Merriam-Webster, the technical definition of a manifesto is "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer." Essentially, it's an expression of your core values and incentives. What moves you? What are you driven to do or share? It can be as brief or as lengthy as you want it to be. Just make sure it's all about you - not about the person you think you're supposed to be, but about the person you honestly want to be.

With that in mind, I cleared my desk, grabbed a sparkly pen & my favorite pad of Post-Its, and set to work following the instructions in the guide (which you should totally go download. It's really cute.) It took me a couple of hours, but this was the list I came up with.

My personal manifesto

  • Create fearlessly
  • Cherish beauty
  • Seek justice
  • Inspire delight
  • Provide quality
  • Embrace challenge
  • Breathe!
  • Believe in your worth
  • Pursue the genuine

These objectives do a good job of encapsulating my most important drives, both as an artist and as a human being. They'll serve as a constant reminder of specific actions I can take to fulfill my larger goals for the year and for my life. I'll definitely be printing this out to make a dashboard for my planner; I might even frame it and hang it over my desk, too! (I know that might sound like overkill, but honestly, how many times in a day do we look at our dashboards? It might be a lot, but it's not nearly as much time as I spend staring at the wall above my workspace.)

Have you written a personal manifesto? What does it include? I'd love to hear about what's important to you.