Most people start with the goal first and work backwards. They start by choosing the thing they want to do first.

I want to be a fireman. I want to be a software engineer. I want to be a songwriter. I want to be a writer.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing these, with choosing anything. Choosing is good. But it’s likely if you’ve chosen something, it’s changed over the years.

If you wanted to be a fireman as a kid, is it still the same now?

What can happen if you choose the end goal first is your life all of a sudden bends towards the goal. You’ll make compromises for things you really want to do because they don’t match up with your goal. Even if your mindset changes, your way of thinking changes, and it will, if the goal is still there, you’ll keep working towards it.

Another approach is to choose the life first then bend the goals towards the life.

How can you choose the life first?

Ask yourself.

How do I want to spend my time?

How do you want to bring up your children to think? The same as you? Different to you? Are your thoughts yours or your parents or someone else’s?

What would you like to make? Money? Art? Poetry? All of the above?

Would you like to have a boss? Or would you prefer working for yourself?

These kind of questions are worth answering first. Once you know the answers, then you can start to think of what goals align with the life you want to live and not the other way round.