How to Use Roles and Goals for ‘Lifestyle Design’


I wrote a blog recently about drifting toward bad and planning toward good—in other words, a life that you desire, a fulfilling life of purpose and meaning, doesn’t come about by accident. It doesn’t fall into your lap.

You’re saying, “That’s all well and good, Brian, but your son Oliver is walking superhero proof that you can’t plan your life out.”

I agree. He is, and you can’t. It’s a balance.

I can’t plan my life out the way I might schedule a day or a week.

Age 23 – Get a record deal.

Age 25 – Get married and have a kid

Age 26 – Change careers

Age 28 – Begin real estate career

Age 30 – Begin coaching, blogging, etc.

That’s not exactly how that goes. In fact, the number of items on this list that I had planned out or knew were coming is a solid ZERO. However, there are themes throughout. Guiding principles, if you will.

Principles like striving toward excellence, constantly learning and striving to understand more, constantly wanting to grow into who I am meant to be. Not to mention the desire to work for myself and have freedom with my time, and to build long-term wealth for my family. And finally, the desire to make an impact on those around me.

The term “lifestyle design” isn’t my favorite. It’s overused, and typically refers the desire to line a garage with Ferrari’s. That’s not my gig. Not my motivation. Often times it seems like it’s just greed with makeup on.

When I consider the idea of lifestyle design, there is certainly a monetary element—the home I’d like, the sailboat or car and so on—but that makes up about 10% of the goal. In fact, that’s more of a natural a side effect of far more important things.

Lifestyle design is all-encompassing: who do I want to be as a father? A husband? A friend? A spiritual being? A physical being? An entrepreneur? A creative person? I don’t want to neglect any of those areas, and I want to grow in those areas with my character firmly in tact. In fact, I want them to grow in tandem, synergistically. I want each of those areas to contribute to the growth of the others.

Here’s a great tool or exercise that I’ve used to help lay some goals out. I use those goals as the tools to allow me to “plan toward good.

Do I know everything that will happen to me? Certainly not. But I do know the type of person I want to be and the direction I’d like to be headed.

I use the Roles and Goals exercise as a great baseline, and I’ve tried to take it one step farther than what I’ve seen in the past.

(I’ve linked a Roles and Goals spreadsheet for you at the bottom of this post.)

So let’s jump into the exercise. Here’s the gist:

What Are Your Roles?

There’s no exact, right way to do this. You goals can be very broad or very specific. My roles might be: father, husband, friend, brother, real estate agent, coach, spiritual person, athlete. Or yours might be: Writer, girlfriend, employee, family member, learner.

Whatever roles you see yourself filling.

What Does Long-Term Success Look Like?

This is where we begin to work backward. What does success as a writer look like for you? Is it a New York Times best-selling book? Is it publication in a poetry magazine or a trade journal? Define what success will eventually look like in this role: this gives you a destination.

What Goals Will Create Those Results?

Now let’s back it up a step. So you want to be a New York Times bestseller? What goals, if you achieve them, will create that result? Obviously, finishing your book would be one. Perhaps building a social media platform or following who will help you kickstart the sales of the book? Perhaps it means finding a mentor, or networking with people in the publishing industry? Write down what goals would create the above view of success.

What Habits Will Accomplish Those Goals?

Lastly, break those goals down into daily habits. What activities, executed consistently, day in and day out, will result in the accomplishment of those goals? It could be something like, “Write 1000 words per day until book is complete.” Or, “Call 3 people per week with relationships in publishing,” or “Have coffee once per week with a published author or publisher.” (I highly recommend you use this method to get that networking snowball rolling. If you’re sincere, you’d be surprised at the number of people who like to be helpful.)

By taking yourself through the Roles and Goals exercise, you’ve gained clarity in a number of ways. You know who you are, what your roles are. You know who you’d like to be in each of those roles—you’ve gained a strong sense of direction. And you even know what you need to do on a daily basis in order to accomplish those goals, and to become that person. You’ve turned a massive life goal—lifestyle design—into daily, bite-sized tasks.

Download the Roles and Goals workbook below. I promise you’ll be enriched and invigorated by the exercise.

And please share this with friends and family members who you think will get something out of it as well! CLICK THESE WORDS TO SHARE!

Click here to download the Roles and Goals Excel spreadsheet.

Click here to download the Roles and Goals PDF.


1 Comment

  1. Greg Michaels says:

    Really good stuff. I think the “bite size” approach to examining these things makes it very doable even if you’re really busy. Thx!

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