How to write a Personal Manifesto in five steps

One way to be inspired in life every single day is to write a personal manifesto. Today, I’ll show you how in five simple steps, four different ways you can do it and I’ll share my personal example.

1 Change your Context

Last year, was a disaster for me. I failed to achieve almost all my goals. (I shared about that here).

The context you operate from decides what actions you take. To change your actions, change your context.

I needed to change my context, so I created a personal manifesto. I came up with the Year of Being Creative. Now, I’m excited again and now I’m kicking goals again.

Are you:

  • Going through the motions
  • Fighting a losing battle
  • Depressed about what lies ahead
  • Overwhelmed by the uncertainty of life
  • Not getting anywhere

If you want better or different results in your life then consider the context that you are currently operating from.

First, define how you are currently viewing life. Then, follow the steps below to create an alternative.

2 Pick a Personal Manifesto Type

The Manifesto Ladder - Four Types of ManifestoYou might be thinking, what does a personal manifesto look like?

I’ve collected over 250 manifestos at 1000manifestos.com. And in this previous post, I spoke about the four types of manifestos you can create:

  1. Goal Manifesto
  2. List Manifesto
  3. Rules Manifesto
  4. World Manifesto

Read on and I’ll show you the simplest and best way to create each of these four types. Plus, I’ll share my personal examples.

An Important Point

An important point – they scale up in complexity. Creating a single goal is easier than a list which is easier than a set of rules and easier than a world manifesto.

In other words, if you want a fast and easy personal manifesto then pick a goal to pursue. You can start there and build up to a list, rules or world manifesto later.

In this post, I’ll show you how you can start with a simple goal and grow it into a powerful World Manifesto.

3 Go forwards not backward

The big mistake most people make when they create a personal manifesto is that they do it backwards.

They start with what they want to have. They say I want a house, I want to travel, I want… I want… I want…

They’re saying ‘have-do-be’ when it should be ‘be-do-have’. You want your way of being, your attitude, and your intention to drive your actions so you take the right action to have the things you want.

And the simplest and best way to do this is to start with your values.

Your values are the things that you consider to be important. They are a context or reference point for making decisions in your life.

To create a value-driven goal for your personal manifesto, scan through the list in the image below and pick the ones that appeal to you. (It’s a page from my book, Weekly Done. I give you permission to download this image.)

Weekly Done 33 - What is important to you? Values

For me, for 2023, I chose one value: ‘creativity’ – the year of being creative. That’s a goal-based manifesto right there. Easy, wasn’t it?

If you want a list-based manifesto, then pick a few values from this list. But don’t pick too many – I would limit yourself to five otherwise you’ll stretch your focus too thin.

4 Write a Personal Manifesto in four ways

Now, let me show you an example of each of the four types of manifestos in action – and how to create them. And I’ll share my personal examples to show you how.

Goal Manifesto

A Goal Manifesto is a single goal. For me, I chose one word, one value, one goal for my year, creativity. There’s my personal manifesto in a single word: bring creativity to everything that I do.

And I can create projects from this to have this in my life. For instance, making videos like this one. That’s me being creative.

ACTION: Review the list of values above and pick one. Make that your central focus for your personal manifesto.

The best way to plan your life - plan your year

List Manifesto

A List Manifesto is a set of goals, like a bucket list.

There are two ways to do this. Either pick more values from the list above or dig deeper into the one you chose for your Goal Manifesto.

Once I picked ‘creativity’ as the theme for my year, I expanded this into a list by defining what his means to me. I asked myself:

  • What is creativity?
  • What does creativity mean to me?
  • And what other words would I use to define it?

I came up with: Play, Learn, Explore, Make and Cheeky (when I’m being creative I can be cheeky)

Now I have six ways to express myself instead of just one and this becomes my list manifesto.

Again, you can create projects for each one of these to ensure you take action consistent with these values. Or you could create practices to include each of your values into your life each day.

ACTION: Create a List Manifesto by picking more values or by defining your core value at a deeper level.

Rules Manifesto

A Rules Manifesto is a set of principles or guidelines that you choose to follow in your life.

To create yours, turn your single-word values into short action phrases.

Here are my rules or guidelines from my values:

  • Create new worlds.
  • Play like a child.
  • Learn like a beginner.
  • Make interesting things.
  • Be cheeky every day.
  • Explore alternatives.

Plus, I added one more: Tell wonder-filled stories.

And there you have it – a rule-based manifesto. I can use each one to help make decisions or as a theme or focus for my day. Or I can apply them to a specific task. For instance, if I’m making a video, I could use ‘play like a child’ here.

ACTION: Turn your List Manifesto into a Rules Manifesto by expanding your single-word values into short action phrases.

Geoff's Rules Based Personal Manifesto

World Manifesto

Finally, a World Manifesto is a description of the world you want to live in.

For a personal manifesto, the simplest and best way to describe your world manifesto is to consider your ideal day or week. This works because it puts your values in the present – you’re defining actions you can take today.

For me, the question to ask was, if I was being creative what would my ideal day look like? What actions would I take?

And this is where you can explore examples from the rules you created in the previous example.

Here are some parts of my ideal day:

  • Make something – a video or a piece of content or a piece of art.
  • Have creative conversations with other people.
  • Be cheeky and challenge other people to live better lives.
  • Go for a long walk to let my ideas settle and explore my neighbourhood.

You can write this as a set of bullet points as I have here or write a little story describing your ideal day.

ACTION: Create your World Manifesto by defining your ideal day or week. Use your rules and values as prompts for the actions you’d like to take on a regular basis.

Geoff's World Personal Manifesto

5 Update it

And one last piece of advice. Don’t try to get this right the first time.

Your personal manifesto is not a set-and-forget document. You don’t write it once and then follow it blindly.

Instead, create a quick draft, then take action. You can review it, refine it, and update it later.

Plus, you want to share it with the important people in your lives so they know what you’re aspiring to.

More on How to Write a Personal Manifesto

If you want more on how to write a personal manifesto here are three resources you might enjoy:

What does your personal manifesto say? I’d love to see what you’ve created – add a comment below.

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