Life can be hard. Many of us find ourselves drifting aimlessly through it from day to day, week to week, year to year. In a time where depression and anxiety are common parts of our existence, having a life plan can help us maintain a sense of purpose.
We’ve all learned about the importance of setting goals. And while goals are a very important part of a life plan, there’s more to it than just that. Setting goals just for the sake of setting goals is an easy way to find yourself missing the mark at every milestone of your existence.
In this post I’m going to go over the basic ideas of creating a life plan. I can’t lay out a plan for you simply because every person has a wildly different set of goals and passions. But hopefully, this will be a roadmap to creating your own roadmap for your life plan.
Determine What The Most Important Things Are To You
Before you build out those ever important goals, it’s important to really dig deep and find out what drives you forward. What are the things you enjoy? What triggers you? Is there something you’re incredibly passionate about?
These values could be anything. Perhaps you’re passionate about the environment. Maybe you really enjoy being near the beach.
Once you figure out what you really value in this life, then you can start building goals to help enforce those values. Your life plan should include goals and activities that support your values. If you choose goals and activities that don’t support your values, you’re almost guaranteed not to stick with them.
By focusing on the things that are important to you, you’ll have a much better chance at living a fulfilling life.
Commit These to Paper
It’s important to write down the things that are important to you. This will be the beginning of your roadmap for your life plan.
Many studies have been done that show writing down your goals & aspirations makes it more likely that you’ll achieve them.
Goals: The Heart of your Life Plan
Goals are the foundation of any good life plan. And we’ll spend much of the remaining pieces in this article on goals because they’re simply that important.
Sure we learn about goals in school, but when I look back now as an adult, I believe we could have been taught better in regards to the importance of setting goals.
In school, most of us are taught about long-term goals and short-term goals. But that’s pretty much where it ends. And while we can still think of goals in these terms, they are much more complicated than that.
What’s Your Plan to Achieve Those Goals?
This is the key many people miss when it comes to goal setting. In school I was taught to set a goal and ‘work towards’ it. That doesn’t really jive though – you need to build a plan, a roadmap, to achieve each goal you set.
Each of these plans then become a small piece of your life plan.
The plan for each goal should include milestones with clear things that must be completed in order to have the goal considered ‘complete’. Let’s say you have a goal to have $10,000 in a savings account for emergencies and you want to have that goal completed in 4 years. But you can’t just leave it at that. You need a roadmap – perhaps something as simple as saving $210 every month is your map. Having smaller marks let’s you know if you’re on track or whether you need to make adjustments. Missed the $210 mark this month? Perhaps you need to shift the end date for this goal, or perhaps the goal itself was too lofty and maybe you just need to get to $8,000 instead.
Set Achievable Milestones
Set goals as lofty as you wish, but be honest with yourself. The small milestones you set for completing these goals should be achievable. That’s not to say you can’t set challenging milestones, but they shouldn’t be impossible.
You will miss milestones in your life. You may even outright fail at certain goals.
By setting milestones that are achievable, you will undoubtedly succeed at some of them, and that’s a key to maintaining devotion and focus on your life plan. If you set milestones and goals that are way out of what you can accomplish, you will fail so often that eventually you’ll give up on your life plan.
Frequently Reassess Your Direction
Life is full of changes. If you make a life plan when you’re 22, there’s a good chance that by the time you’re 30, what you want in life could be significantly different.
Your life plan and the goals that get you there should be revisited at lease once a year. Ensure you’re still chasing what’s important to you.
Changing direction doesn’t mean you failed.
Perhaps when you were 25, you wanted to be a professional musician. But when you started down that path, you had little idea of what being a professional musician really entails. Perhaps you no longer have that drive or have a new passion.
Changing direction in your life plan is completely and totally normal. It should be embraced as a new opportunity to learn and grow.
Creating a Life Plan: Final Thoughts
Creating a life plan can be one of the most beneficial things you do. It will help keep you focused and appreciative of your achievements.
Whether your life plan involves health, wealth, or the arts, having a path to get there is a major key to success.