How to Make a Life Plan in 6 Steps

If you created SMART goals, they will be measurable. Take time throughout your journey to stop and see how you’re doing. Keep in mind that plateaus and setbacks are inevitable. As long as you are making progress, consider your plan a success.

How to plan your life

Life is uncertain. There will always be unexpected bumps along the way that you couldn’t have possibly anticipated. How do you develop confidence navigating uncharted territory? This is the beauty of creating a life plan: it accommodates life’s unknowns so you’re not unprepared. With a solid strategy for how to make a life plan in place, you’re able to embrace the challenges that can elevate your life if you have the right mindset and preparation. Learning how to create a life plan is much like creating a business map to guide your company’s decisions. Creating a life plan allows you to pursue meaningful goals that align with your ultimate purpose in life .

Life planning 101

Learning how to make a life plan starts with understanding what life planning is. A pivotal concept is the fact that life planning does not mean creating a rigid to-do list for yourself. Creating a life plan is more akin to creating a massive action plan . You’re acknowledging up front that hurdles will inevitably arise. You’re also allowing room for growth and change, internally (within yourself) and externally (in your life circumstances). Creating a life plan provides a flexible road map for getting from where you are now to where you want to be. You’re creating a strategy to reach your goals and embrace change. Life planning helps you transition from dreaming about what you want in life to making it a reality.

How to make a life plan

Setting goals is a critical component of life planning. But learning how to create a life plan takes you beyond goal-setting. It adds an emotional element to those goals so everything you do is infused with meaning. With life planning, you get to the core of who you are, what you want and how to accomplish it. You’re not just completing a task – you’re behaving in alignment with your passions. Here are the steps for fleshing out your life planning strategy:

Step 1: Ask yourself the right questions

Ask yourself: What final outcomes do I want, and how can I achieve continuous improvement along the way? If your final goal is to build a $10 million business , your goals for continuous improvement might be fine-tuning a sales strategy and building powerful relationships.

Life planning means setting SMART goals that are feasible, measurable and aligned with the broader outcomes you’re seeking. Making a list of practical, actionable steps takes life planning from the abstract to the tangible.

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Step 2: Choose your life priorities

When creating a life plan, it can be tempting to try to improve every facet of your life. This is overwhelming and not feasible. To be more effective, concentrate on just two to three priorities. You can always add in more later after you’ve experienced success in these areas. Here are some areas you can concentrate on:

Community involvement

As Tony often says, the secret to living is giving . When learning how to plan your life, incorporating ways to get involved in the community is a good way to increase your overall well-being. Donating money or resources, joining organizations or volunteering are all good ways to give back.

If you’re not happy with the way you look or feel day-to-day, creating a life plan that doesn’t include a health and fitness component will never lead to true happiness. If you’re overweight, have no energy or just need to improve your overall health and fitness, this is one area to concentrate on. Consider adopting a sustainable health diet , join fitness classes or work with a health coach to design a plan that works for you.

Step 3: Create life planning maps for growth, change and crisis

Now that you understand what’s driving your life planning goals, you’re ready to expand your strategy so it adapts to any circumstance you might encounter. Create a life planning map for each of the following:

life planning

Personal growth is one of the greatest accomplishments possible. So incorporate it into your life planning strategy! Rather than aiming for general, unspecified growth, write down specific areas of personal growth, like better time management, greater empathy or effective communication.

Change is inevitable. If you’re adaptable, you’re able to roll with the punches. As you learn how to make a life plan, consider how to make your plan malleable so it accomplishes what you want, regardless of changing circumstances.

In times of crisis, life planning is a powerful comfort. Learning how to plan your life empowers you to work through hard times without losing sight of your original goals. Having a plan A, B, C and D ensures that you’re never left without a strategy for survival and, ultimately, success.

Step 4: Create an accountability plan

Once you’ve learned how to make a life plan and put some strategies in place, you need to find out what’s working and what’s not. This involves evaluating your successes and adjusting your plan along the way to increase its effectiveness.

How to make a life plan

Creating a life plan is one of the best things you can do to identify the things you most want in your life and develop the strategy to make them happen. Here are the steps to help you create a life plan:

1. Create a vision

Allow yourself to dream big. Imagine what an average day in your ideal life looks like. Imagine where you work, what kind of work you do and the income you earn. Imagine your relationships with friends and family. Maybe your ideal life means gaining new skills to find a more fulfilling job. Maybe it is honing your skills to increase your marketability and find a higher paying job. Maybe it’s working from home to spend more time with your family.

Imagine the kind of person you want to be and how you want others to perceive you. For example, you may want your colleagues to know that you are reliable in delivering your work. You may want your manager to respect you as someone punctual in meeting deadlines and accountable for your quality of work.

Think about the things you want to improve in your life. This can include different areas in life, such as finances, career or health. It may entail some weaknesses you want to overcome. Consider how you will measure your improvement and define success. Clearly define what success means to you.

2. Perform a self-assessment

To perform a thorough life assessment, you need to be honest with yourself and what you want. A life assessment includes considering factors like the roles you have in life, your satisfaction with different areas of your life and your various strengths and weaknesses. Reviewing your life from different perspectives allows you to develop a holistic evaluation. Practice self-reflection to clarify your roles and satisfaction in different areas of life. If you struggle with assessing your strengths and weaknesses, ask several people close to you who will give you an objective opinion.

Everyone fills different roles in life. Brainstorm a list of the different roles you play. Examples of roles include student, coworker, employee, manager, entrepreneur, volunteer, spouse, parent and sibling. In the next step, you’ll prioritize these roles and identify the values you want to bring to each one.

Consider different areas of your life such as career, finances, personal development, community, health, relationships and faith. Look at each area of your life and rank your satisfaction in that area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘needs a lot of work’ and 10 being ‘best’.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. These can be either technical skills or soft skills. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to decide where to focus your energy—which weaknesses to improve or which strengths to highlight.

3. Prioritize your life

Review your list of roles and reorder them according to what is most important in your life. For example, your role as a parent or a manager may be more important to you than your role as an employee or student.

Also, prioritize the areas of your life to identify what is most important to you. For example, your health and family may be more important than your work or hobbies. When prioritizing areas of life, it’s also important to consider how different areas are related. For example, you may prioritize family over finances, but some financial goals are necessary to care for your family. Establishing that one is more important to you does not decrease the value of another; it simply indicates the areas you want to focus more attention on.

Prioritizing your roles and the areas you want to focus on will help you identify your values and non-negotiables when it comes to your career. For example, if your family is among your top priorities, you may prefer a career with a good work/life balance that requires little or no travel for an organization that is close to home and respects employees’ non-working hours.

4. Identify your values

Comparing how your life is now and what you want your life to be will help you identify your values. Allowing yourself to feel and analyze the difference clarifies your core values. The person you imagine yourself to be—with the life you imagine—lives by these values. They represent who you are as a person even if you’re still working to realize them.

When you identify your values and what is important in your life, they become a measuring tool for every decision. Decisions become much easier because you can clearly see what does and does not align with your values. For example, you might value work that is gratifying and serves your purpose more than you value the size of your paycheck. Understanding this helps you narrow your job search to opportunities that are more gratifying instead of any position with a higher salary.

5. Establish goals

Now that you have an idea about the life you want and what is important in your life, establish high-level goals for the person you want to be. These goals are the things you want to accomplish over several months or years. They may include things like achieving an executive-level management position or earning a specific annual salary within a certain timeframe. They may also include obtaining a job with income and the freedom to vacation with your family twice a year.



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