Whether you’re extremely pleased with how your life is going or think it’s time to make some changes, everyone can benefit from creating a life plan.
A life plan is an overall picture of what you want your life to be. It combines your personal expectations, professional aspirations, values, and goals into one cohesive plan so that you can live the life you dream of living.
Ready to put your own life plan together?
Here’s how to create one in seven steps.
Step 1: What Do You Envision for Your Life?
The first step in creating a life plan is to ask yourself the following question:
What kind of life do I want?
Think about all of the various aspects of life and decide what it is that will make you happy.
For some people, the dream is to have a flexible job that allows them to travel the world. For some, the main goal is to get married and have kids. For others, it’s about having a certain career or making a certain amount of money.
Whatever your vision is, you’ll need to define it before you can start tackling the next steps on this list.
Step 2: Assess Your Current Situation
Think about how far your life plan is from your current situation. The further away you are from your dream life, the more work you have to do.
Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not working in your life today. From health issues to finances to personal happiness, almost everyone has some aspect of life that needs improving.
When assessing your current situation, take the time to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. The more insightful you are the easier it is to recognize what you need to change in order to achieve your dreams.
Step 3: Create a Priority List
Once you know what you want out of life, prioritize those items in order of importance. Without a priority list, it can be difficult to decide which elements of your life to work on first.
Along with your priority list, make a list of your core values, such as how much value you place on:
- Health and wellness
Your priorities and values should align with one another, and you’ll start to realize whether they do (or don’t) once you move on to the next step of setting goals.
Step 4: Set High-Level Goals
A life plan is nothing more than a life dream if you don’t set goals to make it a reality. High-level goals can include:
- Your dream job
- Where do you want to live
- Skills you want to learn
- Passions you want to pursue
- How do you want to give back to your community
- How you can improve your physical health
- Age do you get retired
Having a list of goals allows you to identify the steps you need to take to reach those goals. Keep in mind that some of your goals may change over time, so it’s okay to revisit your list and adjust your goals as they fluctuate throughout the years.
Step 5: Create a Plan to Achieve Those Goals
The final step is to break down each goal into a list of mini-goals. Each mini goal should be an actionable step and you should set a deadline for each one to help you stay on track in pursuit of your bigger goal.
For example, if you’re in your thirties and your goal is to save enough money to retire by age 60 your actionable goal list might look something like this:
- Start contributing to a 401k plan by September 2022
- Sign up for disability insurance by December 2022
- Make an investment in real estate by May 2023
- Pay down all credit card debt by September 2023
Almost everyone is concerned about their finances, but the good news is that financial goals can be easier to meet than you may think. Learn how to meet your financial goals by reading about how much you can contribute to a 401k this year and this guide from Physicians Thrive to learn what disability insurance is all about.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Creating a life plan isn’t enough. You’ll also need to hold yourself accountable and measure your progress along the way to make sure that you’re adhering to your own plan.
One way to do so is to find an accountability partner with whom you can discuss your progress (or lack thereof).
Let a trusted friend or loved one know that you’re creating a life plan and encourage them to create one for themselves. That way, the two of you can check in on one another to help assess how the other one is doing.
Some people can make a life plan in a matter of hours, while some may need to spend days or weeks thinking about what it is they want out of life.
The bottom line is this:
Some people go through life without a plan and hope for the best. The people who create a life plan and work towards it tend to get where they’re going faster.