During the course of our daily lives, we make plans. We make plans for dinner, for trips to the grocery store, and for cleaning our house. We also make long-term plans for our education, our finances, our businesses, and our vacations. However, despite all the planning that we do very few of us actually make a life plan and this is a critical oversight as a life plan would encompass all those areas as well as our self-development, personal relationships, and happiness.
We all have the capacity for happiness and success in every area of our lives including our personal development, our relationships, and our professional lives, but happiness and success do not just happen. We must actively seek them out and set in motion plans and actions that will make them not only possible but probable.
That is why you need a life plan, but actually creating one takes time and thought — something so many of us have little to spare. However, don’t begrudge the time you could spend on a life plan because, in the end, that time is a very good investment that will help you save time and stress once you have your life plan fully developed. And isn’t anything that can help you achieve happiness and success a worthwhile investment of your time and energy?
Where You Are Now
Before you can begin crafting your life plan you must evaluate your current status. Reflect on the realities of your life including your commitments, finances, and dreams. What about your life makes you happy, and what makes you unhappy?
Where are you now in terms of work, recreation, relationships, finances, and anything else you consider important? For example, I consider it important that my life contributes to the greater good and I have friends who consider the long-term impact of their life as an important measure.
Rate each of these areas with a letter grade with “A” of course being the highest score for the best possible life. Then calculate your overall life grade. Obviously, if you have a 4.0 then your life is on track, but anything less means there are some areas you will need to work on.
It is important to identify the areas of your life that you consider successful or at least on track to success as well as the areas that you would like to improve.
Let Your Dreams Out
A big part of creating your life plan is letting yourself dream of what your ideal life would include in all the key areas you identified above (career, relationships, etc.).
Don’t worry about realities or impossibilities. Just give your heart and mind free rein to picture everything you wish your life could be in terms of relationships and family; profession and career; finances and retirement; and how you’d like to spend your time (travel, hobbies, etc.).
If money and other considerations were not a factor what would you do with your time and your life? What gets you really excited? What have you always wanted? What do you love to do (professionally or personally)?
Step Back Into Reality
Note the abilities, experience, and strengths you already possess that can help you live your ideal life.
Make a list of the accomplishments you are most proud of in your professional and personal life. Can any of these help you achieve your ideal life?
Evaluate your work style and habits. Do you work better alone, in a group, or as a manager? What time of day is your peak performance? How many hours a day or week are you capable of working at a high level of performance?
Now Make Your Plan
Once you have created a vision of your dream life and evaluated your strengths and weaknesses then you are better able to create a plan that will help you achieve your ideal life.
Perhaps your dream is to own your business but currently, you don’t have any experience with management So find a way to gain that experience through your professional work or in a volunteer capacity.
Now that you know where you want your life to go, and you know how far along that path you have progressed then it is simply a matter of working toward your goal to achieve that life of happiness and success you desire.