How to Make a Life Plan
One of the characteristics of life is that it is constantly changing. When you are feeling adrift, or simply want to figure out what your priorities are, you may want to consider writing a life plan. The beauty of a life plan is that it can give a structure to your life while also changing and growing as you do. Scroll down to Step 1 to create your own life plan.
Determining Your Priorities
Consider what roles you play in the present.Each day we play different roles, or give ourselves different labels through our actions. These roles can include things like ‘daughter’, ‘painter’, ‘student’, ‘girlfriend’, ‘lover of cheese’, etc. Create a list on a piece of paper. Which do you think are the most consistent roles?
- Examples of other roles include (but are certainly not limited to): chef, dog lover, brother, photographer, boss, mentor, traveler, grandchild, thinker, etc.
Think about the roles that you want to play in your future.Some, if not all, of your roles from the present might be the same roles you want to play in your future, such as ‘mother’ or ‘painter’. However, these roles are the nouns that you would want someone to use to describe you at the end of your life. Think about any of the roles you are playing the present that are stressing you out or causing a negative impact on your life--perhaps those are roles you would like to cross from your list in the future.
- To help you form your list, think about things that you hope to do. Do you want to travel to another country because you’ve never left your home state? If so, ‘traveler’ would be added to the future list.
Consider the reasons you play, or want to play, these roles.To create a life plan, you need to decide what your priorities are at this moment in time. To do this, consider the roles that you want to continue playing, or those you want to add to your life in the future. What is the reason you want to play a certain role? Maybe you have ‘father’ written on your future goals because you want to have children with your partner and give them an amazing life.
- A helpful way to figure out the reasons behind your desires is to imagine your own funeral (while this is a morbid thing to do, it really does help!) Who would be in attendance? What you want people to say about you or describe you as? Perhaps the most important things you would want someone to say is that you were an amazing mother and changed the lives of thousands of animals through the organization you volunteered with.
Write down your priorities.Once you have really considered thewhybehind the things you want to be and do in your life, make a list of them. Making a list will help you to stay organized when coming up with your plan.
- For example, you list might include: am ‘sister’ because I always want to be there to support my brother; want to be ‘writer’ so I can write down my grandparents’ story, etc.
- You could also try writing your own eulogy. Think about what you would want people to remember about you and your life if you died tomorrow. This can greatly help you in figuring out your priorities.
Think about your physical, emotional, and financial needs.What will you need to be the person you want to be? If one of the roles you want to play is ‘climber of Everest’, your physical needs might include staying fit and eating well. If one your roles is ‘friend’, your emotional needs might be met by surrounding yourself with loving people. If one of your financial goals is 'business owner,' challenge yourself to brainstorm business ideas and start coming up with business plans.
Part 1 Quiz
Which of these is an important part of determining your priorities?
Creating Your Goals
Consider what goals you want to accomplish during your lifetime.Use your roles, priorities, and needs to help you solidify some things you want to achieve. Think of this list as your ‘bucket list’--what do you want to do before you die? Remember, these are the goals you reallywantto achieve, not the goals you think others want you to have. If you need some extra help narrowing down your ideas, consider putting your goals into categories. Some example categories include:
- Career/Vocation; Social (family and friends); Finances; Health; Travel; Knowledge/Intellect; and Spirituality.
- Example goals (according to the order of categories): Become a renowned architect; get married and have two kids; make enough money to comfortably send my children to college; maintain a weight of 120 pounds; visit every continent; earn my master's degree in Architecture; visit Borobudur Buddhist temple.
Write down some specific goals with specific dates to achieve each goal by.Once you have outlined the vague goals that you want to have in your life, such as earn your Masters, set out some defined goals and the dates that you want to reach them by. Here are some defined goals that are less vague than the ones written in the previous step:
- Lose 10 pounds by June of 2014.
- Be accepted to master's degrees programs in architecture by April 2015.
- Travel to Indonesia to visit the Borobudur temple in 2019.
Figure out how you will accomplish your goals.This means assessing where you are right now. What steps are you going to need to do actually reach your goal from where you stand in the present moment. For instance, to continue with the goal of getting a Master’s in Architecture:
- From now until April 2015, you will need to: A. Research graduate architecture programs. B. Write any necessary documents for the program’s application. C. Fill out the rest of the application and submit it to the proper authorities. D. Wait to hear back from the schools. E. Pick the program that you want to attend the programs that accepted you. F. Enroll!
- Think about any potential people and resources that you can use to help you achieve your goals. If you know someone you know works in an industry you want to get into, for example, reach out to them and ask them to mentor you.
Part 2 Quiz
True or False: Your goals should reflect both what you want in life and what others want for you.
Writing Your Plan
Write down the steps you will need to take to reach each of your goals.You can do this in any format you like--handwrite it, type it in a Word document, print it on a large sheet, etc. Whatever format you choose to use, write the steps you will need to take to achieve each of your goals in chronological order. Congratulations--you have just written out your life plan.
- This is a good time to review the details of each step--like the names of the specific graduate programs you are going to apply to. Or, if one of your goals is simply to be happy, write out the details of what will make you most happy along the way.
Review your life plan.One fact of life is that it always changes--and so do we. The goals and priorities that you had when you were 15 are probably not the same as the goals you will have when you are 25 or 45. It is important to review your life plan every so often to make sure that you are following a plan that will truly give you a happy and satisfactory life.
- When you review your life plan, also assess the successes that you have achieve so far. It is good to keep track of your accomplishments.
Adjust your life plan.When you do find that your priorities and the goals associated with those priorities have changed, it's time to rewrite at least part of your life plan. Consider what is different, what is more important to you now, and how you will achieve this new goal. Rewrite your life plan as much as you need to.
- Don’t limit yourself to a certain number of goals--your life plan is a fluid thing. Add goals as they become priorities in your life and remove those that aren’t as important anymore.
- Failure at some points in your plan is inevitable. That doesn't mean it has to derail everything. Consider options and actions for when failure occurs. How you deal with setbacks can be the difference in whether or not you achieve your goals.
Part 3 Quiz
Once you have written down your life plan, why is it a good idea to revisit it from time to time?
QuestionHow can I break down my life plan into phases, tasks and deadlines. This would be like a book at the end, wouldn't it?
Licensed Professional CounselorLicensed Professional CounselorExpert AnswerYou first start by knowing your end-goal and then breaking it down into smaller steps that will help you get there. For example, if you want to reach the peak of a mountain, you would chart out the course that would best get you to the top while remaining flexible enough to adjust direction.Thanks!
QuestionI want to be a successful doctor and a writer just like Ben Carson, but I don't even know how to start writing books. What can I do?
Licensed Professional CounselorLicensed Professional CounselorExpert AnswerSeek out local resources. For example: Look at a local community college and take a writing course. Read about famous writers biographies to get an idea of the trials and tribulations that you may expect along the way. Seek out mentors as well.Thanks!
QuestionI'm careless and not serious. No one believes in me. What can I do to prove them wrong?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt wont be too difficult because you are already aware of you can improve on. However, I have learned that no matter who you want to prove wrong and why, if you are not ready for change , it is not going to happen. When you are ready and truly are sincere about it and want it for you, then it will happen.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I achieve my goals while staying the person I am?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should set goals that you truly believe in and that are compatible with who you are. Of course your life will change over time, as it always does and should to some degree. And you, too, should always be growing, learning, and improving. But that doesn't mean you're not still essentially the same person. If there are certain aspects of who you are that are really important to you and you don't want to lose, all it takes is resolving to hold on to them and being mindful about using/attending to those parts of yourself throughout your life.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I make a life plan and actually achieve my goals?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBreak your life plan down into time frames containing realistic, manageable tasks and deadlines.Thanks!
QuestionMy biggest problem now is that, I am not content with what I earn. Because of that I cannot save anything for the future. What can I do?Community AnswerYou need to think to yourself, this is what I have. Unless I start saving, that won't really change. Then, try to think of a plan that saves you money, or a plan to earn more money.Thanks!
QuestionI want to be an entrepreneur. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst of all set your aim and then start working towards it. To be an entrepreneur you have to stand on your own legs, try to get the estimated capital, you can also take someones help as a guide. Starting out, you may face problems but stay motivated.Thanks!
QuestionWhere can I find inexpensive experts to help me envision a job that is satisfying and pays more?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou yourself can be an expert at this, the power of right thinking. By transforming your mind you should examine yourself and become aware of your thoughts and get moving chasing your dream.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I live a holy life?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRead about holy people and try to learn lessons from their lives.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I make a life plan if I struggle with money and have a child?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink of ways to earn extra money and spend less money, like cutting down on groceries, spending less on entertainment and shopping at second-hand stores.Thanks!
To make a life plan, start by writing down some specific goals and when you want to achieve them by, like "I want to get accepted to a master's degree program by April 2015." Then, write down the steps you need to take to achieve each goal. For example, your steps might be like "Research graduate programs; fill out and submit an application; wait to hear back; enroll in a program." Once you know what steps you need to take, revisit your life plan and check things off your to-do list as you work toward your goals.
- Continually revisit and adjust your plan. Your life will constantly change--your plan should too.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you miss a date that you planned to accomplish a goal by--make adjustments to your plan and continue forward.
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