Using a life plan as a goal setting tool

my life map

Using a life plan as a goal setting tool is an excellent way to create a sense of direction.

Life can be unpredictable and without a focal point to give you direction, it may often feel like you are just floating along.

What is a life plan?

There are two different ways in which you can use a life plan. One way is to use it as a therapy tool. This is when, once your finished, a complete plan of your life in front of you, consisting of all the major people and events that have happened up to now.

The other version, which is the one I will be explaining in fuller detail, is a tool that you can use to clarify the direction you want to go in in life. You would use the same strategy as a mind map, where you have a central idea and expanding from that are more and more details.

Why use a life plan?

Using a life plan as a goal setting tool has so many benefits.

It not only helps you to become more organized, it gives your life direction by keeping you focused.

It helps with your decision-making process by getting to think ‘does this help or hinder my plans?’ which in turn provides perspective on where your life is headed.

Life planning can also aid you in not repeating the same mistakes you’ve made in the past, again, by giving you focus and direction.

You allow yourself the opportunity to create the life you want, a life full of focus and purpose.

You will no longer be just a dreamer but an achiever of dreams.

How do you create a life plan?

Firstly you need to figure out whether you wish to create a map for 1, 5, 10, 20 years.

Step 1: Creating your categories and writing them down.

Make it detailed, but also make it realistic.

So many people focus on love, power, fame and especially money. These things are fleeting.

Have an honest look at what it is you truly need in life.

Begin with categories like, family, friendships, health, career, leisure, finance, personal growth. These are closer to an authentic self and if love, power, fame, and money come from it, then that is an added bonus, and you will not be discouraged if it doesn’t happen.

Step 2: Getting to the details.

Now you have had time to think about what is important and you know in which direction you want to go in, you can now add some details to your categories.

Try and think of at least 5 things you want per categorie, of course it can be more.

For example, under leisure you could write, read 30 books per year, or make walking a daily habit, how about learn to oil paint? The options are endless and yours to make.

Step 3: Creating your plan.

Here we are going to put everything in order of importance and then how much time you are giving yourself. General goal setting tools can help you here.

Using your lists as a guide, you are going to start with the most urgent items. The ones you need to achieve first. What has to happen right now and not in the long term? Such as finding a job, or a new place to live, perhaps you need to study in order to get that dream job?

End your list with the non-urgent and long-term items, such as learning a new hobby, decluttering your entire house, what ever it is that is on your list.

Step 4: Write it down.

Write it all down. Make it visually appealing. Get creative and turn it into a vision board if you like but make it yours.

Display it where you can see it every day to keep you inspired.

Do this in a way that expresses who you aspire to be. If you are old school, like me, grab your magazines, glue stick and cardboard and go for it, or perhaps you prefer to go digital. The choice is yours.

Step 5: The follow through.

Each item you have listed needs a deadline. This could be for the amount of time you a lot yourself to finish something on your list, or to apply to something, like a course or a class.

Schedule it.

Actually, write down, in detail, when you are going to do what.

Then do it. Follow through with your plans. Make them become reality and not just dreams.

It is going to take hard work and there may be times you feel like giving up, but that is what this life plan is for. A reminder of where you want to go in life, a reflection of the person you want to be.

A life plan can help to remember that there does not have to be compromises for your dreams becoming reality.

Last but not least…

Your life plan will always be work in progress, just remember, the method may have to change but the goals do not.

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