Updated: Jul 13, 2021
We plan things all the time and don’t even realise it – day to day things like the clothes you’re going to wear and what you’re going to have for lunch all require some level of planning. More detailed plans you might make include; what you’re going to do over the weekend or planning that well deserved holiday you’re going to take (for instance; flights, accommodation, sights you’re going to see etc.) We need to plan ahead in life if we want to achieve certain things, it’s that simple.
Why is it then that most people don’t have a plan for their lives? If we can achieve anything we put our minds to, then why don't we put our mind to drafting a plan that will map out our road to happiness and success? After reading these words, you'll have the basic tools to draft your 'Life Plan' and a plan for your short and long term goals that will not only put things into perspective but will give you a road-map of the steps you need to take to achieve your gaols.
You will need five pieces of paper, a pen and your willingness to get out of life what you deserve. With the help of The Open Mind Institute, we’re going to start by taking a broad perspective of your life before narrowing in to today, so buckle up and let’s get started!
1. Your Life Plan
Your life plan is all about figuring out the major things you want to achieve in life and putting them to paper. For a good balanced life you may want to consider breaking up your life plan into the following segments:-
Personal Development Goals - these include things that will develop you as a person in order to bring about the best version of you possible. Examples might include; master meditation or learn a new language.
Career & Economic Goals - these are the goals you want to accomplish in relation to your ultimate job and can include business or economic goals. For instance, to become a respected musician or to own an investment property by the time I'm twenty-five.
Contribution Goals - these are the goals that will ultimately bring you the most fulfilment in life, as they positively contribute to the lives of others & the world after your gone. Examples might include; to volunteer for a non-profit organisation in a 3rd world country or to start an environmental charity.
Your life plan will inevitably change over the years. It is a good idea to review it at the beginning of each year and keep it in a place that you see daily, like on your fridge or on your bedroom wall. This is really important as seeing it every day keeps it fresh in your memory.
2. Your 5-10 Year Plan
You’ve probably been asked the question: where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now? It’s a difficult and annoying question to answer sometimes because we’re not fortune tellers, but it does force us to think about the future and this is important when planning anything. Do you remember where you were five years ago? Doesn’t seem that long ago does it. The next five years are going to be here before you know it and if you’re going to achieve your vision of where you will be 5 years from now, you need to put the planning and groundwork in today.
So, on a new piece of paper write down where you would like to be in 5 years time. Specify things like: where you will be living, who you will be living with, where will you be working and what things you will have to show for it. Will you be working for an employer or have your own business? How will you look physically and feel spiritually? Most importantly, go back to your life plan document and consider which important goals or milestones you would like to have achieved in 5 years time.
3. Your 1 Year Plan
There’s a little personal ritual I perform on the 1st of January each year. I sit alone somewhere quiet and draft out all the goals I want to achieve for the year ahead, after I have reviewed how I went in the previous year. It’s an opportunity I seize to reflect on the year that was and how much I accomplished. Learning from this, I then go about drafting my new goals. There’s usually between 5-10 things on my goal list and I make sure they’re spread out to include personal, career, relationship and contribution life goals.
So, have a think about where you see yourself in a year from now? Will you be in the same position as you are today? If you’re answer is yes then you need to re-evaluate your plan because we should be progressing each year toward our life purpose. Break down your five year goals to the ones you can realistically achieve in the next 12 months. Make the list now and remember to make the goals realistic and achievable within the space of 12 months.
4. Your Month by Month Plan
Now that you have a rough idea of where you see yourself in 5-10 years and in 1 year, have a go at breaking down your yearly goals into monthly goals and targets. The best way to do this is to look at your yearly goal list and a calendar for the year. Divide the year into sections that you will work on a specific goal. At the beginning of each month write down the goals you need to fulfil that month in order to meet your yearly target goals. You’re yearly and monthly goals should be viewed frequently.
5. Your Daily To Do List
You can now break down your monthly goals into a daily ‘to do list’ that will lead you to accomplish your monthly goals, that will lead you to achieve your yearly goal, that will lead you to achieve your 5-10 year goal, that will lead you to achieve your life purpose or ultimate ambition!
Having a realistic to do list for each day is an empowering reminder that you’re getting things done and are working toward what you were put on this earth to do. Crossing things off you’re to do list is a good feeling. The important thing is that you have to get into a habit and figure out what method or system works best for you. For example, you might find that the best time to do your to do list for the following day is just before you go to bed, perhaps by writing them down in your diary or on your phone.
If there’s anything you didn’t get to in the day, don’t beat yourself up about it. Sometimes things happen throughout the course of our day that can’t be helped. You should also prioritise your to do list completing the most urgent things first.
Achieving your life plan, goals and to do list depends on how driven you are to take action and achieve your objectives. The thing about being human is that a lot of the time we don’t “take action” unless it’s absolutely necessary. Accordingly, you have to make it “absolutely necessary” in your mind – that is, you need to take action right now to achieve your dreams otherwise they’re not going to be realised. No one else is going to do it for you.
Time is precious. Treat it as a limited resource, because it is. You may think you have all the time in the world to achieve your goals but you don’t. Every minute wasted in a minute you’re never going to get back. You only have this one short life in this body to do whatever you set out to achieve, so go out and do it. Most importantly, stay positive and enjoy the journey or path that is leading you to your life purpose. You can only do this by appreciating and living in each and every moment.
“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.”
~ Denis Waitley