Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, “How on earth did I end up here?” It’s probably happened to us all at some point. Author Michael Hyatt refers to it as drift: wandering so far off our original course that we don’t recognize where we are anymore.
How do you help avoid drift and live a life that stays on its intended course? One way is to create a life plan — a road map that spells out where you want to go and how you want to get there. A life plan helps us determine who we currently are and who we ultimately want to be.
It’s important to remember that a life plan is never set in stone. Events such as job loss, sickness and the death of a loved one can unexpectedly alter a life plan. Our life plans may also change as we change as individuals. In these cases, a life plan can help us in two ways: It can help us get back on course toward our destination after a detour, or it can help us chart a new course entirely.
What should a life plan look like? It depends on you. Every life plan is personalized and individualized. In a marriage or a family, you may have overlapping items in your life plans, but each individual will have specific, unique items in his or her plan.
Your life plan can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. However, here are five steps you can follow to create your life plan:
- Assess the current situation. Where are you currently in your work, family, personal life and spiritual life? In what areas are you satisfied or not?
- Choose your top priorities to focus on. It’s best to focus on four to five priorities; any more than that, and our attention gets too scattered.
- Begin with the end in mind. Consider the priorities you chose in step 2. What are your ultimate goals in each of those areas? Write them down.
- Break it down. Now that you know where you want to go, it’s time to figure out how to get there. Break your ultimate goals down into smaller steps. How many steps is up to you; you can break goals down into annual, monthly, weekly and even daily goals.
- Get to work. Once you’ve set your destination, it’s time to start working toward it. If things start to feel off course, remember that your life plan is a flexible guide, not a directive set in stone. As you work through your mini-goals, new opportunities may arise for you to add to your life plan.
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