The following is adapted from ENRICH.
Successful organizations create business plans guided by their mission, objectives, and opportunities. These business plans help organizations thrive and prosper.
But as individuals, we seldom chart the course for the most important journey of our lives. We wing it. The risk in winging it through life is sometimes we end up where we don’t want to go. Or sometimes we don’t go anywhere at all.
It’s not that we don’t make plans. We make all kinds of plans: shopping plans, school plans, summer plans, wedding plans. Yet we wing it through life.
Here’s a way to make sure you get to where you want to go in life: The Life Plan. The Life Plan is analogous to a business plan. It’s your personal map to an enriched, robust life. The life you want.
Why a Life Plan is Beneficial
A Life Plan brings together your aspirations–all you want to accomplish and experience in life. The what, where, when, how, and why of the life you desire. It captures the things that give you satisfaction and joy and that require concentrated effort over time.
But most importantly, a Life Plan is meaningful and inspirational. It excites and motivates you.
Having a Life Plan produces some intangible benefits. In his book Flourish, Martin Seligman notes that goal setting promotes a lot of benefits such as optimism and positivity. He shows the links between positivity and increased longevity, health, and life satisfaction. The bonus to setting goals is a longer life, in addition to improved focus and results.
How to Create a Life Plan
Your plan needs to be specific, measurable, actionalable, and inspiring. Some examples:
- Mission: Improve your health.
- Goal: Lose thirty pounds.by June 30
- Mission: Nurture a loving family.
- Goal: Spend an hour of undistracted quality time a day with your kids.
- Mission: Achieve financial security by age 45
- Goal: Create a six-month emergency fund in a sequestered savings account.
Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating your Life Plan:
- Determine the time frame: Ten years works well for many people. Create milestones and intermediate goals within this period..
- Plan with the end in sight: Start with the ultimate intended outcomes and work backward.
- Categorize your aspirations: Examples include an overarching annual goal, as well as financial, professional, family/friends, health and fitness goals.
- Less is more: Target no more than ten goals across all categories in any given year.
- Prioritize your goals: What’s most important to you? Identify three high-priority goals.
- Apply the WOW test: Do these goals excite and inspire you?
- Ask why: Why are these goals important? List at least three positive outcomes of achieving the objectives. This will help you maintain motivation.
- The sanity test: With effort, is the Life Plan achievable? Realistic?
- Periodic reviews: Check-in with your progress on a periodic basis (ideally once a quarter) to ensure you maintain your focus and progress toward these aspirations. It’s this ongoing process which gives life planning its potency.
Manage Your Life Like a Successful Business
Successful businesses put a lot of thought into how to prosper. Doesn’t your life and your future deserve that as well?
Synthesizing your aspirations on one page forces you to focus on what truly enriches your life. This focus is invaluable.
There are three reasons why creating a Life Plan works so well. A Life Plan facilitates resource allocation–where to invest your time and money. It helps avoid time creep. Most importantly, creating a personal map helps ensure you get to where you want to go in the most important journey of life.
For more advice on creating happiness, you can find ENRICH on Amazon or visit Enrich101.com.
Todd Miller is an American-born entertainment executive who has extensively researched and aggressively experimented with the work-life equation for over a quarter century. While scaling the corporate ladder, Miller skillfully structured two sabbaticals, intentionally created a family through adoption, cycled coast to coast across two continents in support of children’s charities, and explored more than 100 countries on all seven continents. Drawing on ENRICH principles, Miller built time wealth and passive income while working full time. At age 53, the American-born author has retired on the Andaman Sea in Thailand, where he devotes his time to enriching connections with people and projects.