Today, I’d like to share some practical tips on how to create a plan for your life. These are lessons and tips I have learned mostly through trial and error over the past decade.
First off, I’d like to state that’s it perfectly normal NOT to know what you want to do with your life. I’d bet that for every 100 people you asked, “what is your plan for life?” at least 95 to 99 of them would not know. Your goal is to be one of those one to five people who do know what they want.
Also, your plans can change. They will change. Things happen. Some of these things are even out of your control. Your goal is to know what you want, have a plan, and be flexible. Be constant about your mission and goals, but be flexible as to how you achieve them, and in what time frame.
How to Create a Plan for Your Life
I’ve broken down this process into five easy to follow steps. Please take your time, complete each step, and finish the assignments. By the time you do that, you should have a solid blueprint you can follow.
Step # 1: Write Down Your Bucket List
If you want to create a plan for your life, the first thing you want to do is brainstorm everything you want to do (or think you might want to do). Don’t hold back here. There are no dumb ideas.
Sit down somewhere quiet for a few hours and write down EVERYTHING you want to do in your life. This is your brainstorming session. Think back to everything you have ever wanted to do and write it down.
Several examples include:
- Retire with $2 million
- Retire at age 55
- Have 3 children
- Travel to 20 different countries
- Go to the Super Bowl
- Ride a bull
- Drive across Route 66
- Meet the Pope
- Own a vacation home in Thailand
- Drive a Ferrari
- Be debt free by age 40
- Start a Business
Once again, these are just a few examples to get you thinking. A good list should have at least 100-300 ideas.
Also, be specific whenever possible. Don’t be vague. Think numbers, dates, places, timelines, feelings, etc.
Step # 2: Prioritize Your List
Once your bucket list is complete, I want you to prioritize your list. What are the most important goals? If you could only accomplish five of these things in your lifetime, which ones would you pick?
Put a #1 next to your most important goal, a #2 next to the second most important goal, and go through each item on your list. This will take you a while. That’s okay.
The reason you want to prioritize your bucket list is so you can determine which items are most important to you. Once you are finished, move to the next step.
Step # 3: Set Your Timeline & Plan
Once you have a list of goals and they are prioritized, the next step is to create a simple plan for your top 10 goals. You want to write down three to five action items for each of your top 10 goals. This will help formulate your plan and get you started.
Here are some examples:
# 1: Retire with $2 million at age 60
- Open a retirement account (by the end of this week)
- Find a local CPA to review my tax situation and get advice (by end of the month)
- Set up automatic investing through my employer (by the end of this week)
# 2: Publish my novel within 12-months
- Pick a topic for the book (by the end of this month)
- Buy three books about that topic and read them (within 90-days)
- Put together an outline for my first draft (within next 6-months)
- Interview someone who wrote and published a book to get ideas (within next 60-days)
- Finish my first draft (within 9-months)
# 3: Graduate from College within next five years
- Pick a major (by end of week)
- Research colleges to come up with three potential choices (by end of month)
- Apply to the college of my choice (within 60 days)
Notice how I set a deadline for each goal and then came up with a few simple action steps that each have their own deadline? Once you do that for each of your top 10 goals, you can move to the next step.
Step # 4: Get to Work
The final step is to look at the remainder of your goals and decide what goals you can accomplish in the next 12-months. Some of these goals will be simple. Others, not so much.
Try to identify at least 5-10 things you can achieve in the next 12 months. Are there any you can do in the next few days? It’s a good feeling to cross off something from your goal’s list.
Once you’ve done that, get to work on the action items for each of your top 10 goals. Do something DAILY for at least one of your goals, and ideally several of them.
Step # 5: Review Your Goals and Plans Monthly
The final step is to review your goals and plans monthly. Any goals you’ve achieved, remove it from your list. Any new goals you come up with, add it to your list. Any goals that no longer interest you, remove them from your list.
Any action items that are complete, remove them from your list. Any new action items you can add, add them to your list.
By doing this monthly, you can keep your plan updated and current. Plus, you can make any changes as needed.
I also recommend you always print out your plan and keep a copy with you so you can refer to it often. Think of it as a living, breathing document.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. By taking just a small amount of time to plan out your life you can accomplish some amazing things. Your dreams can come true. Plus, you will be lightyears ahead of people who have never written down their goals or developed an action plan.
What are your thoughts? What is your best advice on how to create a plan for your life? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.