How to make a life plan and achieve goals in 8 steps
Updated 31 March 2023
People often have high expectations for what they would like to achieve in their life and when. Setting and achieving life goals can be easier to manage if you consider creating a simple life plan. This can keep you organised, prepare you for potential setbacks and set goals for a successful future. In this article, we discuss how to make a life plan and outline the steps you can take to create one.
How to make a life plan
If you want to structure your life, it can be helpful to know how to make a life plan. There's no rulebook to learn how to create a life plan. Instead, you can try experimenting and choose one that suits you best. Here are some simple steps to create a life plan:
1. Conduct a self-assessment
Before you can start planning, it may be worthwhile to assess where your life currently is. This can give you an indication of how far you have to go to reach a particular goal. Take a moment to reflect on any time that you have faced challenges in the past. During this self-assessment, consider interpersonal relationships, health, financial struggles and career growth. If you have consistent challenges in certain aspects of your life, perhaps it's time to change your approach.
Related: How to write a self-assessment
2. Have a clear vision
Once you're aware of areas for improvement, you can start planning for your goals with added clarity. Motivation comes from having a clear long-term vision. Ask yourself: where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? Try to visualise as many details of your future life as possible. Consider how much money you're earning, where you're living, who you're with, how the scenery looks and even your daily routine. It's important to create a clear vision for your future that's achievable.
3. Set your priorities
The best way to achieve your goals is to identify what those goals are and prioritise activities that take you closer to those goals. For instance, if you wish to excel in your career and get a promotion, then it's a good idea to keep work as the top priority. Similarly, you may want to focus on your health, choosing to exercise daily and opting for a healthier diet. Prioritising specific areas of your life can free your time and mental energy for things that are especially important to you.
4. Write SMART goals
For an effective life plan, it's crucial to set both long and short-term goals. While long-term goals can serve as a motivator to keep working in the same direction, short-term goals can help you feel a great sense of achievement. You can use the SMART technique to structure your goals properly. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. When you follow the set criteria, you're likely to create effective and detailed goals. When you write goals in this specific manner, it makes them sound much easier to achieve.
5. Establish an action plan
How are you planning on achieving your goals? Life planning does not only consist of writing down your goals, it involves transforming them into actionable tasks. For example, you can consider offering freelance consultancy services in your niche to earn more money every month. You can even get training sessions to establish your own side business or read online success stories. The action plan should be able to help you take the first step towards achieving your long-term goals. In this way, you can continue working slowly and steadily to eventually transform your ideal life vision into reality.
6. Reward yourself
An important part of life planning is to recognise accomplishments and celebrate even minor milestones. One simple way to do this is by adding each task or 'micro-step' to your calendar. Even if it's something minor like attending a seminar, you can feel accomplished when you mark it off your calendar. If you begin to reward yourself consistently, you could find yourself having increased motivation and being more optimistic about the future.
7. Leave room for adjustments
Your life plan is a tool to steer you in the direction of your goals. There are few circumstances or situations that can't change or improve upon. For example, you may receive a job offer in a different field or perhaps your next job could require you to relocate to a different country. Regardless of any setback, you can always make room for adjustments in your life plan. Instead of giving up on life planning altogether, consider revising the strategy and adjusting according to your transforming lifestyle and priorities.
8. Ask for support
Planning your entire life can sound like a challenging task. Many people want to plan their lives around supportive partners, family members and friends. Having a supportive community may help you be more efficient to achieve your life plan. By asking for support, you could find additional motivation to achieve your life goals. It's important to allow yourself to make adjustments to your life plan at different stages, depending on how your plans are progressing and other circumstances that may impact them. Try to remain patient and be open to all possibilities on the path to attaining your goals.
What is a life plan?
If you would like to learn how to make a life plan, it's worth looking into what a life plan is. A life plan can serve as an effective guide to what you want to achieve in the future. While most of us have goals and things we would like to achieve, we don't often put them into words or work out how to achieve them. By having a life plan, you can plan to achieve both personal and professional goals. This way, it also becomes easier to keep your goals realistic and attainable.
It's not necessary for your life plan to be extremely detailed. In most cases, you can create a general guideline of how to achieve their objectives over a period of time. If your life has begun to feel out of control or you find yourself struggling to make decisions, then creating a life plan may help you become more organised.
What to include in a life plan?
Here you can find some guidelines on elements that you can include in your life plan:
Health and wellbeing
Mental and physical health are both important aspects of life. If you fall ill, it can become difficult to achieve the rest of your daily or even weekly goals. You can prevent these situations by taking precautionary measures that protect your health. The following are key habits or tasks that you can add to your life plan:
consider setting a goal to walk up to 10,000 steps
drink 3 litres of water every day
work towards small goals that you can achieve within days or a week
You can choose to create a life plan according to your priorities. Some people prefer only planning for their professional life, others like to include aspects such as interpersonal relationships or personal goals as well. When you're working towards your career, it could take up a lot of time and effort. There are many people who don't spend as much time on personal relationships, due to busy schedules.
You can make sure that this doesn't happen by maintaining a healthy balance between your personal and professional life. Consider learning to be a better listener and trying to be available for your loved ones. Despite a hectic lifestyle, you can try to schedule a specific time during the week for important people in your life.
Financial planning is one of the most popular reasons that people use to plan out their lives. Think about your future retirement age and consider how you wish to spend those years. Depending on the lifestyle you would like to maintain, it may be a good idea to start a separate retirement fund. If saving money from your paycheque is a challenge, then try setting a monthly spending budget. You can plan to spend 50% of your salary on essentials like rent, groceries and bills. The rest can be further divided into 30% of discrete spending and 20% savings.
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