Do you have a life plan? Most people do not have one but life is much easier if you have a big picture you fit everything into. It helps you decide what the priorities of life really are.
Companies plan ten or twenty years ahead, shouldn't we all have similar plans for our livesto help us decide on our daily priorities of life. After all, are our lives really less important than a company's growth? Yet many people are content to live from day to day, hand to mouth, much as stone-age humans did, with no overall picture of where they are going.
You may have a few vague ideas of what you want to do with your life, but unless you change those ideas into specific goals they will never happen. You will also need to set up a series of short-term and medium-term objectives along the way. These will help you to make progress towards your long-term goals.
Where do you start? I will refer to my own life plan than to just talk in a vacuum.
I had a vague idea what I was going do with my life when I left college, but that was all it was. Dreams do not come true and that is all I had, a dream.
Like almost everyone else I never sat down to think what my priories in life should be. I failed to verbalise them, so effectively, I had no plans, I was just drifting from month to month. Another year would pass and I wondered why I had this sense of dissatisfaction with my life, that it was going nowhere.With no plan it WAS going nowhere.
It took me a long time, 25 years, before I started setting down my priorities for life.
I put my objectives down on paper and you should do the same. Paper works better than typing them into a computer. There is research showing that just by writing your objectives down they become more likely to happen because you are subconsciously thinking about them and working towards them every hour of every day. With specific objectives you make more constructive use of your time than you would do otherwise.
My objectives were selfish, but then it is my life and nobody else is going to prioritise it as I do. These were my objectives that I was going to work towards
- Visit the West coast of Ireland
- Increase my fitness levels
- Buy a cottage in the country
- Leave teaching
- See my two daughters happy
Now, ten years later, I have now achieved three out of those five long-term targets I set myself. It is time for a new 10 year plan.
- Help my daughters gain happiness in life – 5 years
- Lose three stones (42 pounds) – 2 years
- Get fit enough to walk ten miles again – 2 years
- Support myself totally from writing – 3 years
- Finish building my garden – 2 years
- Help my parents enjoy their old age – 10 years
- Enjoy life – 1 year
- Visit England four times a year – 2 years
- Visit New Zealand – 6 years
- Visit Canada – 8 years
It is a good idea to set goals that can be measured; 'Lose three stones', rather than just a vague 'lose weight'.
You should also estimate a time scale for each element of your ten-year, you might find it can all be achieved in five years once you estimate how long each element will take.
Have YOU ever written down what your priorities in life are? Writing them down is an excellent way to make yourself start setting priorities. Start NOW.
In a notebook.
- Write down every single thing you have done in the past 24 hours
- On the back page, write down your ten-year, including the time scale over which you expect to achieve that objective
- Check your list of things done against your ten-year. Have you done anything towards your long-term objectives in the past 24 hours?
- Write down all that you plan to do in the next 24 hours
- Code your ten-year objectives and write the appropriate code next to each point in your next 24 hour plan
Buy a new notebook
- On the top line of each page write 'Week ending -- -- ----', with dates one week apart on successive pages
- Every four double pages write 'Month – September 2010' or whatever
- On each double page write the objectives of your ten-year as side headings, spaced over the two pages
- Write down what you are going to do towards each objective in the next week
- Turn forwards to the Month page
- Write down what you plan to have accomplished towards each objective in that month
- Transfer your ten-year to the back page of this notebook. This is going to be the one you constantly refer to
We all spend a large percentage of our time doing nothing in particular, watching TV or reading newspapers. This is time we will never have again, and it might be better spent working towards achieving whatever we think is important in life.
Yes, relax at the end of a day of working towards your life objectives, but only after you have made progress in each life plan area. Life is short, and if we fail to use our time it will be gone. Our lives will be at an end with very few, if any, of our long-term goals achieved.
Images are very powerful, Buy posters of the places that you intend to visit in your life plan. If you want to learn to drive a truck, put a large truck poster where you see it every day.
Buy a flip chart pad. On each page write down two or three of your long term goals in a large script. Pin these sheets where you will see them every day. They will help you stay focused when you are tired, help you make more progress towards your goals than you would otherwise.