A Guide to Creating Your Life Plan

Posted by Donald Latumahina 27 Comments

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

To be successful in your life, you need to have a life plan. Without a plan, many of your dreams will only be dreams. A life plan, on the other hand, will help you turn your dreams into reality. It works because it gives you not a just a destination, but also a way to get there.

Plan your lifeA life plan doesn’t have to be complicated. It should answer just two questions:

  1. What is your destination?
  2. How will you get there?

Let’s look at them one by one.

What is Your Destination?

You should know where you are going. Not knowing your destination is a mistake because you may end up in the wrong place. You need to know where you want to go so that you don’t waste your time and effort.

Here are some tips related to finding your destination:

1. Create your life map

To see how your life will be in the future, it’s helpful to see how your life has been in the past.  By creating a life map, you can see patterns in your life that help you find out where you should go.  Look backward, connect the dots in your life, and project them into the future.

Further reading:

2. Find your life purpose

Your life purpose gives you meaning in everything you do. It helps you do what matters to you and makes your life fulfilling. Without a purpose, you may achieve much but feel empty inside. Take the time to find your purpose in life.

Further reading:

3. Discover your big dreams

The size of your dreams has a lot to do with living in mediocrity. If your dreams are small, there is no reason for you to move past mediocrity. It’s easier to just live a comfortable life. On the other hand, if your dreams are big, you have to move past mediocrity to make your dreams come true. So discover the big dreams in you.

4. Make short-term goals

You should know what your final destination is, but you should also have milestones along the way. These milestones help you stay on track. They help you know whether or not you are on the right path to reach your destination.

You create the milestones by breaking your long-term goals into short-term ones. What do you want to achieve this year? What do you want to achieve this month? What do you want to achieve today?

5. Keep refining

Knowing your destination is a process. If you are like me, you will refine your destination over time. It’s like zooming in a picture. At first you see the big picture, but after zooming it in you can see its details. Similarly, perhaps you can only see the big picture of your destination now. That’s fine. Follow it. Along the way, you will find clues that make the picture clearer.

How Will You Get There?

After knowing your destination, you need to know how to get there. Here are some tips related to it:

1. Find and communicate your personal brand

To achieve your goals, you need to market yourself. You need to find the unique value you can provide to others and communicate it. This way people know that they can come to you to meet their needs.

Further reading:

2. Have some guiding principles

There are a lot of distractions along the way to your destination. To prevent yourself from being distracted, you need to have some guiding principles. You need to identify the value you believe in. These principles help you stay true to yourself in everything you do.

3. Find your deliberate practice

Doing deliberate practice is important if you want to be remarkable. Deliberate practice is the kind of practice that stretches the boundaries of your capabilities. A good rule of thumb is you need about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a world-class expert in a field. Find out where you should invest that 10,000 hours.

Further reading:

4. Use tacking strategy

The world constantly changes so you need to constantly adapt. That’s why tacking – a term taken from the world of sailing – is a good strategy to apply. With tacking you set a short-term objective, work hard to achieve it, evaluate your performance, and adjust accordingly.

Further reading:

Executing Your Life Plan

After knowing your destination and how to get there, you need to execute your plan. Here are some tips on executing your life plan:

1. Focus

There is no question that focus is essential to achieve your goals. Without focus, you will spread your effort and attention too thin and eventually achieve nothing. Be careful though. You should be focused but not obsessed.

Further reading:

2. Be persistent

You should be persistent because failure is inevitable on your way to success. Without persistence, it’s easy to get discouraged in the face of failure and stop before reaching your destination. Have faith and keep pushing forward.

Further reading:

3. Build relationships

Nobody can succeed alone. You need the support of other people to succeed. So build your network before you need it.

Further reading:

4. Start now

A good plan vigorously executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.
George S. Patton

Don’t wait until your plan is perfect before you start. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Start now. You will learn more by doing than by waiting.

Photo by Tjeerd


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  • http://www.mondaymorninggold.com Spencer

    Beautiful!

    You have written a well defined plan to go from zero to hero in your own life. Why wander around aimlessly hoping and sometimes praying you find your path to success. That path is always an intention endeavor.

    I will be back to read more of your hot content. Great article.

    • Elliot Quaye

      to have a very good life plan to plan my personal life;music life and my christian life.

  • http://www.theblogs.net/mindscrew nico lorenz panlican

    Great blog! So you write topics about LIFE, too? Hope you visit my site:

    http://www.theblogs.net/mindscrew

    Looking forward to having an exchange of ideas with you,

    mindscrew

  • http://www.nevermindthemanager.com Frode H

    Great, this covers a lot.

    I like to use this metaphor on my goals. I have lighthouses to guide my way. The destination is a vision or a high goal, and the lighthouses are small short term goals, that I am supposed to reach, pass and continue to the next. Great and informative reading here with a lot of great links.

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  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    Spencer,

    That path is always an intention endeavor.

    I agree with you. Your success is your responsibility.

    Nico,
    It’s nice to know that we have similar interest :)

    Frode,
    That’s a great metaphor. I like it.

  • http://www.homesprosperity.blogspot.com Steve

    Wow, what a value packed guide. Thanks for sharing so many helpful tools. I’m especially interested in your guide on ‘tacking’ in order to keep track of my progress toward my goals and my life purpose.

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  • Claudia Munera

    This is the perfect article for me now…I kind of lost in life. Thank you for sharing with the world your amazing knowledge.
    It is clear, motivational, easy to understand. I wil love to translate them to spanish language…for free it is an amazing material that everybody should read.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Claudia,
    I’m glad you like the article. Feel free to translate it to Spanish.

  • Addai Eric Frimpong

    i need to have much knowledge on how to write a good life plan

  • adulis

    thnak you for sharing your knowledg,it will contribute alot to my life,

  • Daniel

    When I was young I had a great life target i was a positive person… but after schooling, everything changed because in my country life is very difficult…the cost of living is very high and all i can afford is 1 meal per day and transport cost to work.

    Eventually i convinced my self to alternative life goals and now i have forgotten what i really want to do….

    I just dont feel satisfied with life now….I am not living to my max potential…i know i have the ability and kills to do better but with this life in this country nothing is possible….Im finding jobs abroad too…but until then what am i to do??? Im helpless :(

  • Daniel

    I was a technical minded person and wanted to someday become an engineer…but university costs millions(all we can save per year is a few thousands). So I switched to IT Networking, but soon found out i was not earning enough, then now working as an Airport Service agent at an international airport, but yet i earn much less and also the work schdule is random, nights and days….its making me sick now and im losing memory….I am 23 years old i dont want my life to be wsted….i want to contribute much more than this to the world. i have the abilities but no opportunity in my country….help me please.

  • Peter

    Excellent stuff!

  • martin

    im not even 16 yet but i know my life plan. could someone tell me if its good, ill borrow a couple thousand dollars from my parents for a used car to get to work and back at 16 yrs old. ill find a way to go to college to be a meteorologist but just for the future in case my plans do not work out. ill go to a video game designing school to learn to make a games and use that as a 2nd hand career. my mane goal is to play music. i want to play guitar i know how to play and i think im pretty good and getting better. if that does not work out ill be a part time meteorologist. thats why ill take that coarse of collage. so im pretty sure ill have at least 1 good job in life. so is it very good of a life plan?

  • Xiang

    Hey Daniel, what kind of opportunities are you looking for?

  • http://www.finishedgoals.com James

    I couldn’t agree more with starting now! I think we take a bit too much time debating what move to make next instead of just taking an actual action. Every journey begins with one step forward.

  • amy

    well,after being bullied for so many years now i’m 19 …i gotta have a plan..but in my country everything depends on the money not talent so did someone thinks it;s best to just go?

    • Jlt

      I respect you buddy! (y)

  • Michelle Luo

    Very helpful article! After living without goals for such a long time, I’m now 28 and being a mom, I start to think and work on my short-term plan. Otherwise life will be meaningless. I wanna to be a great mother and making some remarkable things that my son will be proud some day, and I’m sure it will be an exciting thing to do.

  • http://www.puppii.com/ Marsha Mann

    This article flowed so well. I love the tips on how you will get there and executing a life plan.

    The start now gave me immediate motivation to make a plan.

    Being persistent I have to work on. This is an area I struggle with and will keep building consistency.

    In fact the four last points really spoke to my soul. I completely agree with this.

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