“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now,” Alan Lakein wisely stated.
This quote strikes at the heart of what you’re probably seeking: practical strategies for successful life planning.
If you’re like me, you’re looking to transform your future goals into present actions, and you’ve come to the right place.
Do you recognize that sensation of moving through life on autopilot, feeling a void despite ticking all the boxes of success?
That was me years ago. With a college degree, a loving partner, a stable job, and a beautiful apartment, my life seemed perfect. Yet, I felt unfulfilled and purposeless.
The revelation came when I started my journey of self-discovery, realizing the immense value of life planning.
I understood that to find fulfillment, it was essential to pause, reflect, and determine my true desires and aspirations.
After a lot of study, trials, and failures I experienced, I want to save you some time.
In the next sections, we’ll uncover my four favorite proven strategies to craft a life plan that’s not only successful but genuinely fulfilling.
These strategies will guide you in aligning your actions with your values and leading a life that resonates with your true self. Let’s embark on this journey towards a purposeful and intentional life.
1) Set clear and measurable goals
Years ago, I decided to leave a job where I’d spent 15 years, simply because I wasn’t happy.
The challenge? I had no plan for what was next.
All I knew was that I couldn’t continue on that path.
I took the leap into the unknown. Granted, I negotiated my severance first—I was bold, not reckless.
Even though this was the right choice for me at the time, clarity about where I wanted to go could have saved me from much anxiety and stress.
As obvious as it might sound, it’s worth mentioning that setting goals is fundamental for an effective life plan.
They guide your daily decisions, helping you navigate the bigger picture.
Start by asking what you truly desire in every life facet: love, work, health, spirituality, and more.
If, like me, you’re impatient for results, pausing to think might seem hard.
That’s why I have an additional recommendation: Mindvalley’s Lifebook program. It’s a comprehensive planning course that guides you to design your ideal life.
Its creators, Jon and Missy Butcher, highlight 12 life areas to focus on. It was one of the best programs I could find about this topic, foollowing their guidance made planning easier and enjoyable for me.
It accelerated a process that would’ve otherwise taken years, given my tendency to procrastinate. I achieved it in just six weeks.
When setting goals, be honest, bold, and remember: they’re yours only, and shouldn’t be dictated by society’s norms or expectations.
Craft goals using the SMART format
Once you’ve outlined your goals, it’s important to structure them.
But how exactly do you do that effectively?
That’s where the SMART format comes in: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Here’s an example: “I aim to write a 50,000-word novel by year-end” or (in my case) “I want to produce one artwork a month for the rest of the year.”
This way, you’ll gain more clarity, and get a tracking method, a deadline, and realistic objectives.
But wait, there’s more.
It’s also good to set ambitious goals, ones you’re unsure how to achieve.
Your goals set the bar—why not place it high?
A few years back, I began to set clear financial goals, much higher than my previous earnings.
What I earned from my passions far exceeded my expectations. Many don’t realize that sometimes stepping back (like leaving a steady job) can clear the way for greater growth.
2) Cultivate a growth mindset
Here’s another vital thing I’ve learned: Your mindset matters a lot.
Simply working hard isn’t enough.
You need a lot of heart and belief, especially when things get tough. And believe me, they will!
I still remember those times when I jumped into the unknown, taking risks, and fearing I’d lose everything I’d built.
If it wasn’t for the right mindset I might have gone back to the job that I hated so much, just for the sake of feeling safe.
But planning your life isn’t just a one-time thing.
It changes as you grow and learn.
It’s about knowing you can always get better and that no one can take away what you’ve learned or who you’ve become.
Here’s a tip: Don’t see setbacks as failures, see them as lessons.
It’s a good idea to look back at your goals once a year. Think about what went well and what you want to change.
As time goes by, your goals might shift, and new dreams might pop up.
Even as an artist, sometimes the passion dips a bit. That’s why it’s important to stay open and curious.
Having a guide can help you stay on track.
That’s where the Lifebook course I talked about before comes in again.
The course not onlu provided me with a roadmap to my ideal future, but served me as a reliable point of reference whenever doubts arose.
3) Invest in self-awareness
Personally, spending many years traveling and living single allowed me to develop a deep understanding of myself.
During that time, I’ve completed numerous courses and read countless books on personal development, spirituality, and life planning tools.
Now, you might wonder why this matters.
At first, it might seem unimportant, but really knowing your values, strengths, weaknesses, passions, and what sets you off can greatly help you make decisions.
You can have all the life plans in the world, but if you’re unsure of the core values guiding you, decisions will take twice as long or might even come too late.
There are many tools that can help in this self-reflection process.
Simple acts like journaling, meditating, or even contemplative walks can help you explore into your inner world.
Even better, there are also many structured self-assessment tools developed by experts.
Tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Enneagram, or Ikigai can help illuminate the nuances of your unique personality.
Furthermore, according to a Forbes article, only 15% of people are truly self-aware.
This shows how rare and important this quality is in life and work. Taking time to know yourself takes effort, but it’s really worth it.
The sooner you embark on this journey of self-discovery, the better.
And dont forget to be patient with yourself!
Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t for everyone, nor is it easy. But by merely starting, you’re already a step ahead.
4) Take action
Life planning is crucial, but action is vital. Without action, plans remain just dreams.
Don’t just go through the motions; be fully committed to what you’re doing.
Regularly assess your progress, appreciate your journey, and celebrate small wins.
Adopt the concept of “Kaizen” – continuous improvement.
Small steps add up, creating big changes over time. Every step you take builds a better life for you.
Why is life planning so important?
Life planning changed everything for me.
- I achieved things I never thought possible.
- I now live and work in a paradise: Ibiza.
- I visit my family every year in Argentina.
- My art grows daily, and my relationships are deep and fulfilling.
For all this, I am immensely grateful.
Breaking free from deep-seated beliefs, fears, and patterns wasn’t easy. Yet, when I decided to choose passion over a steady job, everything changed.
Without careful life planning, I wouldn’t have the fulfilling life I cherish today.
Think of yourself as an architect.
We meticulously design our futures. It’s not just about luck – we all have the capability and responsibility to shape our happiness.
Hoping things will magically fall into place, then wishing for change when they don’t, isn’t productive.
When you take control of your destiny, previously unthinkable achievements become possible.
Whether it’s launching a successful project, finding a loving relationship, or turning your passion into a profitable venture, life planning is the key.
It can be applied in more areas than you might think, making it incredibly powerful.
I’ve found the best tools to change my life.
If you find yourself in a situation like mine a few years ago, you probably already knot that its time to stop waiting for a better moment. Now is your moment to take action.
To be frank, I can’t help but get overly excited when I discover something I’m passionate about, especially when it has such a profound impact on my life and mindset.
Every time this happens, I have a deep urge to share these tools with everyone I know and care about.
Simply because I want them to experience the same happiness and satisfaction I have.
Of course, not everyone is ready or willing to invest the necessary time, money, and effort.
But here’s the thing: if my story has sparked even a hint of curiosity in you, I genuinely urge you to dive into life planning.
I’m confident you won’t regret it.
If you find yourself where I once was, feeling lost or stuck, or just wanting more from life, I encourage you to spend just a bit of time each day on planning.
It’s a tiny investment compared to the returns.
You can do this on your own or with the help of the Lifebook program, which I highly recommend—it’s been a game-changer for me.
Whatever path you choose, I can’t wait for you to see how it can transform your life, just as it transformed mine.