A life plan is a detailed description of your decisions, intentions, hopes and dreams for your future. Writing a life plan may be an assignment for school, a personal development program, or just an activity you are initiating to improve your life. Educational pursuits, career aspirations, recreational interests, marital life, children and end-of-life preferences are common subjects to address in a life plan. A detailed life plan is instructive for creating greater clarity regarding life priorities and next steps. The following are things to consider when writing a life plan.
Understand your needs.
- List your mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Being surrounded by loving and caring people may be one emotional need. Wanting independence and freedom from the control of others may be another need. Feeling connected to a spiritual or religious organization may be yet another need.
- Pinpoint your physical and material needs. Being healthy and fit is one example. Living in an environment that is free of pollution may be another need. Living debt-free or accumulating wealth may be material needs.
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Identify your strengths and talents. If you are a student, think about the subjects in which you excel. Your strengths may be in analysis, language composition, computation, information retention or problem solving. If you are already in a career, think about the tasks that you do well, such as solving interpersonal issues, leading others, building things or answering people’s questions.
Consider your hopes and dreams. These are aspects of life that give you joy.
Falling in love, having children, having a pet, contributing to a worthy cause and devising a solution to society’s difficult problems are some examples.
Decide on a format before writing your life plan. If completing an assignment for a teacher or a life coach, follow the requested format. Your life plan may be written in a narrative or outline form.
Use your list of needs, strengths and hopes to outline concrete goals. For example, the need to be fit and healthy might lead to a career in fitness or simply a commitment to exercise several times per week. Your talent with numbers and analysis may drive you to pursue a career as a financial analyst. Use the list you created to set practical life goals.
Review your life goals to make sure they address all aspects of your life. A thorough life plan addresses education, career, play, hobbies, relationships, children, spiritual pursuits and even end-of-life preferences. Decisions about how your dependents will survive financially after you are gone and how your funeral should be handled are important considerations when writing a life plan.
Examine the details of your life plan. Review each category to ensure that you have addressed it thoroughly. For example, if you plan to become a doctor, write down the names of the school(s) you plan to attend, your desired specialty, where you’d like to do your medical residency, and whether you’d like to work at a hospital, a private practice or for the government.
The details can always be adjusted as your life progresses, but thinking through them ahead of time will help to crystallize a plan of action.