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Creating A Life Plan In The New Year

Do you make resolutions? Would you consider adjusting them to make a life plan instead? Sue Loncaric of Sizzling Towards Sixty discusses why this is more her speed.create a life plan

Create A Life Plan

For most of us, when we start thinking about the New Year we consider what our resolutions will be. Last year I wrote a post about why I don’t make resolutions anymore and why you should consider doing the same.

I recently completed a course titled Strategies for Successful Aging through Futurelearn.com. One of the topics discussed by Liz Harper, Head of Community and Lifelong Learning at Age and Opportunity, was Life Planning.

A Life Plan is important for our mental well-being. We all need something to look forward to or to work towards. Having a Life Plan in place will help you get there faster. It can be for anything in your life, so consider what you would like to change or achieve in this New Year.

Liz suggests that this isn’t where you make a list and tick it off like we do for our normal daily routine. It is about taking time to reflect on what our ‘bigger picture’ is and what we want to achieve in life. It is easy to go through life planning small things like holidays but do we really look at the big picture of where we are going and what we actually want from life.

As Liz says:

If you can take a step back and identify what it is you would like to do, would like to get, or would like to be, then maybe you could start making a plan to move towards that. And there are loads of different ways of doing life planning.

4 Methods of Life Planning to Achieve Your Goal

Each of us is obviously different so we know that it’s not a one-method-fits-all kind of thing.

There are four methods to choose from:

SMART Planning
Action Planning
Rewind Planning
Intention Planning

You can try each of them and decide which is best for you.

SMART Planning

Most of us have heard of the SMART process when setting goals. That is, our goals must be:

Specific,
Measurable,
Achievable,
Realistic and
Time frame set

Action Planning

This is basically a variety of different prompts that you could be thinking about for yourself. This is quite a practical method. If you know what you want to achieve this method asks questions such as:

How will I know I’ve achieved it?
What’s the cost of me not achieving it?
What will work against me achieving it?
How will I know that I’ve got there?
What might stop it? What might help me?
Who might stop me? Who might help me?

Rewind Planning

This method starts at the end with what you want to achieve and as Liz suggested it might appeal more to those of us who are very visual. It is called Rewind Planning because you set your goal and work back from there to the present. Take a large sheet of paper and write what you want at the top. Then work backwards in steps until you are at the first step which can be down now.

Here is an example from Liz.

We might say, before you can have a holiday in Iceland, you have an investigation packages to Iceland. How are you going to get there? You have to find out the cost, who’s doing the packages, and what the availability is. That’s background research you need to do. And then maybe coming down to another level, you need someone to go with, if you don’t want to go on your own. So that might be about calling friends and seeing what their availability is, checking your own diary and all that stuff.

Coming down to another level it might be things like, are there people at home who need minding? Who’s going to keep an eye on the house? And who’s going to mind the dog? You might work that out. And then right down to the next level, what would be the very first thing, the first phone call, that you’d need to make? The idea behind this is that you’d start taking the action immediately. And one action needs to another. And eventually, you’re on holiday in lovely Iceland. This is Rewind Planning.

Intention Planning

Intention Planning is where you actually imagine yourself in your goal. As in the example of Iceland holiday, you imagine yourself there. You taste it, smell it and feel it. Let’s say again, you want to go to Iceland. Each step you plan is reinforcing your goal into your subconscious until you are there.

Which of the four planning techniques do you feel would be most useful for you to set and achieve your goal?

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

Sue Loncaric

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Lee Gaitan

Tuesday 10th of January 2017

Very helpful "how to" plans for taking action. I am committed to working seriously with "intention" this year. Great post, Sue.

Michele

Friday 6th of January 2017

I am a big believer in life planning. I set intentions, do research and visualize what I want to do and how I want to feel. A great resource is a book I recently read- Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. They walk you through creating a life plan.

Terri Webster Schrandt

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Great post, Sue, and many congrats to you for having it published on Midlife Boulevard! Reminds me of my previous event planning days with your example of traveling to Iceland! Very useful info!

Rosemond

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Great tips that are timely for me. Feeling overwhelmed and needed a better plan to accomplish my goals.

Sue

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Thanks for publishing my article! Have a wonderful day x

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