Why you need a life plan

I think everyone should have a life plan. Without a life plan you are more likely to be pushed around by life’s circumstances and less likely to succeed – whatever your aspirations.



I know from direct experience that having a life plan will help you make better decisions, use your time and whatever money you have better, have more fun, become happier, achieve more and do more of what you want. Planning your life might be a new idea to you. I understand it might seem a bit weird. You probably don’t know anyone who plans their life. Of course you do know people who plan their finances, pensions, holidays, house moves, weddings, families and careers, but no one is planning their lives.


OK – so not many people do it. But not many people a leading happy fulfilled lives either. I have been life planning since 1992. It works for me. It has worked for me for almost 30 years. It could work for you.Plans work in all sorts of contexts because they are both a route map and a control mechanism. They help everyone involved see what needs to get done and where it will all end up.


Life – my life, your life is a project. And like any other project it would benefit from a plan. Also, like a project its constrained by both time and available resources. So it makes sense to manage the time and resources available. So, why wouldn’t you want to try and plan your life as though it was a project? Because it is a project. You want to succeed. You want to make the best of it – you need to design your life. You need a life plan.


Warning! Be careful that the production of the plan doesn’t become the objective and prevent you from doing what you need to do. One of my favourite business books is the Grand Strategist by Gary Hamel, in it he says “A Grade B plan with a Grade A execution always beats a Grade A plan with a Grade B execution”.


You get the gist. What you do is more important than the plan. But having a plan is better than not having a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. If your life is a mess and you can’t see clearly where you want to be or you just want things to be better a plan will definitely help you get organised. It might seem a bit weird to start thinking about your life as a project – but if you take a step back you’ll see that’s exactly what it is. A work in progress. So what are the benefits of you seeing life as a project? You start asking important questions like:


  • Am I really making the best of it?
  • What actions have I taken that got me to where I am now?
  • Why did I do that?
  • What did I learn?
  • What actions should I be taking to get to where I want to be?


I have called this planning process LifeDesign.


You probably know what a plan usually looks like – they have things like vision statements (where do I want to end up?) objectives (aims, goals, SMART targets – that sort of thing) and they allocate resources (time, labour, money). A plan simply breaks the big stuff down into smaller more manageable parts. Think of an architect’s plan for a house. The endgame is a beautiful Grand Design, but before that comes the diggers, the mud, the foundations and the structure (the outline) followed by the details pipework, door handle and light switches. Life plans have fame or fortune or happiness in the visions and holidays, cars and garden furniture instead of pipework!


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