How to Create a Life Plan in 8 Steps
Most people live their lives on a day-to-day basis without a real long-term plan. While many may think about buying a car or a home someday, most lead a passive life and take it as it comes. Unfortunately, for small business owners, this simply can’t work.
At some point, you’re going to wake up one day and wonder why you’ve even bothered. Fortunately, you can take the steps necessary to shape your life and your business, and thus better deal with most of the adversity that life and running a business can bring.
While a life plan won’t insulate you from the day-to-day problems of managing your business and your life, it will help you anticipate them and lessen the blows as they come.
Luckily, understanding how to create a life plan is easier than you think.
These 8 steps can help make life planning simple:
Take a Look at What’s Not Working
Before you can engage in life planning, it is important to know what changes you want in your life. To start the process, create a journal and detail the important parts of your life. For most small business owners, this starts with your company itself, but you should also include your family, your personal finances, and any other relationships you deem important. Consider which areas you find most important and which areas you feel you should really focus on a bit more.
Examine Your Personal Values
Your life plan should be centered around what you think is important and hope to maintain. If you value family, are you spending adequate time with them? Are health and fitness important to you or are you spending vast amounts of time on the couch? Naturally, you value your business but take this step outside of your business. Once you know what you value in life, you can start to create change.
Look at the Long Term
When life planning, you need to consider not just the next few weeks or months, but the next few years. Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Where does your company fit into that picture? Then work backward and create steps or paths that you would like to take to get there. For example, if you have always wanted to buy a home, maybe it’s time to start saving toward that goal. Every small step that you take will bring about a major change in the future.
Create a Realistic Path
The key to creating a life plan that is authentic is to be practical and take realistic steps. For example, perhaps you want to build your small business into a medium-sized operation with several locations. That’s a far more realistic plan than turning your own brick-and-mortar bookstore into the next Amazon. You’ll need to be practical about what’s really achievable within your plan, then begin taking steps to make that happen. If you truly want to grow your small business from a few employees into a company with a few locations, you’ll want to focus on profitability and expand in a realistic manner.
When you start to make your life plan, decide what’s holding you back from achieving your goals. Perhaps those obstacles come from the way you’re currently running your company. Maybe they come from your personal life or your health. Understand what’s setting you up for failure, then remove those obstacles from your path so you can better reach your goals.
Create a Support Structure
Once you have established your values and goals, set up support structures to help you make those changes. For example, if you have always wanted to lose weight, then join a gym, buy an exercise bike for your home, or start working out with someone who loves exercise. If you want to eat healthy, start to read food labels and avoid high-calorie foods. If you want to spend more time with your children, then set up a weekday where you all go to the movies, restaurants, or do something fun together.
Keep Track of Your Progress
If you’re serious about life planning, it’s vital to track what is happening in your life. Jot down everything in your journal and determine how far you have come and if you are satisfied. If you have been sidetracked, take steps to get back on the chosen path. Reflecting both on what’s working and what’s not is the only thing that might keep you on track.
Prepare for Setbacks
In life, everyone has setbacks, big and small. The important thing is to get up when you’re down and continue. Imagine your goal was to lose weight so you might see some real changes in your health, but after three months, you’re so busy, you can’t even focus on those goals. Instead of losing weight, you’ve gained weight. It happens. Consult a dietician or hire a trainer. Prepare for what might happen, and you’ll be more likely to stay on track.
No one has to have a life plan, but for a small business owner, it’s a great way to stay on track both with your company and with your personal life.
It’s a good way to bring structure to your busy world, and help you see real progress toward the things you value the most. Learning how to create a life plan isn’t difficult. In fact, there are dozens of free life plan templates available online.
The key is to be practical; changes in life take time and you should always be prepared to face obstacles. The more prepared you are, the more likely it is that you will achieve your life plans.
Your business needs a solid plan to grow and succeed too! Contact AMB Performance Group today for thoughtful advice on how to plan for that success.