What would you do if you believed you couldn’t fail?
How quickly have the years passed by for you already? If I asked you what you’ve done so far that you’ve loved, what would you say? I hope you would say your life experiences have brought you a variety of fun, love, laughter, pride and excitement. But, what about the next five, ten, or twenty years…What do they look like for you? If, like most people you don’t plan beyond the next few weekends or perhaps months, the likelihood is your life will drift by until one day you look back and wonder where it went?
I don’t need to plan yet…
Working with a young client last week, in her early twenties, I could see she’s still enjoying that glorious sense of life going on forever. Getting old, or even reaching middle aged is some distant hazy blip on the horizon, that she neither needs to worry about nor focus on yet. Or does she?
I remember that feeling like it was yesterday and yet here I am, 30 years on. Time passes so quickly in our fast paced World of instant technology and gratification and I want to ensure you make the most of yours. I want to help you build a Life Plan that gets you excited and proud when you look back to last year and forward to the next.
Surely a life worth living, is one that brings you a rich combination of security, variety and challenge, so when you reach middle age, or later, you can look back and feel proud, happy and satisfied.
Why do you need to do this?
The biggest cause of visits to the GP are related to mental health issues. According to the NHS, in 2014, half of women and 43% of men were taking anti depressants(1) and these are the ones brave enough to visit their GP and ask for help. People with no sense of purpose or contribution feel less valued and lose their vibrancy and enthusiasm for life.
We can say the same of many older people. We may be living longer, but how many elders do you meet that appear vibrant, energetic or charismatic? For me, not many.
I know I have a very clear picture of who and what I want to be in older age and look out World cos I ain’t going quietly! (See step 1)
Neural scientists have been telling us for years that we get what we focus on. So, if you don’t have a plan, you’re really planning to fail, or at least run a high risk of living at the effect of life.
What are the benefits of creating a Life Plan?
The benefits are vast and have been well documented by the Coaching community and Authors’ of Personal Development books, but I’ll summarise. If you don’t know where you’re heading in life, you will have no sense of direction and will become easily distracted.
Think of your life as a huge map. If you don’t have a plan, or any real idea where you’re going, you may as well close your eyes and stick a pin in the map blindly hoping for a good result. This applies whether its finding your soul mate, your dream job, your perfect weight, financial independence to retire early, travel, or have enough money to allow you to support your favorite cause. You have to plan. Useful tip: Rushed for time reading this? Open up your diary and book some time in now to start creating your Life Plan.
Okay this word has to go. Why?
It’s an excuse and is usually accompanied by it’s allies ‘could’ ‘should’ and ‘would’ [The statements that can ruin your life]
Sentences with this prefix, are loaded with our personal array of reasons, ‘aka’ excuses, for why we haven’t done, said, or accomplished something we set out to do.
If for some reason you don’t manage to complete part of your plan, which will happen, simply own your reasons, learn from them and put corrective measures in place, as soon as you can. Useful tip: Be kind to yourself. Being hard on yourself doesn’t help. It’s like having an unsupportive parent who criticises you all the time, happily pointing out all your failings. Break this habit, or it will rob you of so much joy and satisfaction along your way.
Let’s create a plan:
Find a window of time in your diary, preferably 60 – 120 minutes….It will pay dividends.
Create a vision for your future. In a few sentences get clear about what you want your life to look like. What needs to be in place? How will you and other people describe your life in 5, 10, 20 years? Be specific and use dates, both todays and future dates. If you struggle to create this go to step 3 and come back and finish this later. If you need further support download our free eBook on how to find your inner purpose here.
On a large piece of paper draw a circle. For all you perfectionists out there use a good sized cereal bowl to draw round and grab a ruler. Once you have your circle divide it into eight sections. Name each section. Here are some examples, but feel free to choose your own. Please make sure each segment of your wheel is represented by the most important areas of your life.
- Career or Mission
- Intimate Relationship
- Children (You can divide the segment into as many children you have and score each child separately)
The centre of the circle is a zero (Life can’t get any worse) The outside edge of the circle is a ten (Life can’t get any better). Now, honestly score each segment of your life as it is today.
On a separate piece of paper write out your first heading. Let’s take Health. Imagine I scored it a 5. Your task now is to create a short plan for how to get to step 6, 7,8,9 and then 10.
It should look something like this:
To get to 6 I need to… Eat 5 portions of fruit/vegetables a day and walk 20 minutes 3 times a week
To get to 7 I need to…Eat 3 meals a day with 2 healthy snacks and walk 20mins 4x a week.
Repeat until you get to 10 and feel you have completed the task to your complete satisfaction.
Your 10 should be achievable and realistic. I was born with long lean legs and big boobs. No matter how well I eat or train I am never going to alter my basic shape.
Useful tip: This exercise should be fun. It’s aim is to get you focused on the areas of life causing you the most dissatisfaction or stress and get you doing something about it in easy bite size pieces.
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