How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

Do you ever get the feeling your life has gone “off the rails”? Do you ever wonder, “How did I get here? I always thought my life would be something different. This is not what I had in mind.”

If so, you’re not alone. Many people have these feelings of vague uneasiness about their progress in life. And this is not only true of those who are 40 and over. Many in their twenties and thirties experience these same feelings.

Recently, I found myself in an unusual situation. I had achieved every goal on my list. My income, marriage, business, and social life, all in top condition. Yet I felt aimless. It was crazy. I even set new goals, to give myself something new to work toward. But I still felt that nagging sensation of being adrift.

Right about this time, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy sent me an early copy of their new book. It’s called Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. What a “coincidence.”

While reading the book, I had a flash of insight. Having good goals is not the same as having a life you designed.

Sometimes we’re so busy scoring points, we forget we never chose to play this game.

This may be common wisdom. But common wisdom is not common practice. I needed a more comprehensive plan for my life. I wrote just such a plan, and it has made all the difference.

What Is a Life Plan?

This term, “life plan” gets thrown around a lot. It means different things to different people. I think it’s useful to be clear what I mean when I say that I created a Life Plan. I used the book Living Forward as the blueprint to create my plan. I’ll share the definition the authors give in the book:

A Life Plan is a short written document, usually eight to fifteen pages long. It is created by you and for you. It describes how you want to be remembered. It articulates your personal priorities. It provides the specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life. It is most of all a living document that you will tweak and adjust as necessary for the rest of your life.”
From Living Forward

I highly recommend you consider writing your own Life Plan. In fact, I’ll take it a step further. Even if you’re not “the kind of person” who does things like “life planning”… you should design a Life Plan. Why? There are at leat 3 reasons.

3 Major Benefits of a Life Plan

There are many benefits to having a Life Plan. In Living Forward, Michael and Daniel share six. There are the three that I found most important. A properly written Life Plan…

  1. Clarifies your priorities. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience. Many decisions are easy to get right… if we know our priorities in advance. And many decisions almost impossible to get right if we don’t. Writing your Life Plan will help you get clear on how your priorities rank. For instance, let’s assume your priorities rank as follows: God, health, family, and work. Knowing this makes your life simpler. You won’t struggle when the boss asks you to stay late and miss your daughter’s dance recital. You will know where that priority ranks, and you’ll have no problem saying, “Sorry, boss. I don’t miss my daughter’s recitals. I’ll do this work tomorrow.”
  2. Keeps you balanced. If you’ve followed my work for even a short while, you may know I believe “life balance” is a myth. When most people speak of “life balance”, what they mean is, “Every important part of my life gets equal amounts of time and attention.” Not only is that difficult, it’s impossible. The real key to “life balance” is giving each area the right amount of attention at any given moment. A Life Plan helps you do this, serving as a kind of “compass” that keeps you on course.
  3. Helps you sort through opportunities. For many people, the biggest problem they face is not a lack of opportunities — it’s too many! That may sound hard to believe, but if you’re this situation (even a “little”) you already know what I’m talking about. You are a busy person, doing well in business and life… and opportunities just keep popping up. It may seem like you’re in a season of having the “Midas Touch” — everything you touch turns to gold. The problem is, nobody has time to do all the good things that come our way. As Michael Hyatt says, “You can do anything you want. but you can’t do everything you want.” But how do you sift through the opportunities and decide which to refuse? Having a Life Plan will help make these decisions easier. Know your life’s objectives. Then it’s easy to see whether new “opportunity” moves you toward your objective — or away from it.

Perhaps by now you’re convinced you need a Life Plan. How, exactly, do you create one?

The Fastest, Easiest, and Best Way To Write Your Life Plan

There are many options for creating a Life Plan. They range from just “winging it” (making something up from thin air) to hiring a personal coach. I have an alternative recommendation. Just grab a copy of Living Forward. At the time I’m writing this, you get $360 in free bonus materials for ordering now. This ends soon (on Monday, February 29, 2016.) So don’t wait – click here to get your book now.

Living Forward is a quick & simple, step-by-step guide. It will help you stop “drifting” through life, figure out where you want to go, and develop a simple plan to get there. Best of all, you can work through the process and have your new Life Plan finished in a single day.

Do you already have a Life Plan? If not, how do you think your life would be different if you had a clear plan for every major area?

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

To be successful in your life, you need to have a life plan. Without a plan, many of your dreams will only be dreams. A life plan, on the other hand, will help you turn your dreams into reality. It works because it gives you not a just a destination, but also a way to get there.

A life plan doesn’t have to be complicated. It should answer just two questions:

  1. What is your destination?
  2. How will you get there?

Let’s look at them one by one.

What is Your Destination?

You should know where you are going. Not knowing your destination is a mistake because you may end up in the wrong place. You need to know where you want to go so that you don’t waste your time and effort.

Here are some tips related to finding your destination:

1. Create your life map

To see how your life will be in the future, it’s helpful to see how your life has been in the past. By creating a life map, you can see patterns in your life that help you find out where you should go. Look backward, connect the dots in your life, and project them into the future.

2. Find your life purpose

Your life purpose gives you meaning in everything you do. It helps you do what matters to you and makes your life fulfilling. Without a purpose, you may achieve much but feel empty inside. Take the time to find your purpose in life.

3. Discover your big dreams

The size of your dreams has a lot to do with living in mediocrity. If your dreams are small, there is no reason for you to move past mediocrity. It’s easier to just live a comfortable life. On the other hand, if your dreams are big, you have to move past mediocrity to make your dreams come true. So discover the big dreams in you.

4. Make short-term goals

You should know what your final destination is, but you should also have milestones along the way. These milestones help you stay on track. They help you know whether or not you are on the right path to reach your destination.

You create the milestones by breaking your long-term goals into short-term ones. What do you want to achieve this year? What do you want to achieve this month? What do you want to achieve today?

5. Keep refining

Knowing your destination is a process. If you are like me, you will refine your destination over time. It’s like zooming in a picture. At first you see the big picture, but after zooming it in you can see its details. Similarly, perhaps you can only see the big picture of your destination now. That’s fine. Follow it. Along the way, you will find clues that make the picture clearer.

How Will You Get There?

After knowing your destination, you need to know how to get there. Here are some tips related to it:

1. Find and communicate your personal brand

To achieve your goals, you need to market yourself. You need to find the unique value you can provide to others and communicate it. This way people know that they can come to you to meet their needs.

2. Have some guiding principles

There are a lot of distractions along the way to your destination. To prevent yourself from being distracted, you need to have some guiding principles. You need to identify the value you believe in. These principles help you stay true to yourself in everything you do.

3. Find your deliberate practice

Doing deliberate practice is important if you want to be remarkable. Deliberate practice is the kind of practice that stretches the boundaries of your capabilities. A good rule of thumb is you need about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a world-class expert in a field. Find out where you should invest that 10,000 hours.

4. Use tacking strategy

The world constantly changes so you need to constantly adapt. That’s why tacking – a term taken from the world of sailing – is a good strategy to apply. With tacking you set a short-term objective, work hard to achieve it, evaluate your performance, and adjust accordingly.

Executing Your Life Plan

After knowing your destination and how to get there, you need to execute your plan. Here are some tips on executing your life plan:

1. Focus

There is no question that focus is essential to achieve your goals. Without focus, you will spread your effort and attention too thin and eventually achieve nothing. Be careful though. You should be focused but not obsessed.

2. Be persistent

You should be persistent because failure is inevitable on your way to success. Without persistence, it’s easy to get discouraged in the face of failure and stop before reaching your destination. Have faith and keep pushing forward.

3. Build relationships

Nobody can succeed alone. You need the support of other people to succeed. So build your network before you need it.

4. Start now

A good plan vigorously executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.
George S. Patton

Don’t wait until your plan is perfect before you start. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Start now. You will learn more by doing than by waiting.

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

We all have objectives we want to hit. This includes our personal goals and our goals for our companies. Unfortunately, most of us never draw up a roadmap for how we are going to reach our targets. When we look at why this is, it usually comes from being overly ambitious. We think we can just change everything at once, so we don’t need a step-by-step game plan. This is often why we don’t succeed. Changing your complete way of life is tough, and doing it all at once is a sure road to failure. Instead, try this approach:

Step 1: Have an enormous goal but break it down into one habit to start.

Whenever New Year’s resolutions come around, I always hear a majority of my friends say they are going to get in shape. They begin by listing all the poor habits they have, and then decide to do a complete makeover. Within a week, they go back to their old habits.

This is because they have a goal but never broke it down. You need challenging goals that you want to achieve. They should be big and ambitious. The problem comes with the next step. You should not try to change your complete way of life, but instead home in on one habit to start. Why? Because changing one part of your life is much easier then trying to do a 180-degree change in a day.

Going back to our get-in-shape example, let’s take two scenarios. The first is the most common, in which we change five or six habits at once and then after a week go back to our old ways. The second scenario is that we just focus on running every day for 30 minutes. The second scenario has a much higher chance of success, and it will allow you to begin the process of getting to that giant goal.

Step 2: Master that one habit.

Once you decide on the one habit that will help you start moving toward your goal, make sure you do it every day. According to scientists, it takes 66 days to turn an action into a habit. Do whatever it takes to get to those 66 days. An easy way to do this is to add your habit in your calendar. Let your family and friends know that for the next two months you’ll be practicing this action religiously.

Jay Papasan, a co-author of The One Thing, advises making use of time blocks. Block a certain point every day to make sure this habit is done. Over time, your colleagues and loved ones will learn to adjust to your new schedule. This step is the hardest part to reaching your goal, but as you get closer to the 66th day, it’ll start to become much easier.

Step 3: Once mastered, add another habit.

When you’ve mastered your first habit, the hard work is over. Now you can start to add more routines in your life that will get you closer to your goal. Remember to still stay with one action at a time. Our bodies will be overloaded if we try to take on too many changes at once. Also make sure that you keep the same focus on each new habit you learn. Humans are not built for multitasking, and trying to work on a change while checking your email or texting won’t work.

Over time, you’ll find that adding more changes to your life will become much easier. As with most things, the first time is the hardest. Eventually, your body becomes programmed to adapt to these changes. This will allow you to make transitions more smoothly. As you build up these habits, your goal will start to get much closer. If I mastered running for 30 minutes, that’s a good start. After 66 days, let’s say I start to master eating healthy six days a week. Once that’s complete, I move to mastering weight training. As long as I keep going habit by habit, I will reach my goal of getting in shape. By the time I get to my next New Year’s, getting in shape won’t be a goal but instead an accomplishment.

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

We all have objectives we want to hit. This includes our personal goals and our goals for our companies. Unfortunately, most of us never draw up a roadmap for how we are going to reach our targets. When we look at why this is, it usually comes from being overly ambitious. We think we can just change everything at once, so we don’t need a step-by-step game plan. This is often why we don’t succeed. Changing your complete way of life is tough, and doing it all at once is a sure road to failure. Instead, try this approach:

Step 1: Have an enormous goal but break it down into one habit to start.

Whenever New Year’s resolutions come around, I always hear a majority of my friends say they are going to get in shape. They begin by listing all the poor habits they have, and then decide to do a complete makeover. Within a week, they go back to their old habits.

This is because they have a goal but never broke it down. You need challenging goals that you want to achieve. They should be big and ambitious. The problem comes with the next step. You should not try to change your complete way of life, but instead home in on one habit to start. Why? Because changing one part of your life is much easier then trying to do a 180-degree change in a day.

Going back to our get-in-shape example, let’s take two scenarios. The first is the most common, in which we change five or six habits at once and then after a week go back to our old ways. The second scenario is that we just focus on running every day for 30 minutes. The second scenario has a much higher chance of success, and it will allow you to begin the process of getting to that giant goal.

Step 2: Master that one habit.

Once you decide on the one habit that will help you start moving toward your goal, make sure you do it every day. According to scientists, it takes 66 days to turn an action into a habit. Do whatever it takes to get to those 66 days. An easy way to do this is to add your habit in your calendar. Let your family and friends know that for the next two months you’ll be practicing this action religiously.

Jay Papasan, a co-author of The One Thing, advises making use of time blocks. Block a certain point every day to make sure this habit is done. Over time, your colleagues and loved ones will learn to adjust to your new schedule. This step is the hardest part to reaching your goal, but as you get closer to the 66th day, it’ll start to become much easier.

Step 3: Once mastered, add another habit.

When you’ve mastered your first habit, the hard work is over. Now you can start to add more routines in your life that will get you closer to your goal. Remember to still stay with one action at a time. Our bodies will be overloaded if we try to take on too many changes at once. Also make sure that you keep the same focus on each new habit you learn. Humans are not built for multitasking, and trying to work on a change while checking your email or texting won’t work.

Over time, you’ll find that adding more changes to your life will become much easier. As with most things, the first time is the hardest. Eventually, your body becomes programmed to adapt to these changes. This will allow you to make transitions more smoothly. As you build up these habits, your goal will start to get much closer. If I mastered running for 30 minutes, that’s a good start. After 66 days, let’s say I start to master eating healthy six days a week. Once that’s complete, I move to mastering weight training. As long as I keep going habit by habit, I will reach my goal of getting in shape. By the time I get to my next New Year’s, getting in shape won’t be a goal but instead an accomplishment.

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Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

Absodels / Getty Images

While the body’s physiological stress response—the fight or flight response—is virtually universal, the way that stress impacts us is as unique to each individual as the events that cause us stress in the first place. Simply put, we all respond to stressful events in our own way, and our responses to stress affect us in ways that are unique as well. Why is this?

Stress Triggers

We’re all affected differently by life’s events. While extreme events like a physical attack by a violent stranger or the diagnosis of a serious illness produce a strong stress response in virtually everyone, many everyday events on the job or at home will be experienced as stressful by some and exciting, challenging, or even exhilarating by others. What accounts for these differences?

  • Past Experience: We all carry “baggage,” and that affects our current thought patterns and how we conceptualize what’s going on today. These thought patterns impact whether we see something as positive or negative, challenging or stressful, etc.
  • Temperament and Personality Traits: Some of us are simply born more reactive to stress than others. Differences in temperament can be observed in infants as young as one day old, and these traits affect how we’re affected by life—for life.
  • Overall Lifestyle: Those who lead busy and stressful lives tend to have fewer reserves to help deal with stress. They also tend to encounter more triggers.
  • Stress Symptoms: Some of us process stress differently, which can lead to certain coping skills being more effective or not effective at all.

Stress Response Differences

How we respond to stress can alter the impact that stress has on us. While some people will deal with a stressful day by hitting the gym or hugging their children, other people may drink to excess or lash out at others. Additionally, some people find stress to be a minor inconvenience while others are completely overwhelmed.

Dealing with stress in a healthier way tends to create resilience, of course; ineffective coping can increase the negative effects of stress. What accounts for the different ways people deal with stress?

  • Physiological Factors: Just like some people are just born more emotionally reactive, some have more sensitive physiology and find that stress impacts their blood pressure, induces headaches, or causes other physical responses. Likewise, the way you care for your body in terms of a healthy diet, quality sleep, and regular exercise—or lack thereof—can impact your reactivity to stress.
  • Coping Techniques: We all have our different ways of coping with stress, and some of these techniques are healthier and more beneficial than others. If you find that yourself using alcohol, emotional eating, or responding to stress in other less-than-healthy ways, it’s time to find new ways of reducing stress. Over time, they’ll become automatic, and will replace your more unhealthy responses.
  • Learned Behavior: How we respond to the stress in our lives is shaped by our early experiences and cemented over time. Our habits play a role as well. Those with healthy habits tend to handle stress more effectively.

Protective Factors

Certain features in your life can also keep you somewhat insulated from stress. Those with a supportive network of friends and other personal resources tend to be less affected by stress and deal with their stress more efficiently.

We can’t stop stressors from being a part of life (and we wouldn’t want to eliminate all stress, even if it were possible), which is why effective stress management focuses more on minimizing our triggers, altering our responses, and building up our resources and protective factors so that we’re less negatively impacted by stress. Because stress is such an individual experience, it’s important to have a stress relief plan that works for you.

The following resources (as well as the links above) can help you to find ways to relieve stress that work best for your individual situation. You may want to quickly skim each resource and take away information that stands out to you, or focus more deeply on each resource and work on integrating the principles into your life in a more significant way.

Stress Reliever Personality Test

This stress reliever personality test will allow you to answer a few questions about your lifestyle and personality, and then direct you to stress relievers that may fit best for your particular situation. It’s a useful tool for those who want to begin with techniques that are most likely to work for them.

Emergency Stress Relief Resources

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and just want something to help you relieve stress quickly, review these methods for reversing your stress response right away, so you can more effectively deal with the issues at hand. (They can provide a nice ‘quick fix’ until you can get more long-term stress management strategies in place.)

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

Creating a personal development plan can help you grow at work and beyond.

A personal development plan can help you gain control of your life. Whether you have big goals (publish a best seller) or small ones (read one book a month), the best way to hold yourself accountable is to write your goals down, set deadlines, and revisit the document often.

This post contains information and resources to help you create a personal development plan:

  • An example
  • A template
  • 4 best practices

To start, I’d like to share my own personal development plan as an example.

This is my personal development plan.

Before I explain how to create a personal development plan, I’m going to let myself be vulnerable. I’m going to share my own real-life personal development plan. Here’s why:

  • Leaders should be transparent : As a manager, how can I expect my employees to open up and be honest with me if I’m too afraid to open up and be honest with them?
  • Personal growth should be celebrated : Let’s shed the stigma attached to the term “self-improvement.” Whether you’re trying to learn a fifth language or quit smoking cigarettes, setting goals and working to reach them is admirable.
  • Writing a personal development plan can be overwhelming : Maybe you went through a brainstorming exercise and came out with a mountain of goals. It can be hard to know which goals to prioritize—and how to format the document. Examples help.

Who should create a personal development plan? Everyone in the company, from the CEO down to the individual contributors. No matter who you are, you can always develop skills and knowledge; you can always become a better version of yourself.

For years, I struggled to find a personal development format I liked. Then a co-worker shared hers with me, and I’ve been using her template ever since. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.

Without further ado, here’s my personal development plan :

I love this format because of its simplicity. As an added bonus, the fun rainbow colors make me smile every time I look at it. And that positive feeling fuels my growth mindset—it pushes me to stretch beyond my comfort level to become better.

How to create a personal development plan

Here are four best practices for creating a personal development plan—and ensuring its efficacy:

1. Think categorically.

This personal development plan template works because it takes the guesswork out of goal setting. It pushes you to think categorically about which short-term and long-term goals you’d like to focus on. Many employees think their boss wants them to prioritize professional growth, but that’s just one piece of the personal growth puzzle.

This template spotlights six personal development categories that span Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs . You can modify these to fit your own unique needs. For example, you might add spirituality, volunteering, or mental health.

It can be helpful to run through a brainstorming session using a comprehensive personal development template. Then, with lots of great ideas in front of you, use the simpler template to organize a few goals you want to prioritize.

Do you ever get the feeling your life has gone “off the rails”? Do you ever wonder, “How did I get here? I always thought my life would be something different. This is not what I had in mind.”

If so, you’re not alone. Many people have these feelings of vague uneasiness about their progress in life. And this is not only true of those who are 40 and over. Many in their twenties and thirties experience these same feelings.

Recently, I found myself in an unusual situation. I had achieved every goal on my list. My income, marriage, business, and social life, all in top condition. Yet I felt aimless. It was crazy. I even set new goals, to give myself something new to work toward. But I still felt that nagging sensation of being adrift.

Right about this time, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy sent me an early copy of their new book. It’s called Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. What a “coincidence.”

While reading the book, I had a flash of insight. Having good goals is not the same as having a life you designed.

Sometimes we’re so busy scoring points, we forget we never chose to play this game.

This may be common wisdom. But common wisdom is not common practice. I needed a more comprehensive plan for my life. I wrote just such a plan, and it has made all the difference.

What Is a Life Plan?

This term, “life plan” gets thrown around a lot. It means different things to different people. I think it’s useful to be clear what I mean when I say that I created a Life Plan. I used the book Living Forward as the blueprint to create my plan. I’ll share the definition the authors give in the book:

A Life Plan is a short written document, usually eight to fifteen pages long. It is created by you and for you. It describes how you want to be remembered. It articulates your personal priorities. It provides the specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life. It is most of all a living document that you will tweak and adjust as necessary for the rest of your life.”
From Living Forward

I highly recommend you consider writing your own Life Plan. In fact, I’ll take it a step further. Even if you’re not “the kind of person” who does things like “life planning”… you should design a Life Plan. Why? There are at leat 3 reasons.

3 Major Benefits of a Life Plan

There are many benefits to having a Life Plan. In Living Forward, Michael and Daniel share six. There are the three that I found most important. A properly written Life Plan…

  1. Clarifies your priorities. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience. Many decisions are easy to get right… if we know our priorities in advance. And many decisions almost impossible to get right if we don’t. Writing your Life Plan will help you get clear on how your priorities rank. For instance, let’s assume your priorities rank as follows: God, health, family, and work. Knowing this makes your life simpler. You won’t struggle when the boss asks you to stay late and miss your daughter’s dance recital. You will know where that priority ranks, and you’ll have no problem saying, “Sorry, boss. I don’t miss my daughter’s recitals. I’ll do this work tomorrow.”
  2. Keeps you balanced. If you’ve followed my work for even a short while, you may know I believe “life balance” is a myth. When most people speak of “life balance”, what they mean is, “Every important part of my life gets equal amounts of time and attention.” Not only is that difficult, it’s impossible. The real key to “life balance” is giving each area the right amount of attention at any given moment. A Life Plan helps you do this, serving as a kind of “compass” that keeps you on course.
  3. Helps you sort through opportunities. For many people, the biggest problem they face is not a lack of opportunities — it’s too many! That may sound hard to believe, but if you’re this situation (even a “little”) you already know what I’m talking about. You are a busy person, doing well in business and life… and opportunities just keep popping up. It may seem like you’re in a season of having the “Midas Touch” — everything you touch turns to gold. The problem is, nobody has time to do all the good things that come our way. As Michael Hyatt says, “You can do anything you want. but you can’t do everything you want.” But how do you sift through the opportunities and decide which to refuse? Having a Life Plan will help make these decisions easier. Know your life’s objectives. Then it’s easy to see whether new “opportunity” moves you toward your objective — or away from it.

Perhaps by now you’re convinced you need a Life Plan. How, exactly, do you create one?

The Fastest, Easiest, and Best Way To Write Your Life Plan

There are many options for creating a Life Plan. They range from just “winging it” (making something up from thin air) to hiring a personal coach. I have an alternative recommendation. Just grab a copy of Living Forward. At the time I’m writing this, you get $360 in free bonus materials for ordering now. This ends soon (on Monday, February 29, 2016.) So don’t wait – click here to get your book now.

Living Forward is a quick & simple, step-by-step guide. It will help you stop “drifting” through life, figure out where you want to go, and develop a simple plan to get there. Best of all, you can work through the process and have your new Life Plan finished in a single day.

Do you already have a Life Plan? If not, how do you think your life would be different if you had a clear plan for every major area?

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

Creating a personal development plan can help you grow at work and beyond.

A personal development plan can help you gain control of your life. Whether you have big goals (publish a best seller) or small ones (read one book a month), the best way to hold yourself accountable is to write your goals down, set deadlines, and revisit the document often.

This post contains information and resources to help you create a personal development plan:

  • An example
  • A template
  • 4 best practices

To start, I’d like to share my own personal development plan as an example.

This is my personal development plan.

Before I explain how to create a personal development plan, I’m going to let myself be vulnerable. I’m going to share my own real-life personal development plan. Here’s why:

  • Leaders should be transparent : As a manager, how can I expect my employees to open up and be honest with me if I’m too afraid to open up and be honest with them?
  • Personal growth should be celebrated : Let’s shed the stigma attached to the term “self-improvement.” Whether you’re trying to learn a fifth language or quit smoking cigarettes, setting goals and working to reach them is admirable.
  • Writing a personal development plan can be overwhelming : Maybe you went through a brainstorming exercise and came out with a mountain of goals. It can be hard to know which goals to prioritize—and how to format the document. Examples help.

Who should create a personal development plan? Everyone in the company, from the CEO down to the individual contributors. No matter who you are, you can always develop skills and knowledge; you can always become a better version of yourself.

For years, I struggled to find a personal development format I liked. Then a co-worker shared hers with me, and I’ve been using her template ever since. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.

Without further ado, here’s my personal development plan :

I love this format because of its simplicity. As an added bonus, the fun rainbow colors make me smile every time I look at it. And that positive feeling fuels my growth mindset—it pushes me to stretch beyond my comfort level to become better.

How to create a personal development plan

Here are four best practices for creating a personal development plan—and ensuring its efficacy:

1. Think categorically.

This personal development plan template works because it takes the guesswork out of goal setting. It pushes you to think categorically about which short-term and long-term goals you’d like to focus on. Many employees think their boss wants them to prioritize professional growth, but that’s just one piece of the personal growth puzzle.

This template spotlights six personal development categories that span Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs . You can modify these to fit your own unique needs. For example, you might add spirituality, volunteering, or mental health.

It can be helpful to run through a brainstorming session using a comprehensive personal development template. Then, with lots of great ideas in front of you, use the simpler template to organize a few goals you want to prioritize.

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

A work plan is a set of goals and processes by which a team can accomplish those goals. It can be used in professional or private life and help you stay organized while working on projects.

Typically, work plans are used to organize large projects. Any structured work plan gives teams the project framework and the background, helps to visualize goals and timelines defined for the overall project.

A work plan breaks down all the tasks, and assigns different items to specific project members, providing them with individual timelines. It helps project managers to oversee the big picture while managing smaller project parts.

Sometimes project details can slow you down and complicate the entire processes. Optimizing the planning phase of a project can be a real lifesaver.

A work plan can be represented as the formal roadmap for a project or a structure, visualized with the help of Gantt Charts.

Anyway, it should clearly articulate all the required steps to achieve a key goal by setting demonstrable objectives and measurable deliverables.

An effective plan is a guiding document aimed to realize an outcome through efficient team collaboration.

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

1. Identify the goal for your work plan

The first thing you should do is to determine the goal up front to be prepared properly. Planning work, you’ll show your supervisor what projects you will be working on over the next defined period. These goals may come right after an annual performance review. You may also define your work plan after strategic planning sessions your company holds at the beginning of a new calendar year.

2. Write a background or intro

A background or introduction are usually written for professional business work plans. They help to put your work plan into context.

The intro should be short and engaging and remind your superiors why you are creating this work plan. In the background, you should highlight the reasons for creating the work plan.

3. Define the objectives

Goals and objectives point to things you want to accomplish through your work plan. Temporary or medium goals are general, while objectives are more specific.

  • Goals are usually focused on the big picture of your project.
  • Objectives should be tangible and specific. You should be able to check them off your list when you accomplish them.

SMART-concept for setting the right goals and objectives may be really helpful.

Do you remember the meanings of SMART acronym parts?

  • S-Specific. What exactly are we going to do for whom?
  • M-Measurable. Is your objective quantifiable and can you measure it? Can you count the results?
  • A-Achievable. Can you get it done in the time allotted with the resources you have?
  • R-Relevant. Will this objective have an effect on the desired goal or strategy?
  • T-Time bound. When will the objective be accomplished? When will you know you are done?

4. Create a list of your resources

This list should include anything that will be necessary for you to achieve your goals and objectives. It’s about books, docs, buildings, rooms, financial budget, consultants, and so on.

5. Think about constraints

Here you may identify any obstacles that may get in the way of achieving your goals and objectives.

6. Define who is accountable

Accountability is an essential part of a good plan. At this stage, you’d better identify who is responsible for completing each task. It can be a single team member or the entire team.

7. Time to move to your strategy

Now look over your work plan and decide how you’ll reach your goals and objectives by overcoming all constraints. Think about an appropriate project management software or a personal calendar to keep this information organized.

Schedule every step. Keep in mind that unexpected things happen and you need to build space into your schedule to prevent falling behind.

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

It’s important to permanently monitor project performance and periodically review against the objectives stated in the work plan.

Tasks progress can be tracked with Excel or Google sheets. However, it can be more effectively accomplished within the PM software that often includes team collaboration features and different templates.

Hygger provides the ease of use tools with strong team collaboration features that are suitable for any project.

For examples, you may visualize your plans with the help of easy to use roadmap:

How to make a life plan that works (with a life plan template)

Conclusion

Aligning your plan with project goals and objectives, matching reporting complexity to your project scope, and scheduling all team’s steps you will be able to create a more effective work plan for any project.

It doesn’t matter whether you manage simple tasks or complex portfolio management, do not forget about easy steps for creating powerful work plans that really matter.