Why do I need a Life Plan?

A life plan is a key technique in self help, self improvement or self development activity.

I think it’s pretty self-evident that some kind of planning is better than no planning whatever we do in life, whether it’s moving house, designing a garden or planning a wedding. Plans help you make sure that things get done, see the potential problems and can help keep you on track.

When it comes to lives, muddling through seems to be a popular approach. Most people’s plan for their lives (their most precious asset) is a half conscious ‘I know roughly where I want to be, but I haven’t got time to this now, let me get to the end of this week …’ kind of analysis. The majority of people spend more time planning their annual holiday than they do designing their lives. Some people have a business plan, but few have a life plan.

How much time do you spend thinking about what you really want out of your life? Or are you too on that treadmill of working, doing the ‘must dos’ and sleep.

I firmly believe that, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you don’t have a plan, its bit like going on a journey without a map or having planned the route. You will almost certainly end up somewhere other than you want to be.

According to research in the USA, less than 5% of people have specific goals in life and less than 3% have written them down. So if you were to spend some time analysing and planning your life, you would fall into a very select group!

How much of a plan do you need? Not much actually, in fact, if you look at (very good) books like the One Minute Manager (by Kenneth H Blanchard and Spencer Johnson), you will see that human beings find it difficult to handle more than a few distinct objectives at a time. We all know why a good executive summary is useful – we don’t have the time or the inclination to do the detail – we need a small number of aims, goals or objectives. To get to those I think some detailed analysis is vital. If you want to come up with a simple effective plan, you need to do the legwork. You need to spend some time analysing so that you understand the terrain and you have sifted the important from the unimportant. That way you won’t waste precious time and effort making the wrong moves and end up regretting them.

Analysis does improve decisions. And making decisions is regularly better than making no decisions. So get on with it. Get yourself a copy of Design for Life™ and get yourself a simple, practical life plan to help you make the improvements you want.

John Cornbill