When we are organizing a big party or event at home, we plan a lot. We list down – whom to invite, what the menu is, what the budget is, when to do, where to do, how to do, and so on. Generally, most of the events last for some hours or a day, but we spend weeks or sometimes months of preparation to make it a great event. We go the extra mile to make it successful. All this just for a one-day long event. What about our life which spans for decades? Are we planning it enough? Do we spend at least a few hours planning our life? For many of us, the answer is no to these questions because we are busy living day-to-day life. We hardly take a pause and plan our life.
Many of us live life randomly as and when it happens. We don’t plan it even 50% like we do for an event at our home. We don’t plan the big picture of our life. We don’t plan the little details. And then when life happens, we crib, complain and wonder – why is life so unfair? Just imagine doing an event without any kind of planning. How would it end up? Messy, isn’t it? It ends up creating unhappy guests, wastage of money, wastage of time, stress, tension. Even if you are a good person, if you attempt to do an event without any kind of planning, it will be a disaster. Same is with life. Many of the unfair things in life, with some exceptions, happen because we don’t plan life properly.
We don’t plan our health and work for it. Hence, we end up in health issues. We don’t commit to improving our relationships. Hence the magic of relationships fades away with time. We don’t plan our finances. Hence, we end up in poor savings. Whether we are a good person or a bad person, our life ends up becoming messy when we don’t plan it enough. Planning your life is important to be happy in life. So, how to plan life?
4 steps to plan life
Step 1: First and foremost step in planning your life is to plan what kind of person you want to be no matter what life’s circumstances are. You define how you want to behave in your life irrespective of life’s ups and downs. So how do you want to be in life even when the entire world collapses? Even when life is not in your favor, what kind of person do you want to be? Disciplined? Punctual? Kind? Nice?Optimistic? Enjoying life? Being in control of emotions? Respecting others?
Choose some qualities that resonate with you and commit to living your life by these qualities. Your success in life is dependent on your attitude. So the first step in planning your life is building your attitude. Once you commit to being the kind of person you want to be, stick to your commitment, even though you may fail now and then. It’s ok to fail. What’s more important is to bounce back and start fresh again.
Step 2: Once you commit to being the kind of person you want to be in life, the next step is to create a grand vision for your life. Following your heart is not just following one aspect of life and neglecting other aspects of life. Success in the career at the cost of health and relationships is not worth it. Your grand life vision should include planning for different categories of your life. These categories of life are your categories of improvement, which you need to constantly focus on because only those areas of life which you focus on will improve. For example, if you are focussed only on your career and don’t take enough time to think of your family or health, your career will flourish, but the other two aspects of your life will be negatively impacted. So, your life vision should be holistic, which includes all areas of life. Life is like a rainbow, and it needs all colors. All aspects of your life should be included in your life vision.
Below are six important categories of life which need your planning, focus and constant improvement.
1. Health and Fitness – This category is about your body related aspects like body weight, strength, stamina, immunity, etc
2. Character – This category is about your thinking, emotions, qualities and the kind of person you are like being disciplined, truthful, hardworking, loving, patient, honest, kind, etc
3. Spirituality – This category is about connecting with the divine through meditation, prayers, etc
These first 3 categories are your foundational categories that build your body, mind, and soul. Based on the strength of the above 3 foundations, below 3 categories are built.
1. Relationships – This category is about various relationships of your life, such as spouse, children, parents, colleagues, etc
2. Career and Finances – This category is about your financial well-being and your work-related aspects like your salary, savings, etc
3. Lifestyle – This category is about the different experiences you want in your life like your dream home, your travel, your car, etc
These 6 categories make you and define your life. The amount of focus and attention you give to these 6 categories of your life determines the quality of your life. Write down your grand life vision, which encompasses all categories of your life. Your life vision is your blueprint for your life.
Step 3: Once we create our life vision and identify categories of life on which we need to work, the next step is to think and plan deeply about these categories. We need to ask 4 critical questions in each of these categories.
1. What do I believe about this category? This question is about understanding your beliefs about a category. Write down honestly whatever you believe about a category. For example, for the category career and finances, if your belief is money is bad, it is a negative belief which cannot help you achieve your goals related to this category. So this belief needs to be removed and replaced with an empowering belief like money is good.
2. What do I want in this category? Clearly and specifically, write down what you want to achieve in each category. For example, for the health and fitness category, you can mention how you want your body to be. Write down what you want to achieve about your body in specific words. This step helps you create a vision for each category.
3. Why do I want to get it? For each category, once you write what you want, write down your reasons and purpose for wanting it. This step helps you find the ultimate purpose for each goal you defined in each category and increases your commitment to your goals. For example, for the relationship category, if your goal is a beautiful marriage, ask yourself why you want it.
4. What do I need to do to get it? In this step, define what actions you need to take to achieve your goal. This is your strategy and action plan. Your strategy consists of everything that you need to do to get closer to your goal. For example, in the category and finances, if your goal is promotion, list down all the action steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
Step 4: Once you define these 4 steps, for each category, define a 1-year goal. Define what you want to achieve in one next year. And break down the one-year goal into quarterly goals. Be clear as to what you want to achieve in the next quarter for each of these categories. Once you are clear with this step, create a plan for your week and day and schedule.
For example, if losing 20 kgs is your next 1-year goal, losing 5 kgs becomes your quarterly goal. Based on this quarterly goal and action plan you created, identify what you need to do this week and today and schedule the time. Unless you schedule, your plan does not become a reality. This is how you plan your week and day.
These are the 4 steps to plan your life. Once you have your life plan and start working every day towards your goals step by step, very soon, all areas of your life balance and you feel amazed at how much life has in store. Your health becomes better, your relationships improve, your character improves, your finances improve, you find greater peace, and you also fulfill your dreams. You seem to be having it all and people around you wonder – how is this possible? This is what planning your life can give you.
Initially, this may sound too much work but its worth doing it. Your life is precious, and it is worth a few hours of planning. Isn’t it?
Plan your life and create your destiny!