7 Reasons Why You Need a Written Life Plan

Last week, I did a teleseminar for a group of 150 financial advisors. We talked about the importance of creating a written life plan.

A Businessman with a Map - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/urbancow, Image #3222307

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/urbancow

Even though these professionals routinely create financial plans for their clients, most had never considered creating a life plan for themselves. It was a new idea. They wanted to know why I thought this was important.

I explained that most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than identifying what outcomes they want to see in the major areas of their lives.

In other words, most people wander aimlessly from week to week, with no clear destination in mind. Many are then surprised when life doesn’t turn out like they hoped. But is it any wonder?

This is why I believe everyone—especially leaders—should take the time to create a written life plan document. There are at least seven reasons why I believe this is important:

  1. A life plan will help you clarify your most important priorities. Your boss has a set of priorities for you. So does your spouse. Perhaps others do, too. But what about you? Do you have a list? What is important to you?
  2. A life plan will enable you to maintain balance. Some people sacrifice their marriage for their career. Others sacrifice their health or their relationship with their children. But what if you could have robust health, an excellent marriage, and a successful career? I’m here to tell you it is possible—but only if you have a plan.
  3. A life plan will provide a filter by which you can say “no” to lesser things. Once you have said “yes” to what matters most, you are in a great position to say “no” to those activities that matter less. Suddenly you have the clarity—and the courage—to manage your opportunities rather than to be managed by them.
  4. A life plan will empower you to identify and address your current realities. You can’t get where you want to go unless you start with where you are. What are the most brutal realities of your life? Where are you falling short? Where do you know you need to improve?
  5. A life plan will equip you to envision a better future. You need to acknowledge where you are, but you also need to see clearly where you are going. What do you want in each of the major categories of your life? What would they look like in their ideal state? This is where it starts to get fun!
  6. A life plan will serve as a road map for accomplishing what matters most. Once you know where you are and where you are going, you are in a position to create an action plan for getting there. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do have to identify the mile-markers and waypoints along the journey. A life plan does that.
  7. A life plan will help ensure that you don’t finish life with regrets. For many people, life is not turning out like they had hoped. They are disappointed, confused, and discouraged. But it doesn’t have to be this way. While you can’t control everything, you can live your life with a plan and dramatically improve your chances of ending up at a destination you choose.

So, how do you get started? For a limited time, you can download my free e-book, Creating Your Personal Life Plan. (The only catch is that you have to subscribe to my free email newsletter first. But it’s easy and fast. You can also unsubscribe at any time. No questions asked.)

New York Times bestselling author John Maxwell said this about the e-book:

Many people talk about the importance of having a plan for your life, but no one could really tell you how to create one. Until now. In this ONE-OF-A-KIND e-book, Michael Hyatt explains exactly how to create a life plan. It will equip you to live your live on purpose, achieving what matters most in every aspect of your life.”

My 94-page book will take you step-by-step through the life planning process. You will end up with a document that just might transform your life. What have you got to lose?

Question: What would a written life plan make possible for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    Hi Mike, 

    A doctor once told me that at the end of their lives patients didn’t worry over what had happened to them, ie the hard knocks they had along the way but….

    painfully regretted all the things they didn’t do.

    Maybe a life plan is one way to ensure that doesn’t happen.

    Ivan

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=699826915 Leeann VanWinckel

      Thx for this comment.  I relate:  at 44 I know my values would have had me do this 20 years ago… Got so off track.  No do-overs.  This is good…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Indeed, it is.

    • http://darensirbough.tumblr.com Daren Sirbough

      Great thought. Since I’m young I can learn off his mistakes. In the future, someone will learn from mine.

      Daren

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        That’s how I learn from history Daren!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      True Ivan ! Life plan is helps us to keep reminding ourselves of our destiny.

  • Gareth

    Yes, yes yes!

    I started making life plans a few years ago (only 7, one line bullet points at the time) and they have transformed my life. I’m not more ‘successful’ or richer or anything, I’m just so much more fruitful in what I need to do.

    I could go on, but in short, it genuinely has changed my world.

    Thanks, Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Gareth.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Gareth, thanks for giving us the bottom line–not wealth or success, but fruitfulness. Good word to remember.–Tom

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      Great job.

      It is hard to get started, but once you do you will never look back!

      Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “much more fruitful in what I need to do” – That’s great Gareth

  • http://biz.blox.pl TesTeq

    Life plan can make me unhappy if it does not work.

    • http://purposefultimemanagement.com Marcia Francois

      hi, but imagine the possibilities of having lived a richer, more fulfilling life if you do have a list :)

      Try not to focus on the stuff not done, but on the stuff done.

      I have a birthday coming up on 6th Aug and I did a 36 things list last year. I “only” managed to finish about 29 of them, and I should do number 30 before the week’s out (pushing it, I know). I’m not focussing on the things not done, but rather on how I have done 29 amazing things this last year, both big and small!

      You can do it – go for it!

      • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

        Much congratulations on nailing 30 out of 36 items on your to do list this year!  I tend to think that if people nail everything on their list then they didn’t really challenge themselves enough.

      • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

        As Ian Cron said when Michael interviewed him, he likes to leave with “a couple of ideas left in the tank”. So, those six to dos become the next actions for your new list!

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        How has writing those 36 things down changed what you have done this past year? Would you have been as focused without the list?

      • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

        Great job Marcia,

        I just wrote my 100 item bucket list. To be honest it was hard to  do at first, but now I am working hard to get done with it.

        Jim

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Bucket list is always exciting adventure. I love that exercise

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

         To focus on the stuff done — That’s a practical advice Marcia.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=699826915 Leeann VanWinckel

      -You may be disappointed,  but only unhappy if  you hold the plan too tightly vs. knowing all along  that God can change it,  right?  :-)

      • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

        Mike is right, I believe it should be a working document. You should continue to grow and change with time.

        Jim

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s why this is a “living document.” You have to plan and adjust—constantly!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

      Life plans don’t work for many reasons – fear, procrastination, lack of self-discipline, unrealistic goals… the list goes on. I find that accountability helps a lot.

      The point of the life plan is not to have a rigid route, but to have a map. It works like a financial budget. One can make adjustments along the way but still aim at the destination. :)

      Coach Theresa

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Of course, there is no point in sticking to a rigid system in our life.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Do not worry. There will be always some Plan B

  • http://twitter.com/AmyHefferan Amy Hefferan

    Hi Michael, 
    I stumbled across your blog about two weeks ago. I’m digging through your old posts and loving every second, not to mention I’m excited every time a new one is posted! The e-book on life plans is awesome and the concept lines up with Andy Stanley’s book ‘The Principle of the Path’.  Thanks so much for taking the time to share you life, wisdom and insight! Beyond blessed and excited to have found this blog!
    Amy

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved Andy’s book. (In fact, I published it.). It is the same principle from a lightly different angle. Thanks.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Loved the book also. It does line up well with the “…Life Plan.”

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      That book is awesome. I felt like I was reliving my teenage years when Andy talks about that famous car ride. Mike’s life plan is great and I use his three year calendar. It works wonders in keeping you organized.

      Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Any Stanley is one of my favorites! I have enjoyed all his works.

  • Jan

    Hi Michael, thanks for this timely reminder. I downloaded your e-book about 6 weeks ago, I’ve talked through it all with my husband and shared the book with friends. We were all very positive about the structured change embracing this life plan would make. However, I have to admit I haven’t put anything in the accounts…this reminder has inspired me to do it today! Thanks. jan 

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Thanks for this. And thanks for Creating Your
    Personal Life Plan. I appreciate it and I know those financial advisors must appreciate it too.

    Once again, solid post.

    Blessings, MH!

  • Alfred

    One astonishing accomplishment I had from having a life plan was being able to identify so many ‘empty’ activities I was involved with. A life plan was able to help me know what should actually take my time by eliminating the seemingly good but irrelevant activities I engage in. Something noteworthy is the fact that while these activities are very important to other people, it is actually a distraction for me. So if it doesn’t fit [into my life plan], I don’t force it.
    Thanks Mike for the e-book.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Good point about activities important to others. A life plan keeps us on target and helps with saying yes to the right things and no to most everything else.

      • Alfred

        I really like the way you put it i.e. “no to most everything else”.  A friend once told me he realized that most activities that drains him and leaves him so exhausted are actually those he gets involved with just to please people or identify with the trend not particularly those relevant to his life goals.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        “saying yes to the right things and no to most everything else” — That’s important for everyone of us to succeed in life.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      Mike is exactly right. We spend more time planning vacation then we do planning our lives. Just ask a few people you work with what plans the have in place……….I bet almost no one has a plan.

      Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Yup! Weeding out the empty is as important as accomplishing the necessarys.

  • http://purposefultimemanagement.com Marcia Francois

    I absolutely agree with your post.

    For me, a written life plan gives me focus. I ask myself, “is this where I want to go, what I want my life to look at?” and then make decisions.

    thanks for your great ebook – it really is beautifully designed!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank you! I designed it myself—something I don’t often do but really enjoy.

  • http://drewcdavid.com Drew C David

    The thought of a Life Plan can initially feel restrictive, but a life without a plan is anything but freeing! Looking forward to using your e-book to help edit and rewrite my own Life Plan.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Kind of like playing a game without rules–frustrating, slow, and boring. Somewhere along the line you ask, “What’s the point?”–Tom

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      You will find it useful Drew!

  • http://www.helengullett.com Helen Gullett

    It would make me possible to move forward and the written life plan would be a good reminder for me because I can read it again and again when I need it. 

    It would make me possible to know my main goals & priorities of my given life. 

    I would make me possible to see which path to take

  • Anonymous

    Great post Michael – thank you.

    A while back I came across a post, from someone who worked with people who were dying. She had many conversations with them, and asked them what their biggest regret was. 

    The most common and biggest regret was ‘not having the courage to live a life true to who they were..’

    A life plan helps us do exactly that, avoiding the biggest regret most people experience at the end of their days..

    And so I would add – have within your life plan a goal to really connect with your true self, and live a life of authenticity to that truth..

    Thanks again,Paul.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for that story, Paul.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      In one of Mike’s previous post he talks about a book called Chasing Daylight. The CEO of KPMG finds out he is dying and writes a book on dying and his last 100 days…………it makes you really think about your “life plan”

      Jim

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        It reminded me that nothing is to be taken for granted in my life.

      • Anonymous

        I bought and read that book the other week Jim – really enjoyed it. Rich with meaning and purpose clarifying points..  Thanks.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      ‘not having the courage to live a life true to who they were..’ – Steve Jobs also asks us not to make this mistake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Knapsack Jeff Gill

    By the way, the book is quite solid and useful — IOW, it’s not just a come-on for the website/newsletter. That’s for everyone who read this, thought “I’d like to have a life plan,” but figured “this is probably just a come-on.” That kept me from downloading it for quite a while until a friend said “nope, good stuff.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for that. It makes me wonder if I would get more downloads if I charged for it. Hmmm.

  • Janellrardon

    Michael,
    I am so grateful to have found your blog yesterday! My husband and I are in the NEW NEST phase of parenting (I hate the term empty nest) and have had to really look at the future! We are implementing your life plan! Thanks so much!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great! Welcome. I hope you find the e-book useful.

  • Kimberli9

    I’m laying here, the victim of insomnia cruising the Internet out of boredom, literally shaking over what I just read. Could this really be the answer I’ve been seeking? A way to rise above the turmoil that a failed business and troubled economy have brought? I never had a plan but things were awesome by happy accident. Now I need to work at it but I don’t know how or where to start. This may be the answer. I will say I’m afraid to commit to specifics because I fear limiting myself or missing another happy accident, but I suppose I need to get over that…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, do get over it! I don’t know if this is the answer, but I do think the e-book will help you think through some important things. Thanks.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    A written life plan is putting long term goals on paper and finding out what is truly important in life. It takes the Covey thesis, Start with the end in mind, and allows you to see it in a practical and visual way. It allows you to focus on the “Big Rocks,” and put aside the urgent, but unimportant things, that consume our lives.

    For me it means finding my true calling in life.

    Working my way through it for 2011

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are exactly right, John. I can’t wait to see what God does next through your life. It matters!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Focusing on Covey thesis  has brought me many tangible benefits in my life.

  • Suzanneburden

    Your generosity in this–the ebook and the template–show true leadership. Thank you for leading the way for all of us, and inviting us to live life on purpose. You’ve made it easy!

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    The concept intrigues me and resonates practical wisdom. I guess I’ve always hesitated to plan my life because as a Christian taking control and making plans just wasn’t ‘spiritual’. I’m curious how do you combine God’s guidance and your planning?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I get this question a lot. I probably need to write a post on this. The short answer is this. God is a planner. As those made in his image, we are also called to plan; however, with a heart that acknowledges that God directs our steps. Thanks.

      • http://www.TehLemonsmith.com Tyler Smith

        Michael,

        I know that I would greatly benefit from a post on this topic. I grew up making plans, and then when God changed them I was left confused. Now the great question is on whether the plan I create is the plan that God wants me to follow.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      As a Christian taking control and making plans just wasn’t ‘spiritual’ – I have seen many many beleivers telling me this

  • Beth West

    I tried to download this the last time it was offered and was never able to figure out how to do it.  It sounds like a great e-book.  I have been enjoying your newsletter though.

  • T. Birts

    I encourage everyone reading this post to download Michael’s e book and develop a plan. His steps are simple yet comprehensive and I found that the process gave me such clarity! It is also very important to schedule that time with yourself to review the plan. If I’m struggling with anything, that’s probably it, but I just remember the work I devoted to creating the plan and that inspires me once again.

    I can’t say enough about it! Thanks Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Heady

    If for no other reason, I need to walk through and complete the E-Book for discipline sake.  Also, it will give me some boundaries for living life.  

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Boundaries always gives clarity in our journey

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    It’s sobering to read a couple comments below about conversations with individuals near death–their regrets about what they DIDN’T attempt with their lives.  Whether it be fear, laziness, or lack of taking the time to sit down and flesh out what I DO want, I don’t to be that guy. 

    I’ve worked on various versions of Life Plans over the last couple years. As a matter of fact, I love working on the plans. The speed bump is implementation. I know having the plan is half the battle, though.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      Brett,

      Mike shared with us a book called Jolt a month or two back. You should read it! It will help you kick start your life plan!

      Jim

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    If there is one thing I’ve learned from your blog, it’s all about the importance of being intentional in order to be successful at anything!

    • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

      That is a very succinct way of putting it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Bingo! That is exactly right. Thanks for picking up on that.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

       “being intentional in order to be successful at anything!” I am trying to be intentional in many areas in my life nowadays.

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    During my vacation this summer I used your e-book to write out my life plan.  I have to say that it was a challenging experience that forced me to really think through the direction my life was on.
    I also believe that once it is written it is essential to review it daily for the first month and then weekly until you do the quarterly review that you suggest.
    Thanks for putting out this great resource.

  • Rob Holliday

    Michael,
    This is a clarion call for me. Thank you, not only for taking the time to share this post, but for investing time to create this book. Two quotes came to mind reading this post:
    - “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”, John Lennon.
    - “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of”, Ben Franklin.

    Looking forward to putting this into good hard use.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the Ben Franklin quote!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for the two quotes Rob! I am taking that to my quotes bank

  • http://tellyourtime.com Amy Lynn Andrews

    I read your ebook back in March and was totally trackin’ with ya throughout. (In fact, I published an *eerily* similar ebook back in October of 2010 on the very same subject. I admit, I was greatly relieved that mine was ahead of yours by a few months lest anyone think I copied you! And I also admit it felt pretty good to know that I share the same approach with someone for whom I have great respect.) 

    One more step I take is to deliberately incorporate my “Specific Commitments” (as you refer to them) into my day or week by blocking out time in my schedule for that specific Account. For me, I find that when 5-6 am every day is designated for “Soul Care” (as I call it), then it’s much more likely to happen. 

    Would love to see your weekly schedule! (Maybe you’ve written about it and I missed it…)

    • http://tellyourtime.com Amy Lynn Andrews

      Ah! Found your Ideal Week post. Woot!

      • http://tellyourtime.com Amy Lynn Andrews

        Forgot about that post (sheesh, I even commented on it)…

        So, I’m with Laura one this post. Would love to see your new weekly schedule after leaving your role at Thomas Nelson. Did you ever post it after your sabbatical?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          No, I haven’t. But it is on my list!

          By the way, don’t feel badly about forgetting this. I FREQUENTLY forget stuff I have written. I think, I really should a post on that. No, wait. I already did!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Amy. Yes, I have written How to Better Control Your Time by Designing Your Ideal Week. Let me know what you think.

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    I downloaded a copy back when you first offered it and started reading it, but haven’t really sat down with it and tried to complete it. It seems like a written bigger scale version of just putting down goals as you suggested in a re-post a few days ago. It is something I will be working on in the next few weeks.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jonathan, I did the same thing. I’ve downloaded the book but I have not applied.

      • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

        Maybe we should use each other as a catalyst to work through the plan.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Jonathan, I’m up for it if you are.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Jonathan, I created a circle on Google+ to help give encouragement and accountability for doing the Life Plan. Let me know if you’d like into it.

          • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

            I haven’t had much time to explore (or figure out how to use) Google + yet. I’m in there somewhere. I’ll try to look for it later, I can’t access it from my work computer.

      • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

        Me three. I’ll bet there are more just like us.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Tony, I’m sure there are. Maybe we could form a group to help encourage each other to finish our life plans?

          • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

            I would like that. Let’s get started.

          • Joe Lalonde

            I think we could do this through email, CCing everyone that would like to get encouragement, or we could set up a circle on Google+. Let me know what sounds better.

            What I would like to see in the group:

            Encouragement to finish the plan
            Ideas shared about their plans
            Asking for and giving accountability to finish the plan
            Maybe a reading plan of the Life Plan, like you would in a book group
            Etc…

          • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

            I set up my Google+ on tonychung.ca@gmail.com to join Brad’s leadership circle. I don’t use it for much else, so this would tie in nicely. Thanks Joe!

          • Joe Lalonde

            Tony, I think I added you into a circle called Life Plan. Let me know if it worked.

          • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

            OK, now I’ve added a circle called Life Plan and added Tony Chung and Joe Lalonde. Anybody else in for a group motivation to create a personal life plan?

          • Joe Lalonde

            Hi Jonathan, We’ve started the Life Plan circle group in Google +. I haven’t seen you participate yet. Are you following along with it?

          • Joe Lalonde

            Hi Tony. We’ve started the Life Plan circle group in Google +. I haven’t seen you participate yet. Are you following along with it?

          • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

            Trying to catch up on the comments, but I’m in.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Good to hear. I have a circle setup in my Google+ account for Life Plan. What’s your Google+ link?

          • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

            I also called mine Life Plan. I’m not very familiar with Google Plus yet though. I just found the iPhone app and put it on my phone so I’ll be up and running soon.

          • Joe Lalonde

            I’m not very familiar with it either but I’m eager to learn about it. Here’s a link to my Google+ account – https://plus.google.com/103894016524190819810/posts

            If it doesn’t work well for this, we could always do an email group.

          • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

            I tried to share a test post with my Life Plan Circle. It has you, Tony and Michael Hyatt in it. I don’t have any idea if it worked. My email is byrdmouse@gmail.com if that helps.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Hmmm, I’m having trouble finding you. I tried your email address and nothing showed up. Also, tried your name but there are quite a few people with your name.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Never mind… I just found you as the notification came through.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      You ideal week really helps you put what matters most in front of you so you can manage the exceptions. It is a great tool and exercise to prioritize your week.

      Jim

      • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

        My “ideal week” is about to change next week as I transfer job locations. I have no idea what things will look like there. What I do know it that I will have time to work on my life plan, my blog, and most importantly, my writing. I am getting close to finishing my current work in progress, and am doing the final edits on my completed novella that I will be giving away to blog subscribers (as soon as I get that button to work on my blog).

  • http://twitter.com/ConnieMcKnight Connie McKnight

    Michael, Making a life plan sounds so much more definite than setting goals for your life. It’s amazing how differently the task sounds just be changing the word goal to plan. I love your ideas.

    Too many of us get taken down a path we weren’t expecting to go and then suddenly we wake up and look back and wonder how we got here. That would never happen if we take your advice “A life plan will provide a filter by which you can say “no” to lesser things.”

    Connie

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      saying “no” to lesser things — I have also failed in this part.

  • Anonymous

    When you first offered the free ebook, I got it.  It has made my Big dreams into manageable steps.  I love the Excel Calendar you have as a download.  I like seeing the year in its entirety.  The exercises are tough, because it forces you to think your goals through & prioritize. I loved it and will go through it again in the Fall, which is when I start planning for the next year.  This ebook is one of the best things I’ve received from your blog. 

    • Joe Lalonde

      Laura, I find thinking my goals through as the toughest part. Do you have any suggestions on how to push through and find out what your goals are?

      • Anonymous

        Joe – One of the exercises in the Mike’s ebook is to think about how you want to be remembered after you are gone.  It’s a tough exercise.  

        Another exercise I like to do is to write done ALL my interests. Then I do some research on what would take those interests to the next level and create a goal.  Some wash out to become just hobbies because I’m not willing to pay the price to make it succeed.  Others take the shape of a life goal. A few years ago, writing was a hobby and I got diaries to prove it.  3 years ago, I went through this exercise and decided to write a book (which is how I found this blog).  I hope that helps.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Laurinda. I appreciate that!

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      LaurindaB

      I use the spread sheet and it works well. Give it a try.

      Jim

  • Joe Lalonde

    I think a written life plan would encourage me to focus on important things in life. It seems, at times, that I’m kind of just floating through life with some vague ideas of what I would like to do. At the same time, I find it scary to sit down and try to write out a plan for my life. It’s uncomfortable and it’s foreign to me. At the same time it’s intriguing and exciting. To know where you are headed is a great feeling, sort of like planning a vacation. Sometimes the expectation is better than the actual trip.

  • http://www.nancyjcommunications.blogspot.com Nancy

    A written life plan for me assists me with focus. Many of us have so many choices on a daily basis of saying yes or no. If we say yes too many times and no to the things that we are to be doing, life can become very confusing. Been there done that! Not long ago I worked through the personal life plan. It changed my life. I am now able to focus on the things I am to be doing and leave behind what is mine to be doing. I also reading through the book, “Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” by David Allen. This does not mean that there are not days that I do not struggle, but my focus is so much better. This includes my personal time in prayer and bible study. It is now part of my life plan instead of following along behind everything else. Thank you Michael Hyatt for sharing this with us!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for the suggestion on the book “Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” by David Allen.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    It would provide direction and meaning.

    I think it would give a plan of attack for the day, the week and into the future.

    Having a plan gives what I do some direction. been working on one for a while and now I need to finish it. No excuse

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I am reminded of a recent flight across the Atlantic. A display showed you the flight plan (departure point, arrival point) and where we actually were. I’ve written an article but not posted it about that experience. Your “…Life Plan” fits the general gist of the article. I’ll have to create a link with this post when I push the “publish” button. –Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that example!

  • http://www.rickwomack.com Rick Womack

    Looking forward to working through your e-book…thanks for sharing these encouragements to be proactive.

  • Stephanie

    I’m super thankful for your LifePlan e-book as it gave me the incentive to go through this process. Since creating my LifePlan, I’ve spent time reviewing it each week and planning my week in light of it. I’m living more on purpose and making sure that I’m paying attention to the things I’ve deemed most important. It feels great!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wonderful! I am glad to hear it.

  • http://twitter.com/r_lewis Ricky Lewis

    Thank you for continuing to put this in front of me. I definitely need to write this out. Things are really crazy in our life right now and the temptation is to just let things happen. I like your last point “…don’t finish life with regrets.” I really hope that I am able to do that so it is modeled for my kids. I also hope it helps me be a more effective Christian as I seek to do what God is calling me to do. 

    Thank you again.

  • http://OneStepForwardToday.com Bryan Patrick

    Mike,

    This post is a great reminder and is motivating me to do a review of my plan. Thank you!

    Since making your Life Plan ebook available, I’ve recommended it to many people including some young men in their early 20′s – some still in education mode while others are just beginning their careers. As we all know, the period of 18 years – 24 years or so are somewhat “Bohemian” in nature. That is spontaneity is the rule and seeking new adventures is the goal.

    While each of the men in this age group have been grateful for the Life Plan book, they often respond to me that it feels too settled, established … old. Being planned doesn’t fit into their  spontaneous lifestyle.

    What would you say to this age group of men regarding a life plan? Is it possible to go through this process and remain spontaneous? How could a life plan possibly benefit an 18 to 22-year-old man just entering the work force?

    Thank you, again, for today’s post and for any thoughts you can offer to my questions here.

    Sincerely,
    Bryan Patrick

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great question. I actually did my first version of this—albeit in rudimentary form—when I was nineteen. I would focus on the outcome rather than the process. Keep asking them what they want out of life. A life plan is only important as a means to getting to a destination. If they don’t care where they end up, any road will take them there.

      • http://OneStepForwardToday.com Bryan Patrick

        Thanks for the response Mike. That is very helpful advice. I really like your final statement here, “If they don’t care where they end up, any road will take them there.”

        -BP

        • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

          That reminds me of a Lewis Carroll quote I used to name my Jonah allegory, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      Bryan

      on our family vacation I just went through this with my 23 and 25 year old. They loved it and it really opened their eyes. Never to soon to start.

      Jim

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    I downloaded your ebook earlier this year, and even received a copy of it from the Catalyst conference registration giveaways. Your book met me just as I realized I lived my life avoiding bad stuff rather than seeking out good.

    There was a time I lived knowing what what I wanted. I have to be honest. This type of soul searching frightens me. There are times I feel that Jesus hself wouldn’t want to go where I need to go. That’s a lie, of course. He’s already been and returned on my behalf. But the struggle continues.

    I’m grateful that authors like Donald Miller, John Maxwell, Ken Robinson, and yourself share great ideas so freely. One day I’ll get it.

  • http://OneStepForwardToday.com Bryan Patrick

    Oops – I forgot to answer YOUR question:

    Writing my life plan (by hand) provided the direction I needed at a time when it seemed that my known world had collapsed. 

    A very difficult time in my ministry had left many questions – including my calling as a minister and where I stood with God. Taking the time to get away by myself, write the life plan out and take action was a significant step in my becoming who I am today. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for taking time to share that, Bryan.

  • Bwengye Amon

    Mike,You are very helpful to me.If i may ask,how may access the book that guides into making a life plan. Thnx

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Just click on the link back up in the post.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I downloaded your LIfe Plan book about a month ago, but was on a mission trip for two weeks and have had some crazy rush projects at work. Now that things have settled down, I’m finishing your book and going to write a plan for myself. Really looking forward to it!

  • http://actjustlylovekindness.wordpress.com/ Doug

    I have started reading your ebook. Still in the early pages, but completely agree with your list above. I know it’s not too late to start, but I wish I had access to this wisdom at age 19. My life today would have been more focused and not still searching for the way to my life goals. Writing my personal life plan is a priority to me now. I see it like a road map to life.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Better late than never. Just go on Doug. You will roar.

  • JOYce Weatherford

    already subscribed to email how do I get the book.  I’m horrible at getting my life balanced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637121832 Evan Pemberton

    Hi Mike,

    I am curious what you have written for your Self – Growth “account”.  I like the idea of the Self sub-categories of Health, Growth, and Rest.  I assume Growth equates to reading and learning about new things and skills.  I’m trying to capture this in the plan I am working on, but would love some direction or ideas.

    Cheers, Evan

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Here is my Envisioned Future: “I am continually growing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am constantly learning new things by reading books, listening to tapes and CDs, attending seminars, and meet- ing stimulating people. I apply what I learn. I establish personal accountability by employing appropriate coaches and trainers.”
      Does that help?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637121832 Evan Pemberton

        Absolutely, thanks for the quick response.  I’m finding this whole process enlightening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christianrayflores Christian Ray Flores

    Great post and reminder to, sort of, take a bird eyes view of life and trajectory. Funny I just posted “the 5 questions that can change the trajectory of your life” on The Third Drive. 

    http://christianrayflores.squarespace.com/blog/2011/8/1/5-questions-that-can-change-the-trajectory-of-your-life.html

    Thanks again Michael, you are an inspiration and the blog is a wonderful resource.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      Christian 

      thank you for sharing. I liked this post.

      Jim

      • Anonymous

        You are very welcome!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great questions! Your link ran into the text that followed, so I initially got a page error. Try this link.

  • http://davidlarteyblog.wordpress.com David Lartey

    A life plan for me will always make my journey to become who I aim to be easier

  • http://www.OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com Elise Daly Parker

    A life plan is a great way to keep on track…or get back on track when we start to slide. Thanks for this excellent free resource!

  • Ordinarylori

    A written life plan for me will ensure the simple things don’t pass me by…like home ownership and retirement savings. Outside of that I would like to see Tibet, China and Nepal by the time I graduate. TY! The templates in the e-book were the most helpful part!

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I started working on my life plan after reading your book a few months ago. I’m not finished yet, but love your idea of checking into a hotel and spending a whole Saturday doing it. It has helped keep a clear visual of what I want for my future and what current roadblocks are in the way. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great way to do it. Just find a place where you can be as free as possible from distractions. That’s the key.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    1. Lose Weight
    2. Get a Career in Writing.
    3. Travel.
    4. Laugh

    That’s my plan. I didn’t include retirement because in this economy I don’t believe we have that ability anymore to enjoy retirement like our grandparents do now.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Great insights Nikole! That’s true. I too agree that we will not have freedom anymore to enjoy retirement like our grandparents do now.  Even workplace today has become more competitive and cut throat than ever before.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    A written life plan is critical for our stewardship of God’s resources: time, talent, and treasure ($$$). When I go to meet my God on the last day, I would like to be confident that I have been a good steward of those resources. In March 2010, I wrote a series of blogposts called “Life Mapping By Asking Great Questions” as an initial attempt to flesh out my own life plan. http://bit.ly/nKDuSy
    (Michael, I hope it’s OK to include the link to these articles.)

    One other exercise I often ask people to do is to write a Personal Purpose Statement in 15 words or less. Limiting the number of words forces us to create a razor sharp vision of what God has called us to be.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I’m glad you included a link. The more content around this topic the better!