Upon reading Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want you will want to have a life plan. Following a recommendation and good reviews, I knew this book had to get on my reading list for the summer. I am glad I read it.
I have shared before how keeping it simple is key for me to have and enjoy a fulfilled life. The point of simplicity came after reading Covey’s book on how to develop a mission statement. This book asked that we address three questions i) what do you stand for? ii) what is your life about? iii) what actions are you going to take to manifest your purpose and values?.
Question i) required you to come up with your values while questions ii) & iii) asked that you determine your life purpose and goals respectively. The result of my hard and thoughtful work was a personal mission statement which has contributed to my productivity this year. It has also been my rudder on what needs to be on my to do list.
Back to the life plan. In order to do the work, the authors of Living Forward ask that we set aside a day away from our everyday life to concentrate on designing our plan.
The Three Questions
In order to create your life plan, you have to begin with the end in mind and answer three questions which are:
1. How do you want to be remembered?
2. What matters the most to you?
3. How can you get from where you are to where you want to be?
The authors, have been more than gracious in providing guidance on how to answer these questions. The website for the book has a section with templates and precedents of life plans. You can access these for FREE at livingforwardbook.com/resources. The precedent by Abbie mirrored what I wanted my life plan to look like so it was of great use to me.
The Life Accounts
The life plan needs to be divided into what the authors called life accounts. They offer suggestions of what life accounts to consider and these are: health, social, career/vocation, hobbies, self-development/intellectual, marital, parental, spiritual and finance.
These are not cast in stone and one is free to create their own life accounts. The authors have offered a FREE assessment tool to assist you determine what accounts to focus on. It is available at livingforwardassessment.com.
After careful thought and taking the assessment, I came up with seven accounts which formed the basis of my plan. These are, God, Myself, My Husband, Our Children, My Extended Family, My Friends/Clients/Subscribers, My Finances and Material Possessions.
Of all my seven accounts the one that was most difficult to craft was about myself. I divided it into three sections self-care, personal health and personal growth. In personal growth, I focused on career and professional development. It was so emotional, reflecting on the sacrifices I have made and what I want to achieve in future.
Why you need to design your plan
Today, we are confronted with many priorities and choices to make. It helps to have a plan as your road map on the journey of life. Obviously the work is in living out the plan.
Although it is an emotional exercise, the book prepares you well with examples of real life situations. Even though we have been given precedents to use, it is very crucial that you make your plan personal. The rational being it is YOU who is going to execute it. It is imperative that you prepare mentally and physically for this exercise. This is because you are literally beginning with the end in mind, where you visualize what you want to be said of you when you move on to eternity.
It is also recommended that in order to keep the plan alive, you read it daily. Personally I will review mine on a weekly basis and then monthly once I am confident I am on the right track. They also advocate for having quarterly and annual reviews where you evaluate your progress vis-a-vis the plan.
One thing I thought they should have done though is ask us to have accountability partners who will ensure we live according to the plan. I am going ahead and sharing my plan with my sister and will be seeking her input as I do the quarterly reviews.
Overall I think this is an exercise everyone should embark on. I love that the authors give free resources to ensure their work does not stay on paper but actually helps us all. So the question I leave with you is do you have a life plan? if your answer is no why not start on the journey of creating one today!