As I sit down to write this post, the blessing of spring sunlight is filtering through my window and my stomach is full of excitement and joy (and gnocchi). And it’s important to note that I wrote this blog in a good, motivated mood, especially in these times where everything’s topsy turvy. I felt inspired to do this today, but if you’re not feeling up to it, that’s fine too (this is also a great time to relax). Plan your future – that’s some serious stuff! You’re going to want to have your motivated, optimistic hat on for this one.
If you’re here and reading this, I’m hoping that means you’re hungry to get going. So let’s, shall we?
“When you do the things in the present that you can see, you are shaping the future that you are yet to see.” – Idowu Koyenikan
Let’s clear some really important things up.
- Your life plan is just that, it’s a plan. It’s a living breathing document that will shape and mould around you as you move and change and grow. This means you can change it whenever you want and even when things don’t go to plan, your plan can be shifted to fit any new situation.
- You don’t have to put time frames! I leave my plan timeframe-less because I know I work more effectively without them. They leave me in an avoidant panic and I can trust myself to work at a good pace without them there. But, they may work for you, so this is up to you.
- You have to be honest with yourself. Brutally, beautifully honest. This is your life plan. So fill it with things you truly want. Not things you should do, not what your mum hopes you’ll do, not the ‘sensible’ thing. Your dreams. You’re going to be the one living and working for these things, afterall.
Why do you need a plan?
You know when people talk about waking up one day and wondering how they got to where they are? Well I’m not saying they didn’t have a life plan, but knowing where you’re headed and checking in with that will stop this from happening. It’s so important to plan your future, even if it’s vague right now.
In a post by everydaypower, they mention how your plan needs road signs to help you wake up from the daze of everyday living. When you’re driving across the country, road signs are signs of encouragement – you’re heading in the right direction! But if you suddenly see a sign for a place you don’t want to head towards, it snaps you back into reality, reminds you to check where you’re headed and reroute. That is the power of a life plan.
Not to mention that it’s really damn exciting. I get ridiculously excited anytime I have to plan anything, but getting to plan your future, your goals, your hopes and dreams? That’s like candy to me. Let’s jump into the juicy stuff.
#1 Where are you right now?
I mentioned earlier that it’s really important to make sure you’re completely honest. Well, this is your first test of honesty. Where are you right now? Sometimes it takes a really long look in the metaphorical mirror to see yourself and your life clearly. Where is your time going? What are your priorities? What are you enjoying? What’s not working for you?
Something that’s often missed in these plans is what’s going wrong. It’s easy to get giddy dreaming up your ideal life and miss out the negatives. But sometimes, fixing something what’s broken, be it a bad habit, a toxic relationship or a negative mindset, will propel you forward. Otherwise, these things will be what holds you back in the future. So working on them now is a great way to invest in yourself and your future.
This is also a time to celebrate the good. Are you already part way towards some of your goals? Heck yeah! Keep at it, be proud of yourself and keep the momentum going.
#2 Where do you want to be?
This is the obvious question. And a big one. You might have no idea and that’s okay. Searching for inspiration and coming up with new ideas is all part of the process.
In this process, it’s really easy to fall for ideas that don’t necessarily align with you. This might be the expectations of those around you or ideas of things that are commonly envisioned when we hear the word ‘success’. Everyone’s idea of success is different and we’re searching for yours. The one that comes from you only.
What sparks joy in your heart? Imagine having a fantastic office job, leading a team of people to a common goal and heading home to your high-rise apartment in central New York. Does that spark joy for you? Maybe you’d rather wake up with the sun and paint your days away surrounded by creatives and your own imagination. Maybe you want to wake up in a new place everyday, reliant on only yourself and the belongings you keep on your back, exploring markets and temples, villages and wonders the world over. The possibilities are endless.
And this exercise can take a really long time. It’s good to take a long time (but don’t sit in this phase forever, you can always come back to add and edit). The more detailed and clear you can be on your vision, the easier creating and manifesting your life plan is going to be.
A couple of questions you can ask yourself to get started:
- What roles do you want to play?
- How do you want to feel?
- What are you already enjoying in your life?
- What are you not enjoying in your life?
#3 What are your goals?
Now we get more specific. You’ve got your vision, now what are your goals? These are the things that move you closer towards your vision. Is it moving to New York? Buying your painter’s loft? Going for a solo backpacking trip? Running a marathon? Making a lifestyle change?
Your goals could be absolutely anything that lines up with your vision. For that reason, make lots of them! They don’t have to be things you’d do in the next year, or even things you’d do in the next few years. To start to plan your future, you need to do a braindump. Writing a stream of consciousness or rambling to a friend is the best way to unlock those pockets of hopes and visions in your mind. And remember what we said about detail! Put down anything that comes to mind and makes you feel giddy inside.
#4 How will you hit your goals?
And now we get even more specific. You have your vision, you have your goals. Now, how are you going to get there? Lots of people, myself included, drop off at this point. Writing down your goals is a wonderful thing to do and a lot of fun. It’s motivating, it’s inspiring and it’s exciting. What’s more difficult is deciding how you’re going to get there and harder still, committing to it.
Break your goals down into bitesize chunks and start to plan them out. I mentioned earlier that I don’t particularly like putting timestamps on things, but at this level it can be helpful to. And you can get really specific with these steps. In fact, the more specific you get, the better.
Let’s say you want to start driving, for example. You’d need to save enough money for your lessons, your tests, insurance and buying your car, find a good instructor, research car models and insurance deals, you’d need to attend the lessons, learn the theory and finally pass the tests.
It sounds a little overwhelming, but it’s less overwhelming and more effective than looking at ‘start driving’ everyday and having no idea where to start. Writing things out will allow you to start tackling the small tasks that contribute to your larger goal.
As I said earlier, this is a living, breathing document. It’ll change. Your desires will change. You’ll change, come up against roadblocks and take wrong turns, try things and discover that they aren’t for you and find other things you never would have imagined yourself loving. It’s all part of the process. C’est la vie.
Regularly check in with your plan. It will help you to stay on track, stay motivated and make sure your vision is still relevant to you.
Hopefully this helped to outline the basics of how to plan your future. A fantastic book that I read recently on this topic was You Are A Badass by Jen Sinchero. It’s hilariously funny, it’s motivating and it’ll help you plan your future: no-nonsense. I’d really recommend checking it out.
Anyway, leave any questions or any advice you’d like to add in the comments below, I’d love to hear your guy’s insights!
Happy planning! Love, Ella-Rose xx
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