Life planning is the process of evaluating where you are in life, where you want to be and designing a plan to achieve your goals. A life plan can encompass all areas of an individual’s life, from their career to their finances. Using life planning to achieve your goals can help you to live the life you’ve always wanted in NYC.
Follow the five-step plan below in order to build a life plan that is customized for your needs.
Life Planning Step One: Outlining Your Wants
The first step to creating your life plan is to determine what you want out of life. At first glance, this seems like an easy process. However, in practice, deciding what you want out of life is more difficult. It’s often easy for individuals to see themselves through the viewpoint of other people. However, your life plan must be built upon what you want for your life.
You should consider all areas of your life, including:
- Financial: What is your current financial standing? Are you comfortable financially? If not, what would it take to become comfortable in your finances? If you are comfortable, what changes would enhance that level of comfort?
- Social: Are you satisfied with your social life? If so, what is satisfying about your social life and what would be necessary to continue this feeling? If not, what is missing from your social life and how can those issues be resolved?
- Personal: Are you happy with your personal relationships? If so, what moves would be necessary to continue to enhance those relationships? If not, what is missing from those relationships? Are there changes that can be made in order to repair your relationships with others? What changes are needed by you in order to improve your relationships with your friends and family?
This step of life planning is of the utmost importance. Your life plan must be tailored to what you want out of life.
Life Planning Step Two: Document Your Desires
Once you know what you want out of life, you should document your desires. Often, writing down information solidifies it and makes it more real. When you have the written list of your desires, review it to ensure it is comprehensive and covers all the key areas of your life. You can use this list as motivation and as a way to stay on track. Documenting your desires also allows you to set goals based upon what you want out of life.
Life Planning Step Three: Set Measurable Goals
Using your list of desires, determine what your goals are for life. These goals should be realistic, measurable and achievable. It is important to remember that the goals of your life plan should be a reflection of what you want out of life. This list is not to determine how other people view you or be reflective of the goals other people have set for your life. The goals must be reflective of you as an individual.
Your goals should be specific and cover many categories, including:
- Your Career: What is your chosen career path? What changes are necessary in order to be able to work in your chosen field? If more schooling is necessary your goals should include ways to pay for your education and indicate how expenses will be paid while you are pursuing your education.
- Your Social Life: Is your social life reflective of your goals? Determine what is missing from your social relationships and work toward resolving those issues. This may mean finding a new circle of friends that have interests similar to yours. This may also mean ending negative relationships that hurt you more than they help you.
- Your Finances: What is your goal for your financial status? For many individuals, getting out of debt and saving for retirement are great places to start. Your goals may be different, such as saving for a vacation or building a fund to buy a work of art.
Goals should be both short term and long term in order to build a solid life plan.
Life Planning Step Four: Create a Plan to Meet Your Goals
Now that your goals are documented, you must create a plan to meet those goals. Start by prioritizing your goals. Some goals will be dependent on completing other goals. Once they are prioritized, determine what is necessary in order to achieve those goals. Financial goals should have dollar amounts assigned to each of them. Other goals should have measurable standards. For example, social goals may include meeting up with friends on a regular basis.
Next, determine what is necessary in order to achieve each goal. Adjustments to your lifestyle may be necessary in order to accomplish your goals and the adjustment process may cause some discomfort. For financial goals, you may need to increase your income or decrease your expenses in order to achieve your savings goals. To stay on track, remind yourself of the end result you are working towards – a completely fulfilling life.
Life Planning Step Five: Continually Update Your Plan
Your life plan should be a living document. As you grow and change, your life plan should grow and change as well. The items that are important to you at 35 will likely be drastically different than what is important to you at age 55. Regularly review your life plan to ensure it is reflective of your current status in life. Additionally, your life plan should be reviewed in order to determine your progress and to make adjustments when necessary.
Additionally, you should continue to follow this process at every stage in your life in NYC. New desires should be documented and a plan created to meet each of those goals. Life planning is an ongoing process to help you be satisfied at every stage of life.
Financial planning is a large part of a comprehensive life plan. Working with a certified financial planner can provide the level of expertise you need to achieve your financial goals.