Creating a Life Plan: 7 Steps for Goal-Setting


Have a Plan For Everything

Many people have a list of things they want to accomplish in their lives or a direction that they want their lives to take. Unfortunately, life does not always lead you along your desired path. You need to be proactive about achieving your goals. Start this early in life by creating a life plan and setting goals.

Below are seven steps to help you achieve success in the things that matter most in your life.

1.   Brainstorm a list of personal, professional and financial goals.

The first step to goal-setting is considering what you want to accomplish. When you start your initial list, do not limit yourself. Think about everything you have ever dreamed of or hoped for and put it down on paper. In doing this you are creating your goals tracking document. You can narrow your list down later.

2.   Identify attainable long-term, mid-range and short-term goals.

After you compile an initial list of goals you would like to accomplish, whittle that list down to a few attainable goals. These goals can be divided into short-term goals, which are goals that you can accomplish within one year or less; mid-range goals that can be accomplished within five years; and, lifetime goals you want to accomplish at some point in your life. For example, becoming debt-free or buying a house might be a short term or mid-range goal, while saving enough money to retire might be a long-term goal. To increase your chances of success, focus on five or fewer goals in each category.

3.   Make a list of steps.

Compile a list of steps that will need to be completed in order to attain each goal. Be as specific as possible about the things you must accomplish to achieve each goal. For example, if your goal is to buy a house, the steps might include including saving a certain sum of money for a down payment, qualifying for a mortgage, improving your credit and finding a realtor. The more specific you are about the micro-steps necessary to accomplish each goal, the better your chances of success.

4.   Prioritize your goals.

You can and should work towards multiple goals at once. However, as you decide how to pursue your life plan, you need to prioritize what is most important. Create a blueprint for your future. If you want to become debt-free and buy a house, for example, you need to decide where you want to put the bulk of your money right away.

5.   Set deadlines to accomplish each of your micro-steps.

Set a firm deadline to complete each step and be specific. For example, if you need to save a $20,000 dollar down payment and you want to buy a house within a year, set a one-year deadline for saving this money and establish a specific amount to save each month. Obviously, you should be most specific with the steps and deadlines for your short-term goals since these goals are your priority.

6.   Solicit help if you need it.

Often, the best way to accomplish your goals is to make yourself accountable and enlist the support you need. If you want to reach your retirement goals, you might speak with a financial planner who can offer advice on creating a retirement plan.

You can also ask friends or family members to monitor your progress. If your goal is to lose weight, for example, then scheduling a weekly exercise session with a friend can help keep you motivated. If saving money is your goal, you and your spouse can report on your progress to each other each month. If you must live up to someone else’s expectations as well as your own, you are more likely to follow through.

7.   Revise your goals as your life changes.

Revisit and revise your goals as your life changes. Your goals as a single bachelor may not be the same when you become a father of twins. It is okay for your goals to grow as you do. Be sure to make note and keep the document updated.

Accomplishing your goals, step by step, will help you accomplish your life plan and achieve your dreams. Take an active role in shaping your future. Dream about what you want to do, be passionate about the goals you want to achieve and make that commitment.

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