Make A Life Plan

Do you have a plan for personal growth? Do you know where your life is headed? If not, you need to develop a Life Plan!

If you already have a plan for personal growth, you know why I’ve decided to focus on this: the tremendous benefits that come from knowing both your destination and how you plan to get there.

What’s a Life Plan?

If you don’t have a Life Plan, to get oriented to what I’m talking about, think about all the smaller plans that you already have experience with:

  • directions for getting to important meetings
  • a financial strategy to prepare for retirement
  • a syllabus for taking a class
  • instructions for putting together a piece of furniture

The fact is, we’ve all benefited from having a plan in at least some circumstances.

But many of us, for one reason or another, just don’t have a plan for the big picture: the core convictions of our life, a huge vision that makes our heart beat with excitement, and the principles and values that we stand by no matter what.

Of course we can all ‘get through it’ from time to time, whether it is finishing a boring class or driving to an unfamiliar location. But when you’re talking about your life, winging it just isn’t good enough.

To make the most of life, you need to have some clarity about what you want and how you plan to live your life to the full.

Obstacles to a Life Plan

So why don’t you have a personal life plan? From my experience of coaching dozens of students to develop a personal life plan, there are a number of big obstacles that might have kept you from establishing – and more importantly, using – a life plan.

From your personal history to your temperament, from your fears and anxieties, to a concern that a life plan is unspiritual, there are many good reasons why you might not yet have made a life plan.

Whatever obstacles you’ve encountered so far, this blog series is designed to motivate and empower you to develop a robust plan for your everyday life. By the end of this series, if you put in the necessary work, you should have much more clarity about where you’re headed – and why.

Not Just Personal Fulfillment

But I want to be clear: for this to really work, this process actually can’t be about personal fulfillment, because the best life plans involve reflection on giving your life to God, serving your neighbor, and contributing to the common good. We’ll get into more of that later, but for now, as you read through this blog series, remember to keep in mind the needs of those around you.

The Full Series:

Make A Life Plan

Do you have a plan for personal growth? Do you know where your life is headed? If not, you need to develop a Life Plan! If you already have a plan for personal growth, you know why I’ve decided to focus on this: the tremendous benefits that come from knowing both your destination and how you plan to get there. What's a Life Plan? If…

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Four Benefits of a Life Plan (Part I)

Home Decoration and Life Focus When I was younger (and, more importantly, single), I had a habit of typing up Bible verses, printing them out, and taping them to doors and walls in my apartment. In retrospect, it was a pretty classy decorating technique. Photos of friends, posters of cultural events, objets d’art – these were all…

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A Life Plan Leads to Growth (Part II)

Casual vs. intentional A few years ago I played in an Ultimate Frisbee league in Boston. The league is a casual one. Generally, teams don’t meet up to practice, but the members show up each week, play hard, and might decide to socialize afterwards. Overall, it is an amazing environment for playing Frisbee. People are laid back,…

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More Benefits to a Life Plan (Part III)

I love to say “yes” to people. There is a real pleasure in making someone else happy, seeing their needs met, and in honoring God, all by using the gifts He’s given me to benefit another person. Saying “yes” when that requires a sacrifice – going to an inconvenient location, staying a bit later on campus when my family is…

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Self-Deception, Honoring God, and the Gospel (Part IV)

Self-deception is a universal problem. For instance, we are prone to believe that we are all above average. Here are some particularly humorous examples to illustrate the point!: From the academic world: In a survey of faculty at the University of Nebraska, 68% rated themselves in the top 25% for teaching ability. In a similar…

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Objections to a Life Plan: I Feel Limited!

Have you ever volunteered to be harnessed by a straight jacket? I know that I haven’t. In fact, I hope to never be trapped into such a claustrophobic experience. As far as I'm concerned, a straight jacket should be called an "I'm-going-to-go-crazy" jacket. Sometimes, when thinking about the idea of a Life Plan, it feels like a…

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Objection to a Life Plan: It Feels Legalistic!

Legalism is the attempt to be somebody, apart from the grace of God, by keeping a set of rules. Some people seek to 'win' through success in business and financial gain. Others do it through their good looks. Perhaps you are the best tuba player in the world. For me, it has been incredibly hard to accept that my intense religious…

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Wisdom from St. Benedict

The idea of a Life Plan is an ancient one. It goes back to the Garden of Eden, when God advised Adm and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). God has always offered…

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What To Put in a Life Plan?

So you've decided to write (and follow) a Life Plan! But what do you put in your Life Plan - and what do you leave out? I've interacted with dozens of students as they've put together, worked on, and experimented with different kinds of Life Plans. Here's the thing: they've all looked radically different. Some are very poetic and…

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What To Leave Out Of A Life Plan

Putting together a Life Plan is an exciting process! Once you get going, you might feel a surge of energy as you dream about your future. Pretty soon you're cramming it full with your entire 'bucket list': go skydiving, write a book, visit Argentina, adopt a cat, start a bed-and-breakfast, and end world hunger. At some point, though,…

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How to Write a Life Plan

Let's say that you are now excited to develop your own Life Plan. How do you go about writing it down? What does that process look like? Your number one enemy is procrastination. So the best strategy is to get started immediately. Before you read the rest of this post, why not take the next five minutes to get started on your life…

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How to Use a Life Plan

Has your office ever announced a "new and exciting mission statement" that is subsequently ignored? We all know, whether from real life or from Dilbert, that good intentions and eloquent documents don't mean much on their own. What really matters is what we do. How we actually live. In other words, you need to plan to use your Life…

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How and When to Revise a Life Plan

When I ran cross country in high school, my team's coach changed the workout schedule every week. Why did he do that? Because after following his workout plan for one week, we were in better shape and needed new challenges. As the season progressed we went from two miles to three miles, from sixty second splits to fifty-eight second…

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