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 Plan. It does you no good to write out your goals and then ignore them.

Here are four time-tested strategies for using a Life Plan:

Work on One Point a Week

My own Life Plan is daunting. As I just read over it, I was a little discouraged to realize how far I am from some of my goals. This realization can lead to a number of outcomes: abandon all hope of progress, frenetically work hard to change overnight, or… pick one, small, realistic area of my life to work on this week.

I am a work in progress. By choosing just one part of my Life Plan to focus on this week, I hope by God’s grace to see some transformation of my character in that area of my life.

Set Aside a Regular Time

I try to prayerfully read over my Life Plan every Sunday. I wish I could tell you that this is an unbreakable habit, maintained with 100% diligence, but sadly, that is not the case. Especially when I am traveling or in transition, I find it hard to make reviewing my Life Plan a regular habit.

The easiest way to remember this is set up an automatic reminder. I use Yahoo! Calendars to set up ‘reoccurring appointments’ and ask it to remind me five minutes beforehand with an email message. You may find another solution to work better for you; the point is, find an automatic system that will send you a reminder at a good time.

Keep It Easily Accessible

I keep my Life Plan in a note on the popular Evernote program. This means I can review it on my phone while riding on the “T” in Boston (the subway system) or while waiting in line somewhere. As long as I have my phone around, I have my Life Plan available to me. In other words, I always have my Life Plan nearby.

Share It With Others

When others know my Life Plan, they can check in about it. If I’ve been neglecting it, this step means that a supportive community is there to challenge me to get back on track. In this way, a Life Plan can be a tool that strengthens your best friendships.

Discussion Questions:

1. Are you excited about following your Life Plan? If not, what do you need to change?

2. What will you do, right now, to make it easy to remember your Life Plan?