Life is busy, and it is easy to go with the flow and live daily without a clear plan. Most people do this and end up stuck, living a life they have never chosen. If you want to live a life you will love to wake up to, you need a 3-year life plan.
I know so many people who spend more time planning their next vacation than reflecting on their life goals. And the same people then wonder why they seem to get less from life than others.
They simply think they are less lucky, have fewer opportunities, and are too busy to have time to chase their dreams, and then blame the universe.
Most people go through life without a written plan, and considering how powerful this document can be, they are definitely missing out.
If you want to start living a fulfilling life aligned with your values, then you need to take a moment to write your own plan.
If you have never written a life plan, then this is your sign to start transforming your life today!
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Why a 3-year plan
3 years is enough time to profoundly change your life and create a better version of yourself while not giving yourself too much time.
Human beings struggle to represent their future self over a long period. This is why it can be complicated to plan years in advance.
Creating a 3-year life plan is the best way to plan your future. It is long enough to definitely give up on your old habits, create a new you, change direction, and achieve success.
Short deadlines are far more motivating than extended deadlines. Indeed, giving yourself too much time to achieve a goal usually leads to procrastination due to the lack of urgency.
This is why you will have to define milestones along your journey to keep yourself accountable and accomplish your long-term goals in 3 years.
How to create your Life Plan
Before writing your 3-year life plan, you need to define your dream life and vision of success.
Success can mean very different things from one person to another. Some people will consider that success is directly linked to the amount of money they have in the bank.
Others will consider that reaching success implies launching a successful business or having a family.
We all find satisfaction and happiness in very different things. Hence, you will first have to develop your vision of success to ensure you focus on the right things in the following years.
Your 3-year life plan needs to outline all aspects of your life, from your career to health and money.
Keep in mind that you need to have a holistic approach when creating your plan and following the steps below.
Creating your dream life is not only about the things you want to have but also about finding your purpose in life.
Now that we are clear on why you need a 3-year life plan, grab your favorite pen and notebook, pour yourself a cup of tea, and let’s get started!
Questions to ask yourself to create your life plan
To figure out what you want your life to look like, you need to ask yourself many questions :
- What are your dreams?
- What would you like to do for a living in 3 years?
- Would you like to be self-employed or an employee?
- What are your passions and talents?
- Can you turn any of them into a career?
- Where would you like to live?
- Who would you like to be?
- What would you like to accomplish?
- What are your values?
- How do you picture your future self?
- What is your biggest life goal?
- Why aren’t you there yet?
- Who/What is holding you back?
You will have first to imagine your ideal life and then reflect on your past. You need to be honest with yourself and reflect on your mistakes, why you made them, and what lessons you have learned from them.
This step of the process aims to picture your ideal life and compare it to your life at this exact moment. This is your square one and your day one.
You need to own your life and design a life you will be excited to live. This process will take time. This is fine because remember, you have 3 entire years to get there.
Make peace with yourself
This is a long process, and it is a very personal one. Although you might be married, have kids, or be living with a partner, you need to focus on yourself, and what would make you happy, and think about your personal goals first.
This process might sound selfish, but it is actually not.
It is about making sure you love yourself, are happy with your life, live it to the fullest, and get to a place where you can spread love and care for your loved ones.
You don’t need to forget about them, but you need to understand that self-love is the first step to being able to truly care for other people.
You will not be able to live a fulfilling life and support your family if you don’t make peace with yourself.
This is why you need to focus on your personal goals no matter your situation.
Defining what you want to achieve as a person is so important. Once your personal goals are accomplished, you will have the awareness and energy to decide what you want to achieve as a family/couple.
Define your goals and deadlines
Now that you understand the importance of working on yourself first, you can define personal goals.
Think about the things you want to accomplish.
You can look at the answers you wrote to the questions above and translate these ideas and visions into SMART goals.
As you probably know, SMART stands for:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based goals.
Each dimension of the SMART framework is linked and creates a clear, carefully planned, and trackable goal.
When creating a 3-year life plan, setting goals can be a bit difficult. You can get so many things done in 3 years that it is easy to get overwhelmed or super excited and set a trillion goals.
The easiest approach to defining your goals is to think backward:
- Start by setting the goals you want to achieve in 3 years. For instance, being financially independent, owning a business, or being healthy and fit.
- Think about how you can break them into yearly goals. For example, developing 2 additional income streams, launching a website, or losing 30 lbs.
- Break these yearly goals into quarterly plans. For instance, open an Etsy shop during this quarter, launch your first product or lose 10 lbs.
90-day goals are my favorites because it is the perfect period to implement new habits and routines.
You can get so much done in 90 days. It gives you enough time to make positive changes while not giving you too much time to procrastinate.
It is also much easier to track your progress with 90-day goals and makes reassessing your plans super easy as well.
And that’s the most significant advantage of 90-day goals!
Define new habits
Now that you have defined your goals, you can start thinking about the daily activities that will help you achieve them in time.
For each goal, think about the daily habits that will help you achieve it and write them down.
Writing things down is essential to focus your energy on your goals and plans.
Did you know that according to CNBC, people who write their goals down on paper have 42% more chances to achieve them? Yup, 42%!
If writing to-do lists and journaling is not part of your daily habits, you will have to give it some thought because this simple habit will explode your chances of success.
If you want to change your life and reach success, you need to start planning for it.
Stop sabotaging yourself
Defining new healthy habits is important to achieving your goals, but even though you stick to these new habits, you might still fail…
There is a very simple reason behind that failure… Implementing new positive habits will not work if you are still following habits holding you back.
You need to identify your bad habits and break them to ensure they do not sabotage your success.
Replacing negative habits with habits supporting your goals is important. But it is also important to understand why you implemented bad habits in the first place.
Habits like procrastination, mindless scrolling on social media, and binge-watching Netflix always have hidden cues that you need to understand.
In most cases, people unconsciously implement these bad habits because they are not satisfied with their lives, need a distraction, or are afraid to take action.
You need to understand what’s motivating your bad habits and how you can find other positive habits that support your goals.
Create powerful routines
Now that you know what habits you need to implement and break, the next step is to create your new routines.
Several types of routines can help you achieve your goals.
- Morning routines
- Afternoon routines
- Night routines
- Sunday Routines
- Weekly routines
- Monthly routines
You get the point.
I can be very annoying when it comes to talking about routines because I love routines so much.
They have totally transformed my life.
I used to be a hot mess, didn’t know what to do in life, did not have a job, was overweight, anxious, and broke.
Over the years, routines have transformed me into a super-organized person, working as a finance specialist and making over $ 290,000 before graduating from college.
Yes, this is how powerful daily routines can be.
And that’s why I love them so much.
If you are interested in life plans, chances are that you have already read a lot about routines and personal growth.
So you probably know that routines followed daily will transform you as a person.
When it comes to routines, the easiest way to get started is to define your daily routines based on the habits you want to implement to achieve your goals.
My morning routine includes over 10 habits and lasts 1 hour. I now do it on autopilot every day, but I used to struggle to follow it in the beginning.
I would forget some of my habits and totally skip them.
To ensure you stick to a new routine, you need to write it down. You can use your paper planner, a printable habit tracker, or an app. I personally love the To-do List app. It is super cute and user-friendly.
Know the power of habit stacking
Habit stacking is the art of implementing a new habit right after another one, always in the same order, to make it fit into a routine.
This simple process creates routines that are easy to stick to.
An example of a daily habit stacking is :
When I wake up:
- I open the blinds to let natural light in (old habit)
- Open the windows to get some fresh air (old habit)
- Boil water to make tea (old habit)
- Prepare breakfast (old habit)
- Sit down and have breakfast (old habit)
- Log my meal into Lifesum (new habit)
- Write my to-do list for the day (old habit)
- Journal for 15 minutes (new habit)
- Do skincare (old habit)
- Make bed (old habit)
- Get dressed (old habit)
- Do my hair and makeup (old habit)
The power of habit stacking is that doing the activities in the same order every day quickly makes the routine automatic and easy to add new activities in between.
Don’t underestimate mindset shifts
To change your life, you need to change your mindset and beliefs.
This is where things can get complicated. Many people fail to achieve their goals because they do not decide to change who they are and think that by changing what they do, their mindset will follow.
But this is not how it works.
To transform your life, you need to change your beliefs and your reactions to make your new habits stick.
This is what helped me lose 37 pounds.
I faked it until I made it and changed my perspective. Thinking like a healthy person helped me become one
I asked myself, “What would a healthy person do” every time I had to make a decision:
- At what time do I have to wake up
- What I had to eat
- What I had to do after a long day at work…
Faking it helped me transform my life because I became who I wanted to be day after day. This mindset shift is what made me lose 37 pounds in 3 months after years of failing miserably.
Our brains are such powerful tools. Fooling them can have incredible results, and this is why you need to change your mindset if you want to change your life.
Writing your goals down does help to stay motivated and focused. Unfortunately, it might not be enough.
It can be tough to stay motivated after a bad day/week/month at work.
However, staying focused is key to ensuring you keep going and do not skip your new routines and fail to achieve goals.
It is very easy to skip your new habits and get back to square one.
This is what most people do because creating a new life is hard. But living a life you hate is also hard. So choose your hard.
A few months of hard work can get you years ahead in life. This is why you need to add cues to your everyday life to trigger your motivation and keep going no matter what.
A lot of things can help you stay motivated. It can be, for instance:
- Reading a personal growth book
- Listening to an inspiring podcast
- Watching a motivating TedTalk
- Listening to upbeat music
- Creating a vision board and placing it somewhere you can see it every day
- Creating Pinterest boards
- Making a digital vision board and setting it as a wallpaper on your phone/laptop
- Following on social media people who have already achieved the same goals
- Finding FB communities sharing the same goals
No matter what you do to stay motivated, make sure you do something daily.
This simple tip will help you stay focused on your goals even when you don’t feel like it or when you forget why you started.
Track your progress
Tracking your progress is just as important as setting the right goals.
It will allow you to reflect on your journey, the progress you have made already, the things you still have to improve, and the things that are just not working for you.
This step is a big part of your overall success.
I used to skip it and, as a result, wasted years of my life wondering why I could not achieve my goals as planned.
The truth is that transforming your life will be a long process, and things will not always go as planned.
You can achieve some goals faster than you imagined, while others will take more time.
This is why, just as for habits, you need a tracker to ensure you progress as planned and, if that’s not the case, can highlight what’s slowing you drown and make the necessary changes.
Reassess your plans if needed
Another essential thing to remember when writing your 3-year life plan is that nothing is set in stone.
You will evolve a lot in the upcoming months and years. Hence, your version of the ideal life will evolve as well.
This is why reviewing your plans is also an important part of the process.
Don’t be scared to admit that things have changed. If you realize that you want to achieve something different than you used to, simply acknowledge that and adapt your plan.
Doing so is essential to ensure you do not get demotivated and simply give up.
If you feel like your plans need to be adapted because your vision of your dream life has changed, re-do a life audit to redefine your priorities and set new goals.
This whole process is about creating a life you will love. You will evolve as you grow, so it is normal that your vision of life will also change.
Whatever the goals you define for yourself, stay focused, have a written plan, and work on them every day.
You will be surprised by all the hard work you can accomplish in just 3 years!