How to make a life plan

Life plan main image - Hannibal
Hannibal loved it when a life plan came together

This post explains how to make a life plan using a spreadsheet. There are good reasons to have a plan in life; for starters when you write down stuff it’s more likely to happen (you become accountable). You’ll also be forced to ponder deep and philosophical questions, like: what’s my purpose in life?

My life plan

Any worthwhile plan consists of a goal, strategy and tactics. A plan is an explanation (strategy) on how to implement a goal. At the centre of my life plan is a goal. Why am I doing this, what’s my goal in life? With this answered there needs to be a strategy. This explains how to achieve my life goal. Lastly, I have tactics; these are the specific actions needed to accomplish the strategy. Once this is all defined, the goal and strategy shouldn’t change that much; just the tactics. Here’s an example of how my life plan looks:

Goal(s) [what do I want from life?]

  1. Live an enjoyable life. (Stop wasting it.)

Strategy [how do I accomplish my goal?]

  1. Live life full of new experiences. Not empty, worthless experiences mind, I mean super experiences that make me grow as a person.
    -How this supports goal-
    Studies support that “experiences” and not “things” make us happy. More importantly, I can attest to this being true. Read my post on It’s what you do that matters, not what you have if you need any convincing.
  2. Gain financial independence. What does financial independence (FI) mean? FI is attended once you have 25 times your annual living expenses according to the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement.
    -How this supports goal-
    With financial independence comes freedom, freedom to do what I want and work for whom I choose. With freedom comes happiness. I’m not free when I have to be in the office on days I’m told, travel to places I don’t want to go and act in a certain way. Currently, 5 days from 7 of my life are not free (a slave to the system), that’s 70% of my life being wasted.
  3. Do work I enjoy. Work on ideas that excite me and do work I have a passion for regardless of pay. This becomes possible with financial independence.
    -How this supports goal-
    Doing work you enjoy makes you happy, conversely, doing work you don’t (regardless of pay) is soul-destroying.
  4. Become more knowledgeable. Knowledge is the acquisition of information and skills and is so much more than just learning facts. It’s about learning or improving any mental or physical activity. Getting good at martial arts, surfing, chess, yoga, maths, meditation is all knowledge.
    -How this supports goal-
    Increasing physical and mental knowledge improves you as a person; there’s intrinsic satisfaction with self-improvement and you become a more interesting person to boot.
  5. Stay healthy. It’s not necessarily about how long you live but how long you stay in full health. This is called Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) by the World Health Organisation. The number of “lost” healthy years can be significant based on lifestyle choices.
    -How this supports goal-
    Without health you have nothing.

Tactics [what’s needed to accomplish the strategy?]

These are my tactics for 2019:

  • Live life full of new experiences
    • Have at least one new experience per week, try surfing, go to Portugal, try yoga, try diving, try archery, try out different gym classes, try standup paddleboarding (SUP)
  • Gain financial independence
    • Learn to budget, read books on FIRE, learn how to become a landlord, spend less, save more
  • Do work I enjoy
    • Start blogging, plan/think about work I’d enjoy doing once financial independence is gained
  • Become more knowledgable
    • Get a Kindle, spend less time procrastinating on the Internet and more reading, learn surfing, learn SUP, learn freestyle tumble turns, learn to drive a moped, improve my Muay Thai, improve my swimming
  • Stay healthy
    • Participate in dry January, stop drinking alcohol at home, start measuring exercise activity, improve existing and learn new sports, get back into meditation

What should be your life goal?

My life goal is to live an enjoyable life; I don’t want to waste anymore. This probably boils down to: “I want to be happy”. In my view, this should be everyone’s goal and it’s the strategy and tactics that vary on a person-to-person basis. According to Aristotle, the purpose of life is happiness which is hard to argue.

Life planner spreadsheet

Your life plan is much better presented in a spreadsheet. I recommend using Google Spreadsheets because it’s free and the best tool for the job. Here’s how my life plan looks like in a spreadsheet:

The 1st sheet explains my life goal and strategy.
The ‘Achievements’ sheet shows what’s being worked on
(the tactics) to achieve my life strategy.
I have a sheet dedicated to tracking body and mind health; from meditation to kettlebell swings. Knowing what you’re doing creates self-accountability.

You can view my life plan directly in Google spreadsheets here: My life plan spreadsheet

Reviewing your life plan

I open my life planner spreadsheet throughout the week to add progress to my health worksheet. Moreover, I’m planning new experiences and adding things for the following year. I prefer having an agile approach vs a rigid plan that doesn’t change. At the end of the year, it’s satisfying to review what I’ve accomplished. This becomes a driving force to continue the momentum and improve into the next year.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or feedback – please leave them below.

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