How To Make a Life Plan in 6 Steps (And Why It's Important)

Updated February 3, 2023

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Creating a life plan can help you feel more in control of your life and provide a clear path to your goals. Making a life plan starts with creating a document to record your thoughts and ideas, either with pen and paper or electronically. Creating and referencing your life plan document can help you feel more motivated in your career and satisfied with your choices.

In this article, we explain a life plan, discuss why it's important and describe how to make a life plan for yourself.

What is a life plan?

A life plan is an objective that helps you prioritize what's important to you, make decisions based on your priorities and find ways to achieve your goals. Some people may create a life plan document to track the progress of their goals, while others may prefer to only document smaller goals within their life plan while considering their overall objectives.

Related: 30 Important Life Skills You Can Use in the Workplace

Why is a life plan important?

A life plan is important to help you take control of your life and your future. In creating a life plan, you identify your values, what's important to you and what you want in your life. Then, when you encounter decisions, you can consider your options in comparison to your values and choose the option that best aligns with your priorities or allows you to achieve elements of your life plan.

Related: Steps in Career Planning

How to make a life plan

Creating a life plan is a great strategy to identify the things you most want in your life and develop the strategy to make them happen. Here are the steps to help you create a life plan:

1. Create a vision

Consider what goals you want to achieve throughout your lifetime. You can consider your values and decide what's most important to you. Creating a vision of what you want your life to be like professionally and personally can help you identify elements within your life plan.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Work-Life Balance

2. Perform a self-assessment

A life assessment includes considering factors like the roles you have in life, your satisfaction with different areas of your life and your various strengths and weaknesses. Reviewing your life from different perspectives allows you to develop a holistic evaluation. Practice self-reflection to clarify your roles and satisfaction in different areas of life.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. These can be either technical skills or soft skills. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to decide where to focus your energy—which weaknesses to improve or strengths to highlight.

Related: How To Write a Self Assessment

3. Prioritize your life

Review the list of your roles and reorder them according to what's most important in your life. For example, your role as a parent may be more important to you than your work. Prioritizing the areas of your life can help you identify what's most important to you. Establishing that one role is more important to you doesn't decrease the value of another. Instead, it indicates the areas where you want to focus more attention.

Prioritizing your roles and the areas you want to focus on can help you identify your values and non-negotiable needs regarding your career. For example, if your family is among your top priorities, you may prefer a career with a good work-life balance that requires little or no travel for an organization close to home and respects non-working hours.

Related: 16 Questions To Ask Yourself for Introspection

4. Identify your values

Comparing how your life is now and what you want your life to be can help you identify your values. Allowing yourself to feel and analyze the difference clarifies your core values. When you determine your values and what's important in your life, they can become a measuring tool for every decision.

Decisions may become much easier because you can clearly see what aligns with your values. For example, you might value gratifying work that serves your purpose more than you value the size of your paycheck. Understanding this helps you narrow your job search to more gratifying opportunities instead of any position with a higher salary.

Related: Core Values in the Workplace: 84 Powerful Examples

5. Establish goals

Now that you have an idea about the life you want and what's important in your life, establish high-level goals for the person you want to be. These goals are the achievements you want to accomplish over several months or years. They may include things like achieving an executive-level management position or earning a specific annual salary within a certain timeframe. They may also include obtaining a job with income and the freedom to vacation with your family twice a year.

Related: How Do You Set SMART Goals? Definition and Examples

6. Outline an action plan

Your high-level goals are the person you want to be and what you want to achieve in life. You need to reverse-engineer those goals to identify action steps that align with your values and move you forward. These action steps are your ground-level goals for actions you take to achieve your high-level goals. For example, if a high-level goal is to change careers, a ground-level goal may be to obtain training and practice skills for the new career or start hobbies that help you build new skills.


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