My Struggle with the Concept of Life Planning

by Kevin on July 29, 2013

I am in love with the concept of life planning. Michael Hyatt, the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, is now a writer, podcaster, and overall gentleman in the online world. He’s written a free PDF guide that I fell in love with called “Creating Your Personal Life Plan“, and let me tell you, it is awesome.

I downloaded it a while back (free) and read straight through it. It spoke so well to a concept that I see true value in: life planning.

Life planning is all about taking some time for yourself to look into the future to identify what you want to accomplish. Once you know that you work backwards several times to help guide your month to month, week to week, and day to day activities.

It’s a smart concept that resonates with the planner deep within my soul.

There’s only one problem…

Planning is hard!

From my point of view planning consists of:

  • thinking about the future
  • articulating what you want to achieve in that future
  • working backwards to figure out what needs to be done to get to that achievement
  • consistently performing toward that achievement

…and that isn’t easy.

At least not for me. My biggest struggles involve keeping one calendar straight and managing my contacts list.

A big piece of what Hyatt recommends is setting up an annual calendar all on one page. Each day has one major event that can go on it. Things like your wife’s birthday, or a mission trip, or an important business meeting.

The rest of the day to day will just happen, but being able to see the big picture of the big events is key.

I can keep a quasi-calendar for myself plus a dedicated Outlook one for work, but I find it nearly impossible to manage it all under one calendar. It is one of my greatest weaknesses.

He also recommends setting aside time each week, each month, and a big dedicated time each quarter to review your progress. I find it really hard to take time to sit, pause, think, and reflect. It constantly feels like go go go, and now with a baby in the house it feels like go, go, sleep, go, sleep, go, go, nap. (This despite the fact that I love the concept of taking time to reflect… execution on that idea is much more difficult for me.)

If building habits was easy, everyone would do it

It takes effort and energy and dedication to achieve greatness. Creating new habits is incredibly difficult to do: how many times have you said you were going to start working out, done it a few times, and then given up? How many times were you finally going to get your finances straight, but gave up half way through?

Yet sometimes greatness comes not from something “clicking” and being easy for us from the start. Sometimes it takes getting knocked down into the mud, staring into the sky as the rain comes down, then rolling over to your knees, standing up, and pressing on.

We might get knocked down several times on the way to building that habit. But…

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

You have never truly lost until you give up. As long as you get back up and keep pressing on, you’re still in the game.

I’ll do the same with life planning, but I’d love to know: have any of you done life planning successfully? How did you build up the habit?

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