Turn Your Passion into an Action Plan: How to Create a 5-Year Life-Action Plan?
A Quick Review
Before we begin developing a life plan, let’s see what you have acquired from the Life Coaching for Teens guidebook:
1. In the first section, you discovered foundational cornerstones necessary for your life’s journey; primarily discovering your identity and purpose.
2. Then you learned The Top 12 Virtues for Teens, foundational virtues that develop strong character for the journey ahead.
3. Finally, you have discovered and defined your life mission, now you can take hold of your future and live courageously.
What is a Life Plan?
A life plan is simply a road map depicting “where” you are going for a specific period of time, so you can get there with minimal amount of stress. Many people take life for granted, thinking that “luck” and “fate” will guide them safely to fulfill their life dreams. Although, you may have heard of “luck” stories in the past, or people who have made it big by winning the lottery; these stories are few in number and not worth betting your life on. It would be wise to devise a strategy for your life.
Before Starting Your Life Plan
What should you consider before starting a life plan? The virtual world of the Internet is full of advice. You can Google the words “Life Plan” and you will find various opinions on the subject. Here are some general guidelines for you to consider:
1. Identity: Do you have clarity of purpose? Do you know the “why” of your life? Example: Who am I? What I am doing here? What am I called to do in life?
2. Character: Have you cultivated (or are you cultivating) the needed character to run the race with confidence? Do you possess the moral qualities to endure hardships? In other words, can you believe in yourself and your life mission even when there is contradiction?
3. Innate Gifts: Since your gifts and passions are road signs to direct you, consider them in your life planning. For instance, if you are good at math and science then pursuing a degree in “literature” may not be a wise choice.
4. Passion: Does your life reflect consistency of attitude and vigor? Remember passion is a strong belief in yourself and what you’re doing; it’s “passing onward” even during challenging times.
When these four cornerstones are evident in your life… then life planning comes easy. As a matter of fact, a person who displays these four cornerstones are already moving forward and know with confidence where they are going. Then life planning can begin.
Consider a 5-year plan instead of a longer version. At the start, I recommend a short planning cycle. The reason for this is that you are getting started, so the foundation of your life is critical. College, career, where you live and who you marry are important choices that need deep thought. Here is the common road map students choose after High School:
a. Attend College
c. Join the Military
d. Traveling the world for one year
e. A combination of the above. For instance, some young people join the military because they can travel the world… others go to a university in another country for a year to experience the culture first hand.
A Life Planning Path
A 5-year plan will take you through a critical stage of your life. If you are fourteen, a life plan will take you through your years of High School. If you are 18, a five-year life plan will take you through college. Do you feel you have the direction you need for these five crucial years of your life?
Components of a Life Plan:
1. Get a Vision for your future – What does the future look like for you?
A vision can include your dreams, hopes and aspiration. You have to know your destination. A vision is seeing the horizon on the mountain far away. Although faint in appearance you know where you’re going. The vision is the “big picture”, like getting a degree in Business and starting your own business after college, which takes around 5 years.
2. Set Goals to Accomplish your Vision – Steps to get to your destination.
A goal is slightly different than your vision. A goal is a big step in the fulfillment of your vision, much like which business school to attend, how many years will it take to complete your degree. An objective is the steps you take to complete a goal, visiting three campuses so you can make a better decision, filing out your application, and how many classes to take per quarter.
a. Set Long Term Goals first: You must first set long term goals. In other words, get the “big” picture of your life in mind then short-term goals follow.
b. Short-term goals are next: Methodical steps are critical. Example: Attend a junior college then transfer to a major College or University.
3. Follow a Calendar – You will need a visual road map.
You have to be “calendar” savvy and use it like a “map” to guide you through your 5-year life plan.
4. Money Allocation and Resources – You will need funding and tools for the journey.
Where is your money coming from? Your money may come from a combination of your savings, a part-time job, student loans, federal or state grants, scholarships, parents, transportation, budgets, etc. A resource is something like a laptop, and mentor/guide.
5. Faith, Commitment and Accountability – You need to believe in yourself and recruit others to do the same.
Do you have someone, a mentor, who can advise you and keep you accountable? I recommend someone mature and out of college. A peer is usually not the best accountability partner when fulfilling a life plan. It has to be someone who is vested in your life, like a parent, an older brother or sister, a mentor, a teacher, a pastor; someone you deeply trust to remind you of your mission. You’ve got to believe in yourself and your plan. Don’t give up – persevere!
6. Refining Your Life Plan – Evaluate and refine your plan through the journey.
Life plans should be reviewed a few times a year for adjustments. During your journey within those five years other things will emerge that will be advantageous for your life. During this time you will find out more about yourself (Remember the “40% yet undiscovered” part of your life) so adjustments are necessary.