Do you have a life plan? If not, why not? Especially after a divorce, women should have their future goals and aspirations clearly mapped out and organized.
If you think you're too busy to sit down and create your own life plan, consider the following:
In a 1953 study conducted at Yale University, students in the graduating class were interviewed and asked whether they had a life plan, with a set of written goals. Less than 3% had a clear plan of action and written goals. Twenty years later, researchers re-interviewed the students. The 3% that had written goals had a net worth greater than the other 97% combined! As well, the 3% reported a higher level of life satisfaction than their counterparts who had no action plan or written goals.
A higher level of life satisfaction seems like a good reason to finally sit down and come up with a life plan, don't you think? It isn't difficult, but it will require some time and effort on your part. You will need to mark off a time slot in your busy schedule.
Supply yourself with a favorite pen, some paper or a journal and then follow these helpful steps:
1. Deciding What is Important
I would suggest a life plan based on a 6-month, 1-year, or 5-year period. Once you have decided how far out you want to plan, start your list.
Define the important aspects of your life. For example, you may value health, family, friends, spiritual growth, and career advancement (not necessarily in that order). If possible, prioritize what you feel is important and put them into categories. You can then break them down into subcategories.
2. Define What You Want
After you make your list, it's time to set your goals. You might want to start with a broad description of a goal, and then set a specific and clearly defined "subcategory" with a deadline. For example, if career issues are important to you, you may set a goal that you will take steps A, B and C to help you move forward in your career. A, B and C would be subcategories to your career goal.
Make sure that the goals that you have set are goals that you genuinely want to achieve, not goals that someone else thinks you should achieve. This isn't about doing what you think your parents want you to do with your life or trying to please a significant other. This plan is being put in place so that you can attain what you feel is important for your life.
3. Getting What You Want:
After listing your goals, it is time to think about what has to be done in order for you to achieve those goals. For example, if you listed career as a priority you may have listed a subcategory of taking University classes that will help you move up in your chosen profession. You now have to determine how you will achieve that goal. What classes are best suited? Where will the money come from? Will you be able to take online courses or will you have to attend classes? Cover every aspect of the steps you will need to take to achieve the goals you have listed.
4. A Return on Your Effort:
Keep your written life plan in a place where you can refer to it often. My son who has just graduated from college has a corkboard in his room. He has his plan tacked to the board along with photos that illustrate the goals he wishes to achieve. He calls it his inspiration board. Doing this means being constantly reminded that you have a plan and what steps you need to take to achieve the goals, which will keep your plan on track.
After you achieve a goal you have set, reward yourself. Indulge in some chocolate, buy a sexy new bra, or simply give yourself a mental pat on the back. You will have taken a step towards more satisfaction in life because you took action. The satisfaction you will feel from taking action will be the first return you get when setting a life plan.
I wish you much success and satisfaction!
Cathy heads up About.com's Divorce Support channel.
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