Personal Transformation

5 Tips for Creating a Life Plan that Inspires You

January 3, 2022

< back to blog home

It was 2010 when I sat down to write my first life plan. It was a dark evening and I was sitting at my desk next to a glowing lamp in my small freshmen dorm. As I fervently wrote, I remember thinking how excited I was to write out what I wanted my life to look like on paper - The ultimate planner’s dream! Life planning wasn’t widely known yet, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to use what felt like a “secret” tool. The process was exhilarating and helped provide focus as I began those sweet college years. 

Through trial and error, my life planning process has continually morphed and changed since that first year…Amidst those many years of creating a life plan, I’ve uncovered 5 key factors that determine how useful a life plan will be. In this post, I’m sharing these 5 tips for creating a life plan that inspires you!

notepad with pen and coffee

First, this post wouldn’t be complete without sharing one of my favorite life planning tools! Living forward by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy has had a big influence over my life planning process. It breathed life into my own life plan 5 years ago. In fact, this book is partly responsible for giving me the courage to leave my project management role at Korn Ferry in 2018. That year, I was literally sick and burned out coming into our life planning weekend. I had taken on more at work, while covering for other colleagues, and 3 years of non-stop grind had caught up with me. My boss had even suggested I take that Friday off so I could pack and recover enough to enjoy our life planning weekend. 

Indeed, I spent that day packing and reading Living Forward. I used that book to revamp my life plan and by the end of the weekend, I felt like a completely different person! I felt alive again and I wasn’t even sick anymore! I’ll never forget how rejuvenated I felt, and the hope I came home with in my heart. I had found the light somewhere between the beach and Living Forward. The fresh ocean air and quality time with my hubby certainly helped too! ☺️ 

Living Forward changed how I approached life planning and helped me find internal inspiration that drives me yet today! It helped me draw out my inner purpose and find clarity I hadn’t yet found! Before we dive into my top 5 tips for creating a life plan that inspires you, check out this blog post all about Living Forward and learn how to use it in creating your own life plan!

**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.**

Stephanie Jacobs_Life Planning


5 Tips for Creating a Life Plan that Inspires You:


1.) Get away from your normal setting & routine.

This tip is so critical that I wouldn’t suggest starting to write your life plan until you’ve committed at least 1 day away from your normal routine. Getting away provides fresh perspective and a special zest for life! Trust me, I’ve tried to do this at home when we were stuck at our cozy little abode during Covid, and it was a long, draining process that felt like work. In contrast, Sam and I usually book a room on the beach each January and spend 3 days heads-down planning the year. Those 3 days feel like a rejuvenating, but productive vacation! We come back from the beach each year ready to get to work on our goals. There’s just something about being away from daily distractions that clears the head and rejuvenates the soul!

beach with waves and horizon


2.) Prep beforehand.

As you start to think about putting together your life plan for the year, you’ll come across multiple inputs that you’ll need in order to create a plan that’s realistic. Prep what you can beforehand, so you can focus on your core values, dreams, and desires when you get your planning weekend! We prepare things in advance like: a draft of our yearly budget, vacations and vacation time we already have planned, and business/work + personal priorities we already know are slated for the year. That way, we can start with what we already know and fill-in areas as we go!

Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. Multiple times in the past, I’ve saved everything until my life planning weekend, which has lead me to work on the “prep” longer and left less time for the important things! My goal is to come away from the weekend feeling refreshed and ready for the year. Anything I can do to make that happen beforehand is something I definitely prioritize beforehand!

To help you prepare, grab my free Life Planning Reflection Journal, which includes 3 full pages of the exact questions I use to reflect before diving into my life plan each year!


3.) Use an inside-out approach.

Begin by digging into the core of who you are and what matter’s most to you in life! This is where Living Forward serves as a HUGE tool. It’s structured in a way that helps you uncover your core values, life priorities, and envisioned future. One of my favorite exercises is writing your own obituary. Morbid, I know, but it really gets to the heart of things when you think about it in those terms. It really works!

Once you’ve identified the core of what matter’s to you most, you can then begin to set goals and priorities that support what you care about, all the way down to the tactical goals and tasks to make your envisioned future happen! Don’t worry, just because you create a life “plan” doesn’t mean you can’t change it as you change. It can and should be flexible!

Stephanie Jacobs_Life Planning


4.) Focus only on a few big goals & tie them to deep meaning.

Let’s be honest, we can only really focus on a 3-5 big goals at any given time, right? Set yourself up for success by choosing only a few. Make sure the few goals you choose are tied to deep meaning (aka what matters to you most). When you do so, you’ll take a look at your life plan when you’re done and it will feel purposeful and attainable! It should feel in complete alignment with who you are as a person and how you want your life to look like when you’re done! And if you’ve taken the time to really think through this, you’ll feel so much peace and excitement for life! ✨


5.) Set aside time to discuss your life plan with your partner.

If you do life with a spouse or partner (or anyone else your goals might affect), make sure to set time aside to discuss your life plan together. Get them to share theirs too! This is best done during your life planning weekend away or at the very least, before you’ve “finalized” your life plan. Again, your plan will be fluid and flexible, but it works best if the two of you can be in alignment, so you can support each other throughout the year! Allow your partner to share their input and reactions to your deepest dreams. Surprisingly, we’ve found this to build a deeper bond between us, because it helps us understand what matter’s most to each other!

I think you’ll find your life plan will affect those you do life with more than you’d think too - after all, it is a plan for your life and you’re doing life together! Sam and I have found sharing our dreams and goals each year to be powerful practice, because it helps us align our lives and get a big picture of where we’re headed - individually and together!



Don’t forget to mark your calendar to review your life plan monthly or quarterly throughout the year. This allows you to act and adjust as necessary. It also rejuvenates the sometimes mundane flow of life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reviewed my life plan and instantly felt a sense of renewal and excitement for my goals! It helps me remember my purpose when I’ve forgotten, and find joy in each task!

I’ve been creating a life plan for over a decade and it’s been a significant value-add to my life! I want that for you too. These 5 tips for creating a life plan that inspires you came from years of experience and trial and error. So, take what I’ve learned and go create a life plan that inspires you! And don’t forget to grab a copy of Living Forward to help you do it!

Stephanie Jacobs | Storyteller & Advocate for Social Justice

Want to cultivate more alignment and purpose in your life?

This 10-page guide includes journal questions and resources to guide you in reflection before diving into your dreams and goals for the year. These questions are the exact questions I use each year when preparing for my own life planning weekend!

BONUS included: Reduced Coaching Rate (52% savings)

Exclusive access to purchase a reduced-rate 30-minute 1:1 life planning coaching session with me to help you move into the process of creating your life plan!

Explore more categories:  Personal Transformation

share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

search our blog + show notes!

Hey! Do you have any stories on...