If you’re going to work on creating a vision for your life, it helps to know the areas of life you need to think about during the process. So I’ve put together this list of the 7 key areas of life that every vision (or life plan) should include.
You can get more detailed, but you should at least cover these seven areas. These are not in any particular order and you’re free to rearrange them as you see fit.
You’re going to spend about 1/3 of your adult life working. That’s a lot of time. Wouldn’t it be cool if you actually enjoyed your work and looked forward to it on most days?
Depending on the study you look at, anywhere between 55-75% of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. Chances are good that you may even be one of those people. So if you’re going to spend time working on a life plan, spend some serious time thinking about what it is you’d like to spend 1/3 of your life doing and where you might be the most satisfied.
Dissatisfaction with your career can create problems in all areas of your life. Knowing where you’d like to be can help you devise a plan to get there.
Most people have some sort of financial goal in the back of their minds. Yet how many people actually create a plan to achieve it? Very few.
Maybe you want to be a millionaire; maybe you don’t – there’s nothing wrong with either desire. But do you know how much you need to make to do the things you want to do in life? Do you know how much you need to make to give more, save more, or start your business? Do you want to get out of debt or payoff your student loan in 5 years? Do you want to buy a house?
Write this stuff down as part of your vision.
We get one body and most of us abuse it – then we wonder why we feel like crap. I smoked for years (I quit about 18 months ago). I didn’t exercise (I still struggle with this one a bit). I didn’t eat healthy food. I didn’t get enough sleep.
How do you want your health to be different in 5, 10, or 20 years? Do you want to be slimmer? Do you want to lower your cholesterol? Do you want to train for and compete in a marathon? Do you want to quit smoking or drinking?
When life gets busy or overwhelming, it’s our families that often suffer. We take their time and give it to our jobs or some other obligation that isn’t as important as they are.
If you want a strong family, you need to make it a point to write out what you want your family life to look like. Do you want a better marriage? Write that down. Do you want better-behaved kids? Write that down. Do you want to take two vacations each year with your family? You guessed it – write it down.
Maybe you’re single and want to find that perfect spouse. Write that down.
We’ll get to how to make these things happen. For now, just write them down.
5. Self-Improvement/Personal Development
The goal of this area is to grow as an individual through learning. Sadly, most people believe that education stops at graduation. In reality, we must keep learning if we are to grow as people and have successful marriages, relationships, and careers.
One of the best ways to do this is to read one non-fiction book per month (about 30 minutes each day). If you have a long commute or are in the car a lot, consider listening to audio books or podcasts that are more than just entertainment news and gossip.
Do you want to learn a new skill? This is a great place to focus on anything new you want to pick up in the 5, 10, or 20 years.
Consider using this section to focus on finding people who can mentor your (or who you can mentor).
Do you want to make more friends? Do you want to surround yourself with better influences? Do you want to be involved in more community or church-related groups? If you’re interested in learning a new skill, perhaps it would be a good idea to join a group of like-minded people who are doing what you want to learn.
In my life plan, this section comes first since it forms the lens through which I understand and prioritize the other six areas. Do you want to spend more time in prayer and mediation? Do you want to grow in your understanding of your faith through reading faith-based books? Do you want to read scripture more often? You could also mention church involvement here instead of in the Social section.
We are spiritual beings and we shouldn’t neglect this section of our life plan.
Avoiding Flat Tires
A number of books and resources call the entirety of these seven areas “the wheel of life” and depict it as a circle with seven equally-shaped pie pieces. The point is to show that you need a healthy amount of each area for a healthy life.
If you neglect one or more areas for too long, you’ll get a flat tire. If you’ve ever had a flat tire on your car, you’ll understand the anology: you won’t be going anywhere until you get it fixed. Everything comes to a halt.
You must make each area a priority in your life and devise a plan for how you intend to make progress in them. Growth is intentional – it doesn’t just happen. We’ll be diving into how to create the goals you’ll need to accomplish these things in future posts. For now … just write it all down.
Share Your Thoughts
Do you have these areas in your life plan? Do you have other areas not listed here? Share them with the community in the comments below!