Festive Season Health & Wellness Over 50s Lifestyle

Forget New Year Resolutions Why You need a LIFE PLAN instead

November 29, 2016
Life Plan

We are almost finished another year and most of us start thinking about the New Year, what it will bring and of course – ‘New Year Resolutions’.  Last year I wrote a post about why I don’t make New Year Resolutions anymore and perhaps neither should you.  You can click here if you would like to hear why.

I recently completed a course through Futurelearn.com – Strategies for Successful Ageing and one of the topics discussed by Liz Harper, Head of Community and Lifelong Learning at Age and Opportunity, was Life Planning.

A Life Plan is important for our mental wellbeing.  We all need something to look forward to or work towards and having a Life Plan in place will help you get there faster.  It can be for anything in your life so start thinking about what you would like to change or achieve in this New Year.

Life Plan

A Life Plan to achieve your goal

Liz suggests that this isn’t where you make a list and tick it off like we do for our normal daily routine.  It is about taking time to reflect on what our ‘bigger picture’ is and what we want to achieve in life.  It is easy to go through life planning small things like holidays but do we really look at the big picture of where we are going and what we actually want from life.

As Liz says:

If you can take a step back and identify what it is you would like to do, would like to get, or would like to be, then maybe you could start making a plan to move towards that. And there are loads of different ways of doing life planning.

4 methods of Life Planning to achieve your goal

Each of us is different so not one method fits all.  There are four methods to choose from:

  • SMART Planning
  • Action Planning
  • Rewind Planning
  • Intention Planning

You can try each of them and decide which is best for you.

SMART Planning 

Most of us have heard of the SMART process when setting goals.  That is, our goals must be:

  • specific,
  • measurable,
  • achievable,
  • realistic and
  • a time frame set.

Action Planning

This is basically a variety of different prompts that you could be thinking about for yourself. This is quite a practical method.  If you know what you want to achieve this method asks questions such as:

  • How will I know I’ve achieved it?
  • What’s the cost of me not achieving it?
  • What will work against me achieving it?
  • How will I know that I’ve got there?
  • What might stop it? What might help me?
  • Who might stop me? Who might help me?

Rewind Planning

This method starts at the end with what you want to achieve and as Liz suggested it might appeal more to those of us who are very visual. It is called Rewind Planning because you set your goal and work back from there to the present. Take a large sheet of paper and write what you want at the top.  Then work backwards in steps until you are at the first step which can be down now.

Here is an example from Liz.

We might say, before you can have a holiday in Iceland, you have an investigation packages to Iceland. How are you going to get there? You have to find out the cost, who’s doing the packages, and what the availability is. That’s background research you need to do. And then maybe coming down to another level, you need someone to go with, if you don’t want to go on your own. So that might be about calling friends and seeing what their availability is, checking your own diary and all that stuff.

Coming down to another level it might be things like, are there people at home who need minding? Who’s going to keep an eye on the house? And who’s going to mind the dog? You might work that out. And then right down to the next level, what would be the very first thing, the first phone call, that you’d need to make? The idea behind this is that you’d start taking the action immediately. And one action needs to another. And eventually, you’re on holiday in lovely Iceland. This is Rewind Planning.

Intention Planning

Intention Planning is where you actually imagine yourself in your goal.  As in the example of Iceland holiday, you imagine yourself there.  You taste it, smell it and feel it. Let’s say again, you want to go to Iceland. Each step you plan is reinforcing your goal into your subsconcsious until you are there.


Which of the four planning techniques do you feel would be most useful for you to set and achieve your goal?


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  • Reply Carol Cassara November 29, 2016 at 10:36

    What’s so great about being this age is that I don’t need ANY kind of plan, unless I want one. Having said, that, I decided to start a business, so that requires a plan. But to be honest, I never had a life plan, I just took it as it came, and it worked out GREAT! ;-)))) That’s my story. It never occured to me to have a plan. But then again if I’d had one, it wouldn’t have gone according to plan anyway!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:42

      Agree Carol we can start with a plan that doesn’t always work out. You sound like you can certainly cope with whatever life throws your way – a good way to be.

  • Reply Ellen Dolgen November 29, 2016 at 11:29

    I am a Virgo, so I am generally organized and thinking ahead. But, when it comes to life’s ebbs and flows – I wing it. This year my New Year’s Resolution is to make every day – the most amazing day!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:41

      What a great New Year’s Resolution – if only we could all take that advice and make it happen, Ellen.

  • Reply Tam November 29, 2016 at 11:56

    I want to keep traveling and being active in the world, helping where I can. Is that a plan?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:41

      It certainly is Tam and what a wonderful plan that is!

  • Reply Doreen McGettigan November 29, 2016 at 12:16

    I am a planner, to put it mildly lol. I gave up on resolutions years ago and instead plan my year in monthly goals. I recently added fun and rest to those goals.
    It’s nearly December so I’m scrambling to catch up but hopeful I’ll make it.
    Time to work on 2017 goals.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:40

      Yes I like the idea of monthly goals Doreen as they are bite sized and you can tick them off each month. Good luck with your 2017 Goals and hope your year is fabulous.

  • Reply Leanne November 29, 2016 at 12:45

    I’m really good at short term planning but not so fabulous at long term plans. I think I start to get worried and stressed and avoiding thinking that far ahead is my way of coping. There are some great suggestions here Sue and I’m glad you’re finding your studies useful.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:40

      I’m really enjoying the content of the courses that I’m doing Leanne. As they are only about a month long they are manageable to fit into my lifestyle.

  • Reply Lois Alter Mark November 29, 2016 at 13:44

    I am not great at planning and tend to go with the flow. And I am definitely not great at keeping New Year’s resolutions!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:39

      Sometimes we can get too caught up with planning and not living so I’ve changed over the last few years Lois.

  • Reply Mary November 30, 2016 at 01:10

    New Years resolutions have never been my forte! Maybe a life plan is where I will excel.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 30, 2016 at 09:38

      I think a life plan is more achievable Mary – something to work towards but without the pressure of the word ‘resolution’.

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle December 2, 2016 at 13:04

    It certainly is helpful to sit down and think about what you really want to do or achieve. Then go for it.

    ‘Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.’ A quote that Michele used in – What Could We Do if We Had Audacity? Both your posts kind of compliment each other.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 3, 2016 at 06:26

      I like the idea of a Life Plan Kathleen because to me it seems more focused and organised rather than all different resolutions.

  • Reply gigi December 5, 2016 at 21:18

    Hi Sue! I think I’m a combination of an “intention planner” and “action planner”. For me, I have to be able to picture myself in the position of having acheived the goal!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:03

      Well you can try both Gigi! I’m actually going to try each one to see which I feel more comfortable with.

  • Reply Michele December 6, 2016 at 04:25

    I just finished reading Michael Hyatt’s book Living Forward which has lots of details about creating your life plan. I am inspired to do this in 2017!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:00

      Oh I must check out Michael’s book Michele thanks for telling me about it.

  • Reply Stephanie (@Vaycarious.com) December 6, 2016 at 19:53

    I really like that action planning includes considering the possible pitfalls and preparing for them. I’ll be adding this to my life planning.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 11:00

      I thought the session on Life Planning had some great ideas. Glad you could use them Stephanie.

  • Reply My New Year's Eve Traditions - Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond December 28, 2016 at 11:14

    […] As you may have read, I DON’T MAKE New Year Resolutions any more but rather work on my LIFE Plan which is more a holistic and planned approach. You can read more about this HERE. […]

  • Reply Jennifer January 10, 2017 at 13:21

    I plan my life’s trajectory….but I don’t make resolutions. Resolutions are made to be broken. Goals are something you can accomplish in fits and starts if need be.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 11, 2017 at 13:05

      I totally agree Jennifer and have a wonderful 2017!

  • Reply Let Go, Accept Yourself and Start Living - Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond January 23, 2017 at 01:02

    […] you can plan a future. Time to start looking forward and leaving the past in the past.  Making a life plan is a great way to start living positively and with a […]

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski January 2, 2018 at 05:08

    I’ve been fairly successful with intention planning and it tends to work psychically, but still requires action steps. I like the idea of action planning because asking questions requires you to Google your brain for the answers. It’s powerful.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 2, 2018 at 15:52

      Hi Rebecca, I love that ‘Google your brain for answers’! Have a fabulous New Year filled with health and happiness x

  • Reply Carol Cassara (@ccassara) January 2, 2018 at 23:43

    Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Learned some things in this post today!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 3, 2018 at 10:19

      Thank you Carol I always learn from your posts that is for sure. Happy New Year to you! xx

      • Reply Carol Cassara January 3, 2018 at 10:48

        We old dogs aren’t that old, after all!

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