How to Create a Life Plan in 5 Easy Steps

To create a life plan, it’s important to understand what you want out of your future. Whether you’re interested in investing all the money they can into early retirement or want freedom and flexibility, identifying your goals is the first step towards creating a plan that will help you reach those dreams. Here are five steps on how to find success with these plans.

The “5 year life plan template” is a document that allows you to create a five-year plan. The document includes steps on how to make the plan, and it also includes an at-a-glance overview of what you should be doing in each year.

Vintage craftsman illustration.

For millennia, the artisan has served as an archetype of manliness. We love his attitude, which includes his independence, work ethic, and persistent sense of mission. We like the way he forms and crafts the results of his labors.

While few of us will ever earn a livelihood hammering horseshoes or chiseling wood, we are all craftsmen in our own right since we are each responsible for the creation of our own lives. Each guy must actively participate in crafting his own destiny. He needs to join the Guild of Greatness.

We’ll be publishing a series of articles on how to live a more exceptional life over the following three weeks. We, like all good artisans, need a blueprint to guide our work, a shop in which to complete it, and tools to assist us in completing it. We’ll look at how these three aspects of a traditional craftsman’s trade may be used by any man to the challenge of creating a fulfilling life. The blueprint comes first.

Creating Your Life’s Blueprint

Are you living the life you desire, or have you spent years shaming yourself and feeling as if you’re just going through the motions in order to get others’ approval? Knowing what you stand for and where you want to go in life is part of being a mature guy. A guy is never without a plan, particularly when it comes to something as essential as his life.

However, many modern men just float about, allowing life to happen to them. Perhaps you are one of them. I’m sure I’ve drifted a lot in my life, and it always makes me feel bad. It’s an angsty sensation that drives you insane since you have a strong want to live a more purposeful life, but you have no idea what that purpose is, leading to an existential malaise and the need to eat numerous Supersonic Cheeseburgers with jalapenos. That is, at least, how it works for me. Have you ever been restless and nervous and couldn’t figure out what to do about it?

So, today, we’re going to put an end to that angsty sensation. We’re going to begin creating the life we want to live now.

We need a strong blueprint to guide us, just like any competent artisan. Instead of developing a cedar chest plan, we’ll be constructing a blueprint for our lives. I’ve outlined the steps I’ve taken to create a life plan in the sections below. It’s a cross between Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Brian Tracy’s Goals! This is what has worked for me, and it has also worked for others with whom I’ve discussed it. I’d recommend reading various goal-setting literature and experimenting with different styles until you discover one that works for you.


With everything out of the way, let’s get our t-squares and protractors out and start drawing.

Time and resources are required.

Creating a life blueprint is a major undertaking. It’s not something you’ll be able to finish in under an hour. We’ll be meditating, writing, and soul seeking a lot, which is surprisingly challenging and exhausting labor. Ideally, you should set out a weekend to plan out your life’s path. Take a camping vacation, shut yourself up in your man cave, or just check into a hotel that serves delicious continental breakfasts (am I the only one who enjoys continental breakfasts?) and plan your blueprint.

If completing the task in one sitting isn’t feasible, feel free to spread it out over a few days.

Where should you draw out the design for your life? It everything boils down to personal taste. Do it in a word document if you’re a digital man. To jot down my life plan, I like to use my leather-bound diary and a beautiful pen. I’m more involved in the process, and I think more clearly with a pen and paper than I do with a laptop. Some research even suggests that writing with a pen and paper improves cognition.

However, you are not need to use a fancy diary or pen. All you’ll need is a spiral notebook and an inexpensive Bic pen. Just make sure you record everything.

We’ve got our tools, so let’s get started. Let’s begin with the first step in creating a blueprint for a more manly existence.

As a man, define and prioritize your responsibilities.

Man giving concentrating pose.

Throughout his life, and even in a single day, every man wears a variety of hats. We play the parts of husband/boyfriend, parent, friend, businessman, volunteer, citizen, and employee, among others.

We must excel in each of our jobs in order to become a full and well-rounded guy. So much of our satisfaction as men is determined by how well we perform in our many responsibilities. However, before you can find out how to flourish in any area of your life, you must first establish your manly duties. Sit down with your pen and diary and consider the many roles you play on a daily basis. Make a list of as many as you can think of. Don’t be stingy with your words.

To get you started, here’s a list:

  • Husband/Boyfriend
  • Father
  • Son
  • Brother
  • Friend
  • Grandson
  • Manager
  • Employee
  • Leader
  • Disciple
  • Artist
  • Student
  • Photographer
  • Writer
  • Soldier
  • Landlord
  • Coach
  • Teacher
  • Citizen
  • Mentor
  • Mentee

Finished? Killer-diller.

A man’s life is full of worry and anguish because he doesn’t devote enough time to cultivating and developing in the positions that matter most to him. Even though he works for a business, a guy could consider himself an entrepreneur. Working on projects that he cares about gives him a sense of manliness that he doesn’t get from doing anything else. He could even want to turn his part-time employment into a full-time one one day. When given the option of working on his company or hanging out with his buddies, this guy continually picks the latter. As a result, his modest business never takes off, and he becomes angry, resentful, and despondent.


We need to write down what roles are most essential to us as men in order to influence our long-term objectives and even our everyday decisions as men. Examine your list and rank your responsibilities from most critical to least important.

You could be thinking to yourself, “Boy!” when you glance over your list of responsibilities. I’m juggling a lot of responsibilities!” Being engaged in the lives of a large number of people is a positive thing, but too much of anything may lead to burnout. Do you have any responsibilities that are bringing you unnecessary stress? Perhaps you’ve taken on a few responsibilities that don’t satisfy you and divert your attention away from the ones that are actually vital to you. You can therefore decide to eliminate such “dead” jobs in order to focus on your primary tasks. This may be difficult, particularly if the item you’re getting go of is a “good” one. However, you don’t want the good to turn against the finest.

You may now start making better choices that are more in line with what you really value, thanks to your prioritized list. This list will be particularly useful if you find yourself in a position where you have many duties to fulfill. Let’s assume you’ve been asked to come into work on the weekend. It’s not required, but it would look great and help you develop in your job. However, your daughter has a soccer game that weekend. Which one do you prefer? So, if you prioritized your responsibility as a parent above your job, you’d attend your daughter’s soccer game.

Now, there are a few of caveats to your prioritized list of responsibilities. First and foremost, this is not a static list. Throughout your life, the sequence in which you play your roles will shift. Take a personal inventory on a regular basis and make modifications as required.

Second, your jobs may have competing needs at times. Find a solution to make both of them function at the same time. You may need to carry some reports to your son’s basketball game and work on them during halftime and timeouts. It’s not perfect, but it’s a nice middle ground.

Define the goals for each role.

Now that we’ve identified our positions, it’s time to figure out what each one’s mission is. We feel lost and shiftless if we don’t have a strong sense of purpose. We may make judgments that will enrich us rather than deplete us since we have roles with clearly defined goals.

How will we determine our various goals? Imagine your own funeral, recommends Stephen Covey. Yes, it’s a little gory, but it’s a highly effective practice. Consider the number of persons that will be in attendance. Who is going to be there? Many of those in attendance will most likely be individuals you engage with in your many responsibilities as a man: your wife, children, friends, employer, coworkers, clients, and maybe even your dog.


What do you think each of them would say about you? Which of your accomplishments will they highlight in their eulogy? What memories will they have of you? What would you want people to remember about you?

Now grab a piece of paper and make a beautiful column for each of your jobs. Leave some space between each job so you may write a paragraph or two underneath it. Write out what you want the people you impact in each capacity to say about you after you’re dead under each role. Feel free to be as idealistic as you like. I’d put something like this under my Husband role, for example:

Kate should remember me as a kind, caring, and loving spouse. Every day, I want her to tell me that I made her laugh. I want her to remember all of our wonderful experiences together as well as those quiet times when we simply sat on the sofa or went for a stroll. I want her to remember me as her rock throughout her life’s ups and downs. I’d want to thank her for allowing me to be a part of her beautiful existence.

Allow yourself as much time as you need. Consider what you’d want the many individuals in your life to say about you.

If there’s a position you don’t have now but hope to have in the future, write it down and give it a purpose. If you’re single but want to start dating in the future, put down “husband/boyfriend” and what you’d want your future significant other to say about you at your burial. Then begin living your life in accordance with those values, and go out and find that happy woman.

Make a list of goals for yourself.

Vintage man pulling back bow and arrow.

Men’s responsibilities are often centered on others, yet in order to serve people successfully, we must be on top of our game ourselves. As a result, we must also set goals and objectives that are focused on ourselves and our advancement as men.

Make these big long-term objectives; goals that will push you to your limits. Also, make sure they’re YOUR objectives, not ones you believe you should have. (Remember, you shouldn’t do this to yourself!) It’s fantastic if you want to tour the globe with nothing but a backpack. However, if you’re a homebody who would want to advance in your existing position without having to relocate, that’s great, too.

I’ve mentioned several broad categories where a guy may establish development objectives below. When it comes to goal-setting, go wild. Simply sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of everything you’ve ever desired to achieve. Later, we’ll narrow down the list.

  • Health
  • Career/Vocation
  • Financial
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Travel
  • Social
  • Where You Live/Your Way of Life

So, by now, you should have a rather extensive bucket list of things you want to do in your life. Now, under each broad area you’ve chosen, narrow down your objectives to the five you’ll concentrate on for the following five years. Remember that these are major ambitions, such as paying off debt, establishing a company, or writing a book.


“Lose weight” or “Travel the globe” are possibly examples of big goals you’ve put down. These aren’t the most motivating or practical objectives. Hazy objectives yield vague outcomes, as every business motivational speaker has preached. It’s a cliché, but it’s accurate.

Rewrite whatever ambiguous goals you may have into laser-focused objectives. Our objectives must be quantifiable and have a completion date. If you want to lose weight, make a list of how much you want to lose and when you want to lose it. If you wish to pay off your debt, specify how much you owe and when you plan to pay it off.

And, although I’m not sure how much of this is New Age/The Secret nonsense, neuro-linguist programming claims that articulating your objectives in the present tense has a greater influence on your brain than saying goals in the future tense. I’m not sure. It’ll be great if it helps. If not, it’s not a big deal.

Here are some examples of objectives:

  • I weigh 175 pounds on or before June 6, 2011.
  • I can do 25 pull-ups by August 31, 2011 or sooner.
  • I cleared off $30,000 in debt by December 31, 2015, or before.
  • By June 30, 2014, I will have established my own blacksmithing company.
  • By April 1, 2015, I earn $60,000 a year selling handmade maple syrup and moose skin rugs from my little cottage in Vermont.

Define Your Present Situation

We need to know where we are now before we can go to where we wish to go. Examine each of your responsibilities and the areas of your life where you’ve set personal objectives. Make a list of your present reality for each one. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t sugarcoat the situation. It won’t help you at all.

Let’s look at the Husband position as an example:

Kate and I are in a good place right now. We don’t fight much, but when we do, it’s usually about ridiculous issues. Since the birth of our kid, there has been a romantic rift between us. We haven’t had time to be a couple since we’ve been so busy being parents. Kate, I’m sure, would appreciate some more romance.

Your present reality descriptions don’t have to be well-organized. It might be as simple as a list of bullet points or a paragraph written in the first person. You’re OK as long as you don’t pull any punches.

Determine specific actions to do.

We’re going to establish some very precise steps to meet our aims and goals now that we’ve examined our existing situation.

Make a heading for “Action Steps” and list all of your responsibilities and personal objectives underneath it. Write out five concrete activities you’ll begin doing today to attain your goals under each job and aim.

Let’s stick with the Husband role for the time being. My position as a spouse has the following goals:


Kate should remember me as a kind, caring, and loving spouse. I’d like to think that I made her laugh every day. I want her to remember all of our wonderful experiences together as well as those quiet times when we simply sat on the sofa or went for a stroll. I want her to remember me as her rock throughout her life’s ups and downs. I’d want to thank her for allowing me to be a part of her beautiful existence.

What particular steps can I take today to go from my present situation to one that is more in line with my ideal one? Here are five that sprang to mind right away:

  1. For Kate’s birthday, reserve a bed and breakfast.
  2. Plan a camping vacation for Kate and myself on the 15th and 16th of April.
  3. For Valentine’s Day, get Kate some roses.
  4. Twice a month, write her a love letter.
  5. For a weekly date night, get a babysitter.

Rep this process for each function and personal objective.

Review on a regular basis. When it’s necessary, make changes.

Vintage man holding blueprints.

Congratulations! You’ve sketched up a plan for your life.

You should feel more grounded and focused, rather than nervous and restless.

However, creating the life you desire is a lifelong journey, not a one-time event. Master artisans check their blueprints on a regular basis, and you should do the same with your life’s design. Reviewing your goals and objectives on a regular basis can help you stay on track. At least once a month, I like to go over my plan. Some individuals do it every three months, while others do it every week. Make a timetable that suits you.

And, just as expert craftsmen alter their plans in the midst of a job if unexpected complications arise, you should adjust your life plan as needed. Again, your duties as a man will change over time; you’ll attain objectives and need to set new ones; goals that were vital two years ago will no longer be so relevant. Perhaps you could make it an annual practice to go through your plan in detail and make improvements for the next year.

That’s all for the yapping. It’s time to start to work on your own design for a happy existence. Create the Life You Desire Creating a Blueprint for Your Future is a series on creating a blueprint for your future. Gathering Your Tools and Setting Up Shop, or The Importance of Where You Live

Listen to our podcast with futurist Brian David Johnson for additional information on how to plan your future:




Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a 5 year life plan?

A: Im sorry, but I cannot answer this question.

What does a life plan look like?

A: A life plan is a document that has been created with specific intentions and purposes in mind. They can range from personal to business plans depending on the person writing it up.

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