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Epic Life Planning
I love that title, Epic Life Planning. ‘Epic’ because don’t we want to live an adventurously and look back on our life knowing that we left it all out there. ‘Life’ because it’s not about short-term gains or wins, rather it’s the consistency and delayed gratification that leads to long-term achievements. And ‘Planning’ because, well, I’m just not spontaneous. I believe through planning, we can minimize the distractions and disruptions, and actually have more time to pursue happiness.
My Epic Life Planner is a method I’ve used for several years to pick my yearly goals with a big picture focus on my life goals. It balances the need to have short-term and long-term planning in order to achieve the most in our life.
Ok, so what do we do about this? How do we embrace the failures and strive for something more? I’m about to get very detailed and step-by-step (green!), so just bear with me and try it.
The key is to keep it all simple yet very thoughtful. I’ve made my own Plan Schedule Execute tool on how to do this, so download it for free.
Step 1: Setting Your Goals
Establish 4 clear goals for the year (Tab 1 of my free download). If it’s already halfway through the year, establish 2 goals then. Your goals should be a combination of:
- Skill-building — Such as learning to play a guitar, taking tennis lessons, or computer programming.
- Adventuring or unique experiences — Such as going to Europe for a week, or doing a hike in a national park.
- Producing an accomplishment — Such as starting your own podcast, writing a book, or getting that 6-pack you always wanted.
Then divide out how you’ll do those 4 goals throughout the 52 weeks in a year (which my free download already has the 52 weeks broken out for you). We can probably assume Thanksgiving and Christmas weekend are blocked out. That leaves 50 weeks to spread out the 4 goals above. If one of your goals is a trip somewhere, set aside a weekend or two to plan the trip, and block out the actual week of the trip. If a goal is to build a skill, then set aside several weekends to focus on that. If the goal is to start writing a book, then aside several weekends for that.
After you’ve got a good game plan for the year, simply refer to it as often as you’d like. Of course unexpected events will happen so allow yourself to make adjustments! Take the time to grade yourself afterwards too. Highlight that week on the spreadsheet and color it green if you did what you said, or red if you utterly failed and did a Netflix binge.
Step 2: Weekly Planning
Now that you have each week of the year loosely planned out, take a step further by planning out your week. I know, this might seem too detailed and intense, but this is where we make the conscious decision to do what we say and hold ourselves accountable. The key here is to be realistic. You may not be able to work on your stated goal every day of the week nor sustain that pace. So, build in a few nights of relaxation and hanging out.
Bonus Step: Life Goals
So we did big planning by accomplishing 4 goals in a year. Then we dissected that year into weekly bite-sized chunks, and even down to the day. Now, let’s go back and think bigger. I read a great article by Westenberg called How To Invest In Yourself. In it, he outlines a method to accomplish 100 things in your life by doing 4 of them a year. Sound familiar? Well, if you do both my suggestions and his, you’ll be full control of your life and holding yourself accountable too.
Finally, the quote above also delivers perhaps the most important concept to have a happy life — acceptance. Can you accept where you are in life? Can you accept the decisions you’ve made has led to where you are? Can you accept your emotional reactions? I’ve dive deeper into this concept on future posts. Until then, hope this guide treats you well and you enjoy this free downloadable template to get you started
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