Why Have a Written Life Plan?

We as a society talk about the importance of financial plans and wills, but “Intentional Life Plans” are not currently part of our vernacular. That needs to change, and “Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook,” is here to help change that.

Our survey partner, DHM Research, asked 1,069 Americans aged 18+ in a scientifically conducted online survey between November 17–21, 2017, “Do you have a life plan that you have committed to in writing and use to help guide you through the rest of your life?”

One-third of the respondents answered “yes,” while 67 percent said “no.”

Of those who do have a written life plan:

  • 35 percent say it helps them set goals and gauge progress;
  • 31 percent report it keeps them on track and provides a road map;
  • 15 percent say it’s a reminder of priorities;
  • 13 percent say it has helped them plan for the future;
  • 9 percent say it has helped them with end-of-life decisions; and
  • 9 percent report it’s helpful in financial and estate planning.

Almost half of the respondents (48 percent) who do not have a written life plan believe it would be valuable for the reasons above.

Respondents who have a written life plan commented that they found having a plan helps them set goals, focus on what’s important and stay on track to complete their long-term goals:

  • My life plan helps lay out my future goals and provides a game plan to reach them.
  • Life is too random and unknowable. But a written plan is useful in that it helps to keep one grounded and focused on the goals and things that are important.
  • Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than identifying what outcomes they want to see in the major areas of their lives.
  • Every time I see my life plan in writing, I become inspired. It gives me energy to work hard to achieve my goals.
  • My life plan is a personal compass which guides me through life.
  • It gives me something to look back upon so I can see how far along I am, what I need to work on. Things in writing feel more concrete.
  • I am 34 years old, and actually writing things down seems to really help me to commit.
  • If I just said it out loud, I wouldn’t feel motivated, and thus that written piece makes me want to accomplish it.
  • It makes it feel “real” when you can physically see it on paper and touch it.
  • When I’m having a bad day, I’ll read over the life plan to remind me of things I should be grateful for.
  • When I am confused about the next step, my life plan helps to keep me on task.
  • It’s my guiding light. It allows me to not make rash decisions that I will later regret. My written life plan helps keep my life in order. In other words, when I finish a goal on my checklist, I will know what to do next.
  • It makes my life more enjoyable in the long run.
  • Without a plan and goals, you’re wasting a lot of your life.

As a CEO friend wrote, “So weird how I can build a business strategy and a detailed action plan but I can’t seem to get my personal goals on paper.”

What do you intend to do with your life?

With 2018 approaching, there’s no better time to start creating your Intentional Life Plan.

After all, we only get so many trips around the sun.

Please visit www.writeopenact.com for information about our workbook, and stay tuned for a video tutorial.