Any roadmap is better than none. That said, if you really want to take your life to the next level, you have to plan ahead with intention and skill. Because it’s impossible to predict the future, the best life maps begin with asking the right questions.
Additionally, they require you to dig deep and bring clarity and precision to your dreams. Finally, they include routines that will help you reinforce the healthy beliefs and habits you’ll need to make them a reality.
Why You Need a Life Map
One day my mentor Steve Myrick asked me to take a ride with him in his Jeep. It was a really hot day, so I said yes just to enjoy the AC. I had no idea I’d be getting some life-changing advice, but not long after I got in, Steve began breaking down the differences between a rich man and a poor man. One of those differences really stuck with me.
“Stephen,” he said. “The poor man is focused on today and yesterday, but the rich man is always thinking 5 years ahead.” That’s when I began to understand that in order to live to your full potential, you’ll have to have one foot in the future and one foot in the now.
5 Questions You’ll Need to Ask
As I said before, the best life maps ask the right questions. Before you start trying to plan the next 5 years, here are some questions I strongly recommend you do your best to answer. Return to them regularly and keep them in the back of your mind at all times.
- How can I compound my time and money to give me a greater return?
- How am I making a greater impact on my family, community, and professional impact?
- How can I deepen my relationships and remove harmful ones?
- How can I increase my performance, while decreasing my overall stress?
- In what ways can I increase my overall quality of life?
If you’re not impressed with your answers to these questions, that’s ok. They’re big questions that will vary a lot from person to person. I’d encourage you to keep thinking about them as you go. Just contemplating them regularly will make you more likely to answer them well.
5 Steps You Need to Take
Once you’ve answered those questions as best you can, it’s time to move on to planning the next 5 years. Follow these steps to prepare your life map.
Step 1 – Clearly Summarize and Define Your Desired Outcome
Using the 8 Pillars of Life, start writing down how you want every area of your life to look in 5 years. For instance, describe your financial pillar. How much cash do you want in the bank? How much income do you want coming in every month? Where do you want it to come from? What will you be spending it on?
Do your best to fully imagine each area fulfilled using all 5 senses to clearly create an emotional anchor.
Step 2 – Create a Vision Board
Now make a vision board using all the images you can find that illustrate your 5-year vision. Post it somewhere that you’ll see it several times a day. This will remind you of the commitment you’ve made to yourself. In addition, the more you think about where you want to go, the more clarity you’ll get on how to make it happen.
Step 3 – Identify Your Milestones
Now, for each end goal in each area of your life, start thinking about what will need to happen before those things happen. Using the financial pillar example, let’s say you want to be making $10k in income per month. Given your other goals, strengths, and skills, how could you make that happen? One next step may be a promotion in the company you currently work for. That may get you $3k per month closer through salary increases.
However, no matter how many promotions you get, it’s unlikely you can get to $10k per month on those alone. You’ll likely need to generate other streams of income in addition to your job. You could find a way to make money off of your hobbies, or you may want to invest the cash you have left over from your expenses into assets like real estate that could generate return.
Hopefully this illustration shows how you can start at the end and work your way back to create your life map. As you do this, determine how many months each milestone will take. Once you have done that share your milestones with a close friend or ally to help keep you on track.
Step 4 – Set up a Routines
In order for the 5-year life plan to come to fruition, you are going to have multiple layers of activities and routines to keep you on track. The trick is to set up these layers in advance and focus on no more than two at a time. Give yourself at least three weeks to develop each habit and stagger them one after the other. Doing this to the best of your ability will allow the dominos fall in your favor.
Step 5 – Believe
As my friend Evan Carmicheal would say, you have to #Believe. You have to trust that each step will set up the next step, even if you can’t see the whole staircase from top to bottom. No matter how good your life map is, it will have gaps that you can’t fill right now. You will need to believe that your goals will happen if you don’t give up and stick with the process. This belief will keep you going when you feel like giving up. Remember: life maps only count if they’re implemented!
Read 5 Principles for a Personal Breakthrough
Right now The Journey Principles Institute is giving away our E-Book library for FREE. If you want to focus on creating a life map, then I recommend 5 Principles for Personal Breakthrough. It will help you frame your 5 year plan with the right principles and strategy.