All relationships can be difficult at times, but they should not be destructive to our well-being. Learn the difference between a destructive pattern and a difficult season with this free resource, “Is This Normal? 15 Red Flags You May Be Missing in Your Relationships.”


3 Reasons You Need a Life Plan

March 11, 2016

I so appreciate my friend Michael Hyatt and his vision to help people create a Life Plan. I can honestly testify to what a huge difference it has made in our family. I’m thankful Michael is guest posting on the blog today to share just how beneficial a Life Plan can be.

I was fried. It started when my boss quit, and I was tapped to fill his position as publisher of Nelson Books, a division of Thomas Nelson.

Pretty cool, right?

The trouble was our division was in the tank — I’m talking dead last in the company. And I was supposed to pull it out of the fire.

I got a plan and went into beast mode. Early mornings. Late nights. Always traveling.

The good news was that within eighteen months my team and I took our division from dead last to first place. We became the most profitable group in the whole company.

But there was bad news too.

Risking Everything

Rescuing the division meant endangering everything else. I had a wife and five daughters at home then. The long hours meant they hardly ever saw me.

My health suffered too. My weight went up as my time exercising went down.

Finally, I landed in the emergency room with a heart attack. Well, I thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out it was the worst case of acid reflux ever. But the scare woke me up to what was going on.

I had a plan for my division. But if I didn’t get one for my life, I was going to lose it all.

A Better Plan

Thankfully, a friend introduced me to an executive coach named Daniel Harkavy. He convinced me I could get a plan for my life.

That was more than fifteen years ago now, and my Life Plan has meant more purpose, satisfaction, and peace than I could have dreamed when I first created it.

In our new book Living Forward, Daniel and I share what a Life Plan is and how to create one for yourself.

Recipe for Sanity

A Life Plan is like a recipe for a balanced, meaningful life.

It’s a short document — eight to fifteen pages is all it takes — that articulates what you want your *whole* life to look like, not just one or two areas.

When we focus on just one or two areas, we inevitably lose sight of the rest. And that can mean disappointed family members, rocky friendships, troubled finances, bad health, and worse.

Here are three things a Life Plan can do for you:

1. **Clarity.** No matter where we are, most of us spend a lot of time in reaction mode. Our spouses, bosses, kids, churches — everybody has requests, demands, and plans for us.

But what do we want for ourselves? A Life Plan clarifies our priorities so we can know where and how to use our yeses and noes.

2. **Direction.** A recipe has a goal in mind. All the ingredients work together for a desired end product. A Life Plan provides direction two different ways:

* Painting the picture of the end product
* Giving you a plan of action

No matter how much disarray you might experience, you’ll always know when to add what and how much so you finish with something desirable.

3. **Motivation.** One thing I know from studying goals is that the more exciting the outcome, the more motivated we are to achieve it.

A Life Plan helps us paint a truly irresistible picture of our relationship with God, family, wellness, work, friendships and finances. It excites us to pursue the best in every area.

And here’s what’s really great – it works for everyone.

You don’t have to be a burned-out business person for a Life Plan to make a major difference in your life and the lives of those closest to you.

I’ve seen it help people at every stage and station: parents, homemakers, professionals, college kids, you name it.

We all have lives brimming with potential. We can make the most of it with a plan, or we can drift to a destination we don’t really desire.

I’ve seen where that goes. Maybe you have too. A Life Plan can give us all the focus, direction, and motivation we need for something far, far better.

livingforwardMichael Hyatt is a popular blogger and the coauthor of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. Get your copy here!

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  1. Gina

    What about God’s plans? Seems to be missing from the article. Hopefully the book addresses it.

    • Michael Hyatt

      The book is actually written for a general audience, so we don’t go into detail on that in the book. We are both committed Christians and God is our number one priority. However, I have written on that here: “Don’t Leave God Out of Your Plans”:

  2. Jan @ Sweet Jesus Ministries

    I think drifting through life is the result of just going through motions…just trying to get through the next day. Having a plan gives us a sense of why we are doing what we are doing. Then getting rid of the things that steer us away from our plan is so important. I’ve enjoyed Michael Hyatt’s teachings in the past – I like how he lists things out and explains each point. Looks like a good read.

  3. Layna Smith

    I have enjoyed reading your books, doing your bible studies, following you on fb, your blog & on First 5. You are awesome & such an inspiration!! Thank you for allowing God to use you & speak through you all these years!
    Much love,
    P.S. I also wanted to see about getting a copy of the book you were just sharing about on Making a Life Plan. Thank you.

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi, Lanya!

      Thank you so much for your kind words! As far as ordering a copy of Michael’s book, you can click on the link at the end of the post that says “Get your copy here!” Or you can simply go to this website:

      Thanks for stopping by today!
      LT Ministry Team

  4. Melanie Hilliger

    I really wanted to order the book, my computer was acting pretty kitty-wampus; is there somehow a way I can order the book about life planning from Proverbs 31? I want to give ALL the credit to Proverbs 31; could you please help me?

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi, Melanie!

      We are so glad you are interested in ordering a copy of Michael’s book! The best way to get a copy of his book is to simply go to this site:

      LT Ministry Team

  5. God's Runner

    Sounds like a worthwhile read. I’ll keep it on my reading list. 🙂

  6. Amanda

    Your posts are motivating, inspirational, and answers to many prayers .
    Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your life experiences with your family as well as your journey with God.

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