Should you have a seasonal life plan?

Forget the old case of the 10-year plan. Now, says life coach Carlie Marre, you should make it a seasonal thing. Here's how to maximise your possibilities and make those big dreams a reality.

I'm a big fan of life planning. My approach is a big sheet of paper, coloured Textas, some music and a few free hours to myself. I write the six keys areas of my life on bubbles over the page (for me it’s family, marriage, career, hobbies, travel plans and friends) and start brainstorming where I want to be in the next year in each area. By doing this, I’ve found I move forward in all these areas and a lot of it comes true. It’s not magic – by thinking about what I specifically want and writing it down, I start planning how to make it happen and get stuck into it.

But life coach Carlie Maree says rather than an annual event, I should be making it seasonal – and she’s got some solid reasoning (and a planner for anyone that loves a pretty book to inspire them.)

Why make personal planning seasonal?

“Because a year is just too damn long - my growth game is strong and I don’t know who I’ll be in a year’s time” says Maree. “Setting a goal for a year away doesn’t inspire me to take any action today. We are seasonal, cyclical creatures. We are constantly shifting and growing and changing. Three months is short enough that it stretches you to achieve the goals you set, but at the same time, it’s long enough to create real and noticeable change. So I created the Soul Seasons Planner to help people create the habit of continually checking in with how they want to feel in their lives and to make it happen."

To that end, the planner incorporates a diary and goal planning to enable people to have a plan in place for each week and month. This helps make the most of pockets of time more effectively – as well as pencilling things in to work towards your goals and ensure they get the same attention work goals and deadlines do, you can also look at the goals you’ve set out in your planner and do something towards them when you have spare time.

How to life plan like a pro

Never done it before? Step one is to clear the time and place. It's important that you are free from interruptions, including your phone stresses Maree.

Step two is to gather your tools – be it a proper planner, a big piece of paper or even a plain notepad or diary, committing pen to paper is an important part of both the process of planning and seeing that you stay on track over time.

"Now you can sit down and create your ‘big picture’ of what you want to do with your life, thinking about the large-scale goals you have for yourself, which you can then break down into smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals," says Maree. "So what you can achieve in the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today."

These should be separated into the various categories that matter to you. Some examples include:

• Family
• Marriage/ partner/ love life
• Friendships and social life
• Career
• Finances
• Education and training
• Hobbies
• Attitude –including thought patterns or behaviour you want to change
• Physical/ health
• Enjoyment/ hobbies
• Giving back/ community

Once you have your long and short-term goals for each area, you can create a one-year plan, six-month plan, seasonal plan or monthly plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals," says Maree.  "You can (and should) create daily or weekly To-Do lists of the things you can do towards your goals,' she says. "And even better – you’ll have a record of where you want to be and how much progress you’ve made over the years."

And how did it work out for me? While I found I achieved my one big dream of the year without fail when I planned annually, I found the seasonal version a lot more outcome-focussed, as I not only wrote my plans but literally put the micro-steps in place to achieve them into a daily planner.

In short, I achieved a lot more tiny steps, when have already started flourishing into ticking bigger picture stuff off my ‘wishlist.’

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