The Big Picture: My Own Life Plan Method

Have you read about the life plan and goal setting methods others use? Do they frustrate you because you think differently or cannot seem to keep up with some of the details they build into their process? If so, you may just love this (and the next) guest post from my friend in the blogging world, Kari Scare. If you like this one, check out more of her work at Struggle To Victory!

life plan

The Best Goal-Setting & Time Management Method in Existence!

Guilt. Frustration. Embarrassment. Inadequacy.

This is how I used to feel when I failed to set goals the “right” way. When I heard about a person’s completed life plan or even a personal mission statement, I felt defeated because I just couldn’t manage to create my own.

Unconventional Life Plan

I have felt like a failure over and over again because I didn’t set SMART goals and because I didn’t do a SWAT analysis or put a daily game plan together in just the right way. I have felt ineffective because I don’t use an app to do just about everything for me, including helping me break negative habits and establish new ones.

Then this thought struck me. If I struggle so much with feeling this way, why am I still so productive? Why do I have so many solid habits that keep me healthy physically, spiritually and mentally? I then finally realized that while my methods might not fit into the mainstream mold of goal setting and habit management, what I do still works very well. This led me to my next question.

Best Life Plan Method?

So, what really is the best goal-setting method? What really works for creating new and breaking old habits? The answer to these questions transformed my life. Ready? Here it is: Whatever works for you!

No two people will use exactly the same life plan method, nor should they. We may take bits and pieces from other methods, but what works best for a person will be unique to that person. We all have different blends of personality style, temperament and learning style, so why wouldn’t our styles for managing time, goals and habits be different too?

As a result of these realizations, I now value my personal life plan method for setting and reaching goals and for making new and breaking old habits. My method revolves around the creation of a Big Picture, a life focus if you will, that sets priorities. It also includes two other essential elements, accountability and regular touch points.

The Big Picture

Each of the elements in creating my life plan holds a lot of details within themselves. The priorities and basic philosophy don’t change, but how accountability plays out and touch points are maintained do change as one season of life fades into another.

1. Set priorities.

My life plan involves three focus areas, God first, family second and work third. My husband and I decided these priorities years ago, and both of our lives are organized around them. The choices we make, such as how to fill our calendars, our financial planning, etc., revolve around these focus areas.

2. Establish accountability.

The primary reason my husband and I combined our life plan into one is to live as fully as possible in the truth that two become one at marriage (Mark 10:8).

Another very important reason we did this was for accountability. While we must make decisions separately at times, we know they must fit within our priorities. We constantly check with each other to make sure we stay within our priorities as well as avoid over-commitment. The idea being that we want excellence in fewer things rather than mediocrity in many.

3. Create touch points.

Touching base on our priorities, which basically means keeping each other accountable, is part of our life’s routine. We coordinate our calendars regularly and discuss commitments prior to making them whenever possible. We have daily downloads every day when possible, even if they need to happen electronically.

We also make a point to talk in more depth on our priorities at least quarterly. We try to do this away from home, say at a coffee shop or on a dinner date. We also go away as a family twice a year for connection that includes delving into goals and priorities.

Solid Guide, Different Parts

The process for creating and maintaining The Big Picture has been solid guide for career and parenting choices as well as served to strengthen our marriage too.

This Big Picture provides the framework for our lives, but we each carry out the unique parts we play in very different ways. In other words, we live in the details in different ways.

Coming Soon

In the next post, Living In the Details, I will detail my personal approach to carrying out a daily plan, and approach that fits my personality and temperament. While no two people live life exactly the same way, we certainly can gain insight, inspiration and ideas from one another. That is my prayer in sharing my personal plan with you.

What do you think about this approach to a life plan?

Which part can you take and apply immediately?

What benefits do you see in using this plan?

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  • Always enjoy reading Kari’s perspective on life… accountability makes a commitment to a plan more apt to be followed.

    • Accountability is essential, that’s for sure. This is Kari, btw. Logging in isn’t working for some reason.this morning.

    • I am with you, Coach! She does a great job!

  • I like your approach, Kari. Becoming productive has been a struggle for me because I am lazy by nature and have a let’s-have-fun approach to life – plus my husband is also very laid back even though he is a very hard worker! I’ve had to renew my mind continuously to see life from God’s perspective so I could keep going – He’s changing me, though! I am now a pretty hard worker and I actually like life better this way!

    • Small steps over time add up to make a huge difference. That’s been my motto for a while now because I think it is a good approach to learning to be productive. For me, I have to put guards in place to make sure I don’t sink back into laziness. Accountability is part of that, but it’s also the process of letting God renew us regularly, which you get at so well in your posts.

  • Looking forward to part 2, Kari, and enjoyed a different perspective on life planning.

    • Thanks, Tom. This process is teaching me to value people’s uniqueness.

    • Thanks for dropping in, Tom! I trust you and your family are doing well!
      When is your next book going to be released?

      • I’ve been distracted with recent changes and crises, so I’m hoping to get back to writing after Easter (Ellen’s mother died on Wednesday after a 4-day hospice care in our home, and I’m juggling 3 churches and a new schedule). I had a tough hospital call last week that reminded me of why I write–to offer hope in difficult and trying times. Your asking about the release date serves as an encouragement. I appreciate it, Chris.

        • I am sorry about Ellen’s mother. I understand how writing has to take a back seat at times. Just know there are many of us out here that are eager to read your next one!

          • This is a second to Chris’ comment. So sorry! And, so eager!

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  • Kari,
    I like your take on this. I am always listening to what others do and asking if it is something that would help me. I think if something is not working then we have to admit it and move to something else. I think change also motivates at times. I am doing 30 challenges this year which I have never tried before and I have been successful working on accomplishing things I wanted to try. Overall you have a big picture view then you put together those things that move that big picture along and you have good checks on your self. Sounds great Kari.

    • I do the same, meaning I look at what others do and try some things out. Some I adopt and use to tweak my own processes, some I toss. But, it’s always important to be willing to be teachable. Plus, you never know where those lessons will come from. You are so right in the importance of having an overall picture and then doing the things that move you toward that overall goal. And, God partners with you on this as you align your overall picture with His will.

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  • Dead on, Kari. I think we’re all unique, with unique situations, unique obligations, unique strengths, etc. So the best thing we can do is really to think about what approach would work best for us – not just to follow someone else’s blindly.

    • Blindly following someone else’s plan is a quick way to get extremely frustrated!


    Useful comments – I was enlightened by the points ! Does someone know
    where I can get a sample My Life Planning Workbook document to type on ?