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Life Planning Principle #1: Learn How To Number A Day

As this year closes to an end, let me challenge you with a few thoughts about your life.  If the average person lives to be 84 years old, for the sake of argument, you could subtract your current age from 84 and that would be how many years you could reasonably assume that you might have left to live.  So in my case, at age 44, I can reasonably assume that I might have approximately 40 years left to live, although I do realize that only the Lord really knows how many days I have left to live because Psalm 139:16, states, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”  However, for the sake of challenging your thoughts about living each day of your life to your fullest God-given potential, if you were 44 years old like me, and I gave you 40 sheets of paper potentially representing each year of life that you may have left to live on earth, assuming you would live to age 84, what would you write on each page as your personal life goals and objectives? What if you were 64 and only had 20 sheets of paper? With only 40, 20, or even 10 sheets of paper to plan how you would like to live your life to its fullest God-given potential, it becomes a sobering reality of how little time we actually may have to fully live our lives and fulfill our God-ordained purposes on earth from this day forward.  With that said, I think it is wise to learn how to number the days that God has given us by taking the time to make a life plan of personal goals and objectives for each year of our lives.  In fact, Psalm 90:12 states, “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Life Planning Principle #2: Learn How To Value A Day

I once read a story about a man who retired at a certain age and to help him value his retirement days, he estimated how many weeks he would have left to live if he lived to the average age.  So let’s say he was 64 at the age of retirement and he figured that he would live to an average age of 84; therefore, doing the math, he estimated that he would have approximately 1,040 weeks left to live [20 yrs X 52 weeks]. He then went to a local hobby store, purchased 1,040 marbles, placed them in a jar, and began removing one marble at a time as each passing Saturday came and went to help remind him how valuable and precious each week was to him.  As a result, he learned how to value his days and fully enjoy each passing week to its fullest.  In Psalms 39:4 David says, “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am.” With a proper perspective regarding the frailty of life, we can learn how to appreciate each day that the Lord has given us and enjoy life to the full like the psalmist in Psalm 118:24 singing, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Life Planning Principle #3: Learn How To Plan A Day

By this point, I sincerely hope that I have stirred you to a place of thoughtful contemplation and deliberate action regarding your plans for your life in this next year and each year thereafter.  Proverbs 21:5 states, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” Therefore, to help me develop an effective life plan each year that leads to plenty in all aspects of my life, I have learned to focus on 5 major areas of my life [spiritual, social, intellectual, physical, and financial] by establishing personal life goals and objectives in each one of those areas.  To do so, I take time at the end of each year to review my prior year goals and objectives, pray about the upcoming year, and then write my new personal goals and objectives for each major area of my life in my journal. For years, this simple discipline has helped me to live my life on purpose and fully enjoy the journey along the way, regardless of life circumstances that try to knock me off course.  This year will be no different; however, this year I have created a simple to use Annual Life Planning Tool in Excel to help document my personal life goals and objectives for this next year in a digital format.  Should you like to use this simple Annual Life Planning Tool as well, it will be my sincere pleasure to send you the file if you would kindly send me an e-mail request at gborgstede@makeithappenbooks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you and have a blessed Make It Happen New Year!

Question: What kind of life planning tools do you have to help you live life on purpose?

Life Planning Copyright 2010, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Life Planning, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.