Updated on February 8th, 2019
How do you get from where you stand today in your life to living your next life vision? You need a plan. Only, a detailed plan can prove difficult to foresee. Still, some kind of bridge between your present and future is imperative, otherwise you risk falling into the chasm in between, and your vision remains a dream. I recommend you create a rough roadmap – read on to discover what I mean by that, and how to do it!
Now, what’s going to take you there is a rough roadmap.
The emphasis here is on the word rough. Particularly, if your vision is some years away in the future.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to plan everything you’ll need to do from now to then down to a T. There will be things that you know today you’ll need to do. And things you’ll only find out about along the way. Other things again will change in ways you couldn’t foresee. You might change, too, as you learn from your journey. And the things that’ll happen along the way might cause you to see your life and yourself differently.
I like my life plans rough, and flexible
Apologies if that sounds wrong! 🙂
But I mean it. It works for me. It’s what I help my clients create, and it works for them. So I recommend it to you, too!
What you want is a guide to hold on to as you travel in the direction of your new life. A logic, or an approach, for how you’re going to change your life. If your vision for the life you love is like a lighthouse showing you the direction, then your roadmap is like a series of pegs, or buoys, which you anchor into the sea leading up to your lighthouse, so you can then hop from one to the next.
I call that a roadmap.
You’ll need to put on it: The kind of things you’ll have to do, in order to travel in the direction you want. When you’ll have to do them. Where you’re going to start. How you’re going to do what you need to do.
You’ll want just enough structure to ensure you’re going in the right direction – the one you want. And just enough leeway to be able to phase in new developments, insights, learning, adjustments, or a complete change of plan if necessary.
Don’t be afraid of changes of plan
Adjusting your course along the way. Adding something new to your plan. Scrapping something that isn’t working. Doing a u-turn. Or setting a new direction.
All of these may well happen as you make your changes and progress towards the life you love.
So let them.
There’s nothing worse than ending up in a life that’s wrong for you again, because you didn’t change your plan when you noticed your vision wasn’t right for you after all. For the sake of sticking to a plan.
How do you create your roadmap? Get practical.
Here are 5 key questions to get you started. You could brainstorm your answers to the questions, and sketch your resulting roadmap into your journal. Or put it on a wall poster, with ideas and activities on post-its – so you can move them around if you need to.
1 What do you need to let go of?
Reflecting on this is a good starting point for your roadmap – because unfinished business from your past or current life makes it very hard to even start moving into a new life. It can really weigh down or even thwart your change efforts.
Therefore, your first activities leading to your change might well be to do with what you need to let go from your past or current life.
In other words:
What do you need to put behind you? Which chapter do you need to close? What are you still hanging on to that doesn’t serve you anymore? What do you need to stop? What excess baggage do you need to shed?
You might find you want to declutter your home or your wardrobe. Sell a property that has become a burden. Terminate a commitment that has long lost its meaning. Leave someone, or let them leave you. Close the chapter of a job you’ve been doing for decades. Allow your kids to fly the nest.
These early change activities are practical, and tangible. Yet they also have an emotional impact: You might well feel sad at letting go, even when things don’t serve you anymore, or have come to a natural end point.
You might go through a release of old feelings of resentment, disappointment, or anger. Or find that you need more time to grieve for someone or something you’ve lost, before you can let them go.
You might also find that you’ll feel relief, or a sense of liberation, of having shed a weight and feeling lighter. Letting go can be hard, but if often does have this positive effect, too!
The important thing is to know that these are your normal, natural responses to change, and are just as much part of your life change as your practical activities. The other important thing is not to get stuck in them. So acknowledge them. Be with them. Express them. It’s moving through them, that will move you on.
So: What do you need to let go of? And what do you need to do for that to happen? Put it on your roadmap!
2 What are the big phases of your change?
This is important particularly, if you are planning a longer term change. Breaking your journey down into phases will make your change look and feel less overwhelming.
You’ll see it you can tackle it one thing at a time. And you’ll get a sense of progress and achievement. Which will keep you going, if your change is a longer one.
Here’s an example: Say you want to gradually retire from employed work, and move from the city to the country, over three years’ time. You could phase this as follows:
Year One – Start working 4 days a week. Travel and research places you might like to live in.
Year Two – Start working 3 days a week, and phase in other activities for the days you don’t work. Decide on where you want to live in the country and investigate properties.
Year Three – Sell your city home, buy your country home, move, and wind down your employed work.
So: What are the phases of your longer term change?
3 What needs to happen for you to realise your vision?
This is for shorter term roadmaps, or for planning Phase One in a longer-term roadmap in more detail. It’s about what to do in the foreseeable future that will take you towards where you want to go.
So ask yourself, between now and then: What are the main things you need to change? Which are the big steps on the way to your vision?
For the above example (see Question 2), your more detailed Year One plan might include getting your financial planning in order, deciding when and how you’ll ask for your 4-days-working-week, and planning what places you’ll go see when.
If then, on one of your Year One travels, you find your ideal village and dream house, it’s for sale and you can afford it, and you just know that moving there is so right for you, then you might decide to change your plans, buy the home, move earlier than originally planned. And organise to commute longer, or work partly or fully from home for your 4 days a week.
You get the gist: The important thing is to have an initial, rough roadmap and get underway. See what you find, and, if needed, adjust along the way!
What are your short term steps that will take you towards your vision?
4 What’s a practical sequence for what you need to do?
So you’ve now started breaking down your journey towards the vision of the life you love into manageable phases and steps.
Now put them into a sequence that makes sense for you: What can you do immediately? What needs to happen sooner, what can wait till later? What needs to go before what? What’s a good sequence of action, what’s a good approach?
Also add in what resources you’ll need. Who can help you with some of the steps, if you cannot do them on your own. What risks will you be running, and how can you mitigate them? And yes: Will you want to have a Plan B, just in case? Anything that makes your plan tangible, doable, realistic!
What’s your best approach to create the change you want?
5 Where will you start?
Last but definitely not least, this is the most crucial point of them all. Because the very best roadmap is useless if it remains a paper construct. If you don’t start to actually do in reality some the things you’ve put on your plan, your life will never change.
Finding your starting point is always the hardest to do. There’s a lot standing in our way when we want to do something different! So pick something that’s quite easy for you to do, something where you don’t have to battle against resistance. Or pick something you quite fancy doing. Something that you’re motivated to do.
Then don’t think about it too much, and just get on with it.
Because here’s two secrets you need to know:
One: L’appetito vien’ mangiando, as they say in Italy. The more you get, the more you want. It’s the same with change. Once you’re over that initial hump of resistance to getting started, you’re off. And you’ll grow in confidence for having started, and you’ll want to continue, and do the next thing and the next thing. Getting started is very motivating for continuing. So, if you’ve got your rough and flexible roadmap, get started now!
Two: It doesn’t really matter where you start, only that you start. There is no such thing as the wrong thing to start with. Even if you might have picked a cleverer starting point – you’ll still move in the direction you want. You’ll still get there. And you can still adjust or change direction if you need to, at any time.
So just get going!
If you find it difficult to create a roadmap on your own, you’re not alone! Why not take away that stress, and get some experienced help?
They are designed to give you space, structure and inspiration, as well as guide you in planning your move into your future. I will help you create a practical, doable roadmap into the life you love, find your starting point, and get doing! So you can progress at your pace, and in ways that work best for you.
As one of my clients said:
“Sometimes it takes another person, someone who is unbiased,
to help us see what’s right in front of us!” 🙂
Over to you now
How did you get on with creating your roadmap? What’s emerged for you? Please do share your comments below!
My next post in this series of posts, 6 Steps to a Life You Love – My Ultimate How To Guide to Changing Your Life, is Step 5: Get Underway
Want to review the previous step? Hop back to Step 3: Tease Out Your New Vision
Want to remind yourself of all 6 steps in sequence? Check out 6 Steps to a Life You Love: My Ultimate How To Guide to Changing Your Life