Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Wantby Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy
Living Forward is a practical guide that teaches us how to take control of our lives, identify our priorities, and strike a balance between all aspects of life. It presents a revolutionary approach to creating a detailed plan for a more fulfilling life. By putting this plan into action, we will begin to free ourselves from being stuck in life’s overwhelming duties, allowing us to finally live forward.
Drifting Through Life
“If we attempt life’s journey without a plan, we can find ourselves in trouble.”
People often find themselves stuck in their lives, much like sailors who get stuck in strong waters and cannot deal with the force because they keep drifting. They don’t realize they need to change direction. The ups and downs of life might affect our lives in the same way—we can get caught in a riptide, swept away from our intended path. Many people tend to end up like this: their health, marriage, or job may be deteriorating. Perhaps they've lost their spiritual connection, and life feels pointless. They're drifting and soon realize they're far from where they expected to be.
Drifting through life means being stuck in a flood of events and obligations and letting life happen to you without any plan. This may harm you and others who depend on you. Drifting blurs our perspective; it makes us question whether our lives have meaning and lose hope.
Drifting through life takes money and time because we don't have concrete goals, so we lose opportunities and procrastinate. It also causes pain as we become unsatisfied and unhappy with our situation. Too often, this is just the result of poor planning. For example, failing to plan for our health puts us at risk of becoming ill, depressed, or even dying! Without a marriage strategy, we risk being unhappy and divorcing.
The worst outcome of all is dying with regrets. We may be sorry that we allowed ourselves to drift instead of making changes when we had the opportunity.
To stop drifting, we should make a life plan. In this quest, it helps to think about how we'd like to be remembered, what our most important values are, and what steps we might take to reach our life goals.
Actions to take
Creating A Life Plan
“Your life is a collection of accounts, and each of them requires the right attention.”
A Life Plan is the most important project you should work on because it will prevent you from drifting and enable you to clearly define and map out the life you want to live. It includes two simple things: designing your legacy and creating Life Accounts.
Designing the legacy
Most of us are so focused on the here and now that we rarely stop to think about the most important question: Where is it all going? If I continue in this manner, what will happen? To answer this, we should fast-forward through our life's movies. We should consider what people would say about our lives at our funerals, what they'd remember us for, and so on. Our legacy includes spiritual, intellectual, relational, professional, and social capital. It is the sum of your values, love for other people, ideas, and what you give to others. It's the mark you leave behind when you go. When you define a legacy, you specify how you want to live.
Creating Life Accounts
The next crucial step in developing a life plan is to create your Life Accounts. Life Accounts are areas of your life, such as family, work, health, friends, self-care, spirituality, fun, etc. They are like bank accounts with a balance (sometimes you have more than you need, sometimes you have a consistent balance, and sometimes you have less than you need), except that they’re specifically designed for all the areas of your life.
In your Life Accounts, each has a certain balance. For example, your health life account can suffer if you work too much. If you spend too much time on sports, you have less time for your family. A successful life plan ensures that your Life Accounts are balanced.
Once we list down our Life Accounts, we need to determine how we will achieve what we want for each area of life. This will be easier if we divide each life account into five categories:
Purpose - includes the ‘why’ behind each account.
Imagined future - must describe the best version of each account)
Inspirational quote - contains a quote that perfectly captures the essence of your plans for the future. This might be anything that motivates or inspires you.
Current state - contains an honest evaluation of the current condition of each life account.
Commitments - a list of concrete steps you'll take to reach your goals and improve each life account's current state.
When you're finished with Life Accounts planning, you'll have defined life areas, a clear perspective of what you need to improve, and a concrete plan to live a balanced and meaningful life.
Actions to take
Implementing Your Life Plan
“If you want the benefit of a Life Plan, you have to implement it.”
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a Life Plan, you must put it into action. You should integrate your action plans into your daily routine. To do this successfully, we need a margin - space and time to breathe, think, and act. Without margin, we become anxious, overwhelmed, and frustrated.
There are three skills you need to develop to create a margin: triaging your schedule, scheduling your priorities, and declining more requests.
Triaging your calendar means figuring out what you can safely cancel or reschedule and what you must do. The goal is to give yourself enough time to carry out your life plan. Triaging clears your calendar, allowing you to focus on what's most important.
To schedule your priorities, you can write a plan for the ideal week, describing exactly how you will spend your time and perform specific actions. The ideal week is a week you'd have if you were in charge of everything that happened. Each day of this ideal week should have a main theme—time for yourself, work, family, and so on. It should also be broken down into sections with a different focuses. For example, self-care comes first in the morning, followed by work, and then time with family in the evening.
Finally, you should learn to decline more requests; otherwise, you’ll end up having little to no time for your priorities. You can use the “positive no” technique to say no to others properly. It includes saying "yes." to your priorities, then saying a definite “no” to an unimportant request, and finally, saying another "yes" that provides an alternative answer to the person's query.
Actions to take
Keeping Your Life Plan Functional
“The Weekly Review is essential. The Quarterly Review is helpful. But if you really want to keep your Life Plan alive, an Annual Review is critical.”
A Life Plan is only useful if you regularly review it. Once your Life Plan is finished, developing an evaluation routine is crucial. To keep your Life Plan functional, you should examine, adjust, and modify it daily, weekly, quarterly, and annually.
Daily review: Reading your Life Plan each day will allow you to remember every part of your plan.
Weekly review: The weekly review allows you to step back from the never-ending stream of tasks, focus on the big picture, and give you time to assess your progress toward the goals you set for yourself in your Life Plan.
Quarterly review: Reviewing your progress quarterly is necessary to ensure you're on the right road. Rather than wasting a whole year before recognizing you were headed in the wrong direction, you may make little, steady progress toward your goal.
Annual review: An annual review is essential to keep your Life Plan functional. It's time to step back from day-to-day activities, deeply examine your progress over the last year, and set goals for the next 12 months.
The weekly, quarterly, and annual Reviews guarantee that you continually progress toward a desired future.