Simple Steps and Ideas for Creating a Balanced Life Plan in 2015

Written for Ladera Ranch Magazine by Don Saulic, CEO at King Crown Capital Corporation

Living a balanced life leads to a healthier, more productive, and joy-filled life.

Everyone knows it’s true but few seem to master it. Imagine your life as a teeter-totter lined with six buckets representing major areas of your life – spiritual, family, career, money, health, and fun. If the buckets are filled equally, the teeter-totter is in perfect balance: unevenly, the teeter-totter is out of balance.

“Research shows that people who invest time and energy in multiple areas of their life show an increase in productivity and are more happy.”

In other words, set goals and a bucket list each year for all the major areas of your life. As a strategic planning coach for individuals and businesses, I find this approach works! With our New Year’s resolutions freshly in mind, let’s take a few minutes and get started on a simple plan right now!

  • Identify Your Purpose – As an anchor and motivational tool for your life plan, the first step is to start with your overall purpose. What do you want to do with your life and why? What are you passionate about? This can be where some people get stuck and quit before they start so start simple and build upon it over time.
  • Establish Your Goals – Goals give your life direction. Select a few goals focused in the major areas of life – spiritual, family, career, money, health and fun.
  • Spiritual goals – religion, charity and purpose outside of yourself. Family goals: spouse, children, parents, siblings, extended family and friends. Health goals: fitness, nutrition, and sleep.
  • Career goals – your job and education. Money goals – retirement plan, investments, insurances, and estate plans, and taxes.
  • Fun goals – hobbies, how you like to spend your time, things that revitalize you like travel or spa treatments. To enhance quality to your goals, experts recommend making your goals S.M.A.R.T. goals, that is make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to your purpose, and time specific.
  • Strategy – Strategy is the roadmap of specific steps you need to do to accomplish your goal. It starts with an assessment of where you are, a clear view of where you are going (your goal), and a strategy of the actions needed to get to where you want to be. For example, if retirement is your goal, you would determine how much money you need to retire, how much you have, and the actions you need to take to accomplish your goal.
  • Your Plan – Your plan is a tool to help and motivate you to make progress. Ideally, it should be something that you refer to regularly. It’s also a life-long plan so it will change over time. The point isn’t to make it perfect, but to make sure it’s balanced over time. Ideally, you should share your plan with someone you trust and ask them to help keep you accountable to the plan, as well as help you celebrate your accomplishments.

Here are some ideas to stimulate your thoughts for goals in 2016.

Spiritual Goal Ideas

  • Spend 15 minutes every morning reading and in prayer
  • Volunteer at a local charity or church three hours a week
  • Take a test to discover your spiritual gifts and put them to use at a charity you’re passionate about
  • Enjoy a nature walk on the beach or through a forest preserve

Family Goal Ideas

  • Help family and friends create a life balance plan
  • Read a Parenting book
  • Plan a family Summer vacation
  • Establish a date night with spouse once a week
  • Attend a marriage retreat

Career Goal Ideas

  • Take a test to find your strengths
  • Take a class to improve my career skills
  • Sit with my boss and discuss job goals
  • Create and implement a business strategic plan
  • Find a mentor, accountability or networking group

Money Goal Ideas

  • Save money and taxes by contributing to your 401k or IRA accounts
  • Establish a budget to save money and pay off debt
  • Create a will, trust and powers of attorney
  • Develop a comprehensive financial plan looking at retirement, taxes, investments and insurance

Health Goal Ideas

  • Exercise for 45 minutes, four times a week, focusing on cardio, weight training and stretching
  • Join a local league or club to play your favorite sport
  • Eat healthy food from God’s plants, not Man’s plants.
  • Sleep eight hours a day, drink plenty of water and exercise
  • Get an annual health check-up

Fun Goal Ideas (the traditional bucket list)

  • Take a trip to a place you always wanted to visit
  • Have a dinner party for friends
  • Attend the ballet, visit a museum or treat yourself to a spa day
  • Watch the Cubs and Angels in the World Series (that’s mine)
  • As you can see some goals fill multiple buckets or areas of your life; that’s great. Remember the key is to have a plan with a bucket list (goals) across all the areas of your life over time. In the long run you will be more productive, healthier, balanced and happy. Cheers to a great 2015!