People often plan more for their vacations than they do for their lives, and that’s a problem. By taking some time to be more intentional about your short and long-term goals through simple life planning exercises you will sleep better at night. By planning with the end in mind you’ll be more focused and passionate in your efforts toward achieving your dreams.

Life planning can be such an intimidating term. It sounds so weighty and so difficult to do, but don’t get sucked into the thinking that it’s too difficult or will take too much time. In fact, just a few minutes of intentional thinking and planning for the future can reap untold benefits for you and your family.

Life planning is about answering the question: “What could happen if I were more intentional about my short and long-term goals?” Or maybe it looks like answering the even more important question: “What are my short and long-term goals?”

Life planning comes in stages. It could involve deciding on where to go to college or trade school, where to work, what career to step into, when to marry and have kids, or what kind of lifestyle to pursue. With the average worker changing careers 5-7 times in their lifetime,[i] life planning is never more important. The financial, social, health, family, and even spiritual issues to think through and plan for are all important aspects to consider.

It can be helpful to consider life planning through the lens of the ever-important 5 questions: What, Who, Where, Why, and How?

What are you passionate about, good at, called to, experienced in, or prepared for?

Who is most important in your life and how do they fit into the picture?

Where do you plan on going to school, to work, to retire?

Why are pursuing the career, the hobbies, and the people that you are surrounding yourself with?

What are the barriers to achieving your goals and how can you overcome them?

Taking 5-10 minutes to answer these questions can be the perfect platform to start being more intentional about your short and long-term goals. It will help you crystallize specific ideas and think more about the pursuits you are truly passionate about. There is never a time too late to plan. In fact, life planning happens in stages, and two vital stages to plan for are retirement and leaving a legacy. Whether you are a high school junior taking the SAT and applying to colleges or a 95-year-old enjoying the cuddles of your great-grandkids, there’s never a time too late or a time when life planning is unnecessary.