So many of life’s greatest questions revolve around the future. As young as elementary school kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up. As you get older, the questions keep coming with a future-centric slant. What college or trade school are you interested in? Where do you want to live?
As things go from more abstract to tangible, it can feel scary to plan your future. Deciding on big life changes can feel overwhelming. Things like marriage, having kids or not, and even buying a house change the course of your life. With a plan, you can steer your life toward what you’ve always imagined. Keep reading for questions to help you discover how to paint your life’s big picture.
1. How Do You Want Your Family to Look?
When you visualize your future, a huge part of that includes the people in it. Who do you want in your life? Is it important for you to live close to where you grew up? Do you want to get married and have kids? Think these things through.
Time and life continue on whether you have a plan or not. To obtain a happy life, try to march forward with intention. If you know you don’t want kids ever, or at least not right now, explore birth control options. Take precautions to plan the timing of when you may grow your family.
2. What’s Your Desired Location?
If you discover you want to live close to your parents, set your sights near your home town. Or you might have decided to move away for other interests. People often choose to build their lives around a specific place for one of three reasons: the people, city, or work. You have to decide what matters the most to you.
If you hate the cold, Canada or Wisconsin might not bring you happiness. If you love fishing, living near water might be the best choice. Should a career pull the biggest weight in your life, follow that path. You might land in a city where the best job offer comes from. Understanding which key values are the highest priority for you can help you move (literally) in the right direction.
3. What Career Do You Want?
One of the hardest questions in life seems to be, “What do you want to do for work?” Finding work that is fulfilling can be a challenge. Sometimes thinking about what you don’t want to do can bring you closer to what you do want as well. If you hate being indoors, office work might not be your path. If you want to live a life camping and traveling, maybe a remote gig is more your speed.
As you think through those things, consider what you’re good at and what you enjoy. You spend too much time of your life working to hate it. Depending on location and your family, the amount of time you need to make varies as well. Take that into account as you pick your field. Different times in life also call for different roles. If you want to be a stay-at-home parent someday, that’s important to consider too.
4. What Education Do You Need?
To have the job you want, consider what degrees or certifications you need. If you want to be a pharmacist, your education path may be longer than if you want to be a long-haul trucker. You will need to plot out life differently to live near your school and to pay for classes. It will take longer to begin earning a full-time income, and you’ll need to pay upfront costs.
You can start making money sooner if you decide to do a trade. It all depends on your interests. But understanding the type of training you need and how to get it is all part of your larger plan. Some careers also require you to attend conferences and continuing education. Think about if you’d enjoy being a life-long learner.
5. How Will You Spend Your Money?
How you make money, spend it, and save it, are all very personal decisions. Decide if you will borrow money or if being debt free is important to you. What kinds of debt would you be okay with? Know the answers to these questions before you’re forced to make a decision. It can keep you from years of negative consequences.
If you don’t want to borrow money at all, you’ll need to save up for school and cars. If you want to buy a home someday, work toward a downpayment. Saving for retirement is also something to consider. Like many things in life, where you put your focus is where you find success. You can wander into debt but you can’t wander out of it. Make financial plans and goals like you do in other areas of your life.
6. What Health Goals Are Important to You?
Just like money goals, health goals are met with intentionality. You can’t accidently find yourself with rippling pectorals. If being in shape and toned is important to you, build a life that allows for that. Find ways to incorporate the fitness routine that keeps you feeling good and happy. If it’s hiking or biking, look for a community to support you in that.
Food and nutrition are important for overall health as well. Pick a sustainable food plan that keeps you feeling good. Some people do well with strict diets while others succeed more at an 80/20 balance of healthy options and cheat meals. Try to find food that fuels you. On the note of health as well, don’t forget to prioritize needed doctor appointments.
Painting a picture for your life involves asking yourself a few hard questions. While life can’t always be planned exactly, the series of decisions you make point you toward the future. Deciding what values you hold, can lead to a happier life. You don’t have to let life just happen to you. Through introspection, each choice you make adds the individual brush strokes to your life’s masterpiece.