The Life Plan

It’s not very often you can genuinely claim that a book changed your life, but this one actually has for me. This book is behind my decision to move to Brisbane next year (for those not in Australia, that’s an entirely different city and state to where I live now).

I first read The Life Plan by Shannah Kennedy when I was on holidays in Fiji last November. It was my daughter’s first birthday, and our wedding anniversary, which are both events that seem to make you review the past and consider the future. The Life Plan is perfect for those moments, as it’s designed to help you define your values, decide what you want out of life and decide how to get there.

There are a series of activities throughout the book to help you achieve this, which I did and in doing so something became clear. What I want for my future is a happy family, another child, and a warm, inviting home with outdoor space to run around in, grow vegetables and keep a dog. While I absolutely adore Sydney, and our inner city 2 bedroom apartment, the future that I want can’t happen here (mostly thanks to the insane Sydney house prices, and my refusal to live over an hour out of the CBD and still call that living in Sydney). However we are able to have all of those things in Brisbane (and be close enough to my family for weekend visits). It’s a major life decision, but one that became very clear by doing the exercises in this book.

So, all of that tells you a lot about what the book did for me, but not much about the actual book! The book is structured into seven parts:

Start

This section asks you to answer the question ‘who are you?’ To do this you look at your talents, what’s important to you and the life events that have shaped you.

The most useful exercise in this section for me was one that allowed me to define my key values, which I try to keep in mind when making decisions.

Simplify

This section is about defining the things currently in your life that drain you and creating strategies to clear these drainers. I try to review my drainers list once every few months to make sure I’m actively working to minimise these.

Stretch

This is the section that changed my life – it’s about looking at your life three years from now and working out where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there.

Structure

This section provides some tips for putting your plans in place – think calendar planning to create monthly plans and weekly habit maps. This section also discusses how to deal with obstacles and self-sabotage.

Succeed

This section helps you to create a ‘success toolkit’, and discusses maintaining energy, creating affirmations and moving out of your comfort zone.

Sabbatical

In this section, Shannah shares her story of taking a mid-career sabbatical and travelling the world with two kids in tow!

Shine

This section contains tips for appreciating and enjoying the everyday while being on the journey to achieving your long-term goals.

In summary

I think it’s fairly clear how much I enjoyed this book and the impact it’s had on me. I would definitely recommend The Life Plan to anyone wanting to work towards key goals.