I read Michael Hyatt’s and Daniel Harkavy’s Living Forward this weekend. Living Forward is a short book about setting up a concrete life plan with actionable metrics along each of your major priorities. This prevents the all-too-familiar, aimless, drifting through life phenomenon to which many people succumb as they age. I read the whole thing and took notes on it in about forty-five minutes, probably because I already have a primitive life plan that I’ve been refining over the past several years and because many of its concepts are familiar. A decade ago, like the vast majority of people, I didn’t really have a life plan. I drifted. Coming up with even a rudimentary plan about five years ago really helped minimize the tendency to drift.
Nevertheless, after reading this excellent book, I’m going to sit down and make my life plan even more complete, concrete, and dynamic. The book starts from end goals and works backward. It asks,
“How do you want to be remembered?” (Legacy)
“What matters most to you?” (Priorities)
“How do you get to your desired outcome from your current situation?” (Actions)
It asks you to identify key interpersonal relationships in your life, including with those you’ve mentored, and to write compelling statements about how you want to be remembered by these people. This is your desired legacy.
You then identify your priorities, such as spending time with family and friends, succeeding in your career, learning how to play a musical instrument, etc. After you’ve identified your major priorities and ranked-ordered them from most- to least-important, it remaps each of them as “Life Accounts,” which are basically just priorities thought of as financial accounts.
For each account, you write a purpose statement. You describe, in vivid detail, what it means to have a “positive balance.” Then, you describe what the account looks like right now, especially in relation to how it should look in the future. Finally, you assess each account: is it growing, declining, or stable? “Growing” means that you have enthusiasm for the account and are also making progress there.
Finally, for each priority, you commit to concrete, measurable actions to help you move from your current situation to your desired state of being.
The authors encourage the reader to review their life plan weekly and to revise it yearly.