Are You Creating Your Life or Drifting?

Are you consciously creating your life or drifting?

Years ago, my husband finished his job in Mississippi, and moved to the Texas Panhandle to be near his family. I assumed our lives would roll smoothly through the next job change and sale of our home without any effort or planning . . . and it didn’t.

I was a victim of what Michael Hyatt refers to as “the drift”—a metaphor for living without a plan. In his book, Living Forward, Michael teaches, “Drift usually happens for one or more reasons:

  1. It happens when we are unaware.
  2. It happens when we are distracted.
  3. It happens when we are overwhelmed.
  4. It happens when we are deceived.
  5. As a result, you drift, feeling powerless to change course. Drift is a state of no passion and no progress.

A study of the responses of 4,000 retired executives over the age of 70 by Dr. Gerald Bell revealed a common regret: They wished they had done more life planning. “I would have carved out life goals and owned my life.” I should have taken charge of my life through goal setting.” “I would have spent more time on my personal development.

“A Life Plan won’t insulate you from life’s adversities and unexpected turns, but it will help you become an active participant in your life, intentionally shaping your own future.

“The experience of creating a Life Plan, regularly reviewing it, and updating it as necessary, has been transformational. As family, friends, career, and other interests have grown, our Life Plan has kept us on track, holding true to the things we value most.”


It took a financially unstable transition for me to wake up. As I became thoughtful about how I perceived the situation, I came to realize that expecting the worst colored my thinking and kept me stuck. That’s when I began to experiment with my thinking patterns and eliminating those that kept me in a place of resistance rather than possibility—I moved into problem solving and imagining my life better.

I brainstormed what I wanted to have happen in several areas: marketable skills to develop, education goals, financial goals and personal growth goals. This included goals like getting m teaching certificate and master’s degree, planning a career path, living debt free, creating an emergency fund and college funds for our children, and figuring out fun things we wanted to do and places we wanted to see with our children as they grew up. This was the genesis of the book, Imagine Your Life, Discover Your Dreams.

Write Your Plan Out

Most people I talk with about creating a life plan fall into two categories:

  1. Those who want to take life as it comes.
  2. Those who wake up and decide where they want to go.

Using the activities found in Imagine Your Life and Discover Your Dreams, these individuals create a flexible action plan that moves them toward what they want in life. They make a life list of things they want to accomplish and think about attitudes and talents they want to improve. Thoreau wrote,

“Most people live lives of quiet desperation: they die with their music still in them.”

Let your music out by creating your life as a blueprint on paper first. Then evaluate and adjust your plans along the way. How will you bring more happiness, gratitude, and enjoyment into your life?

Download and print my 5-year planning handout – set up the years in the left-hand column: 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027.

Want my 5-year life-planning template?

Download Here

One Step at a Time

You can improve your life one step at a time. Once you have begun to create the details for your primary goals, the next step is to:

Brainstorm: Brainstorming helps us expand our thinking to include goals and aspirations that can be integrated into our daily lives. We can invent the future in our imagination before creating it tangibly to discover possibilities—moving ideas from vision into form. Use the following open-ended sentences to generate 8-10 new ideas:

  • If I could do, be, or having anything, what would my heart say?
  • What would I do if I could do anything without training?
  • What would I do for fun?

Go for Detail: When we create dreams without the particulars, what we want is usually too large in our heads. Our desires need to be broken down into smaller tasks or amounts, just as we make smaller monthly payments to pay off a large loan, for example.

Set up timelines: Creating a structure, framework, or blueprint offers a view of what lies ahead before you move forward. Follow through is essential; it includes creating timelines and dated action plans for managing the details of dreams to ensure continued progress.

Once you have specific details, you can identify the smallest action that fits into your weekly and monthly schedules. To say you will lose a pound a month, or save $100 toward a family vacation every paycheck lets you make continual progress toward your goal.

You begin to bring your dreams into reality.

Stay in the language of possibility: The most important rule of creation is to avoid negative self-talk ordevalue your efforts. Your self-talk powerfully impacts intention and commitment and keeps you either flowing energy or depleting energy.

The language of possibility fosters hope, optimism, and responsibility: “I can,” “I will,” “I’ll figure it out,” “I want . . .,” and “I promise,” are phrases that encourage you to move forward and open you to further insight and problem solving.

Enjoy the process: If we wait to celebrate until the fulfillment of our goal, we miss the pleasurable moments of the journey in the middle—the illuminating ahas, and what the experience is teaching us. Savor each moment of struggle and ease.

Choosing to develop your creative imagination and engage in life planning will transform your life. As your thoughts and dreams become visible, you will discover pathways leading to their fulfillment . . . and live a life free of regret.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *