Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Americans Do Not Have a Plan for Their Life
-- Those Who Do Have a Written Life Plan Find it Tremendously Valuable --
** Former Nike Executive's "Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook" Enables People to Build a Life Plan in Four Steps **
01 Dec, 2017, 05:00 ET
PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey released today by DHM Research in Portland, a respected leader in opinion research, has found that only one-third (33 percent) of Americans have a life plan that they have committed to in writing and use to help guide them through the rest of their lives.
As New Year's approaches, 67 percent of Americans do not have a written plan for their lives. Of those who do have a written life plan, 35 percent say it helps them set goals and gauge progress; 31 percent report it keeps them on track and provides a roadmap; 15 percent say it's a reminder of priorities; 13 percent say it has helped them plan for the future; 9 percent say it has helped them with end-of-life decisions; and 9 percent report it's helpful in financial and estate planning. Of those who do not have a written life plan, 48 percent believe it would be valuable for similar reasons.
A new workbook by former Nike executive Lee Weinstein, "Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook," debuting December 1, 2017, enables people to build a visual Intentional Life Plan and chart their plan in less than a day.
Respondents who have a written life plan commented that they found having a plan helps them to set goals, focus on what's important, and to stay on track to complete their long-term goals:
- My life plan helps lay out my future goals and provides a game plan to reach them.
- Life is too random and unknowable. But a written plan is useful in that it helps to keep one grounded and focused on the goals and things that are important.
- Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than identifying what outcomes they want to see in the major areas of their lives.
- Every time I see my life plan in writing, I become inspired. It gives me energy to work hard to achieve my goals.
- My life plan is a personal compass which guides me through life.
- It gives me something to look back upon so I can see how far along I am, what I need to work on. Things in writing feel more concrete.
- I am 34 years old and actually writing things down seems to really help me to commit.
- If I just said it out loud, I wouldn't feel motivated and thus that written piece makes me want to accomplish it.
- It makes it feel "real" when you can physically see it on paper and touch it.
- When I'm having a bad day, I'll read over the life plan to remind me for things I should be grateful for.
- When I am confused about the next step, my life plan helps to keep me on task.
- It's my guiding light. It allows me to not make rash decisions that I will later regret. My written life plan helps keep my life in order. In other words, when I finish a goal on my checklist, I will know what to do next.
- It makes my life more enjoyable in the long run.
- Without a plan and goals, you're wasting a lot of your life.
"Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook"
"Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook" debuts December 1, 2017 on Amazon.com and WriteOpenAct.com as people plan their 2018 resolutions and goals for the coming year. The DHM survey results confirm the benefit of people setting yearly and long-term goals for their lives and practical ways to implement those goals and stay on track.
The lively and practical "Write, Open, Act," written by Weinstein—a former director of public relations for Nike—is about hands-on life planning without a lot of reading.
"You can build your Intentional Life Plan in less than a day using these tools to implement your plan," says Weinstein. His method in "Write, Open, Act" starts with the premise that we only have a certain amount of time to live this life. "What do you want to get done—and when will you get started? What would successful achievement look like?" he asks his readers.
With his wife, Melinda, Weinstein invented the Intentional Life Planning process in 2000, soon after they were married and discussing where they wanted to live and what they wanted to do with their lives.
"It was clear we had another 40 or 50 years left to live. Suddenly we realized we could—and we should—plan our moves," Weinstein explains. "If life were a project like the kind you're asked to complete at work or school, and you knew you had a limited time to get it done, wouldn't it make sense to develop a plan?"
This led them to create a highly visual Intentional Life Plan—a timeline filled with dreams and goals—that the couple has updated every year since.
"One year, we shared photos of our annual planning day on Facebook, and our friends went crazy," Weinstein says. "Many asked us how they, too, could get started. And several asked us to turn our process into a workshop and a book."
The Weinsteins were stunned by how many people didn't have a plan or a process in place. "Our friend Tracy commented, 'This is amazing! I am so inspired to do this with my husband. This is the smartest thing ever! How do we start?'" Weinstein recalls.
Others agreed the project approach to life planning was smart, and Weinstein began to outline the process for others to apply strategic planning to their personal and holistic lives as they do in their professional lives. In short time, the workshop was being offered, with its success leading to the book.
Get out Your Sticky Notes and Butcher Paper
"Write, Open, Act" is meant to bring the Weinsteins' Intentional Life Planning method, which they have now taught in workshops across Oregon, to a wider audience to explore on their own. "Writing down your life's wishes opens up new possibilities that you can act on to live a fulfilling life. Our hope is that this workbook helps everyone plan for and lead their best life," Weinstein says.
The workbook can be read in an hour and is a practical, hands-on manual enabling anyone to build a visual life plan in four steps:
Step 1: Uncover Your Life's Wishes
Step 2: Build Your Timeline
Step 3: Turn Your Timeline Into an Actionable Plan
Step 4: Keep to the Plan
"Write, Open, Act" helps readers prepare for their Intentional Life Planning Day, which can be done alone, with a close friend, or with a spouse or partner. Readers will take the results of a series of writing exercises—including the illuminating task of writing one's own obituary—and use a Sticky Note timeline process to create their own visual life plan on a large sheet of butcher paper.
Readers are asked to create 1 to 10 life goals for each year. Weinstein directs them to hang their Intentional Life Plan somewhere visible where they live. "It's important to display your plan someplace you pass frequently so you can continually evaluate how you're doing this year, as well as see what's coming up next year and in the next 5 to 10 years," he advises, stressing the powerful impact a visual reminder has on the success of carrying out your plan and life goals.
Weinstein also attests to the power of writing things down: "It's amazing: The simple act of writing goals or desires down—putting pen to paper— makes things happen. As airy-fairy as this sounds, it truly opens things up in the universe, and this process to develop your Intentional Life Plan will put things in motion for you."
The 112-page workbook was edited by Andrea Carlos, designed by DiDi Davidovich, and includes refreshing illustrations by Clare Davidovich and special advice for couples and people 60+.
"Write, Open, Act" is published by Intentional Life Planning, LLC, under the guidance of veteran book producer Jain Lemos, and is available starting December 1, 2017, for $24.95 (ISBN 978-0-9994118-0-3) on Amazon.com and WriteOpenAct.com.
About DHM Research: DHM Research is a widely respected opinion research and consultation firm. It specializes in assisting public, private, and nonprofit clients with planning and decision- making informed by valid qualitative and quantitative research. Located in Portland, Ore., with offices in Seattle and Washington, D.C., DHM Research has a national reputation for objectivity and thoroughness.
Between November 17 and November 21, 2017, DHM Research administered a scientifically conducted online survey to 1,069 Americans aged 18+. Demographic quotas and statistical weighting were used to assure a representative national sample. The survey's margin-of-error is +/- 3.0% at the 95% confidence level.
About the Author: Lee Weinstein is a former Nike public relations leader who is now an entrepreneur. He has worked for a United States congressman and an Oregon governor and served on numerous nonprofit boards of directors. Weinstein, president of PR Boutiques International—an association of 40 PR boutique agencies worldwide—is an experienced facilitator and frequent public speaker. His article "The Restless Soul in the Bathroom Mirror," about his career relaunch, which occurred because of this Intentional Life Planning approach, was published in The New York Times. He and Melinda own Weinstein PR, a boutique public relations agency based in Portland, Ore., and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
SOURCE DHM Research
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