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The Importance of Life Planning as a Student and Where to Start

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

How do you feel when you think about your life?

If you asked me this question 4 years ago when I started college, I would have answered: "terrified". My fear had little to do with school itself, I was terrified because I felt unprepared for my own life. I was opening a chapter of life that I had no idea how to read.

For a long time, I have been scurrying through life with no intention or plan. I just let life happen instead of making life happen the way I wanted. Within the past year, I have started developing a life plan - a guide to finally give me some direction in school and my personal life.

It can feel stressful and frustrating when you do not have a plan in place - especially when it comes to new experiences. Without a guide or anything to give us direction, we have to rely on assumptions and guesses – which can prevent learning, negatively impact relationships, and fuel confirmation bias.

Whether you are just starting school, in the middle of the semester trying to figure it out, or about to graduate and find a career - a life plan can help you.

I want to use this article to express the importance of creating and implementing a life plan, so I will be going over 3 powerful outcomes that make life planning worth the commitment. I will also explain where to start so that you can begin your planning journey as soon as possible!

Plans Give You Control

If there is one thing students want – it is freedom, hands down. However, students can sometimes feel restrained and have little control over their lives, because of constant stressors like essays, exams, lectures, personal ambitions, social demands, and work. It may seem impossible, but all of this can be managed and controlled with a life plan.

A life plan helps you organize your life into segments according to what you believe should take priority. It also relieves pressure from a heavy schedule.

For example, say you noticed your grades slipping because you were overwhelmed by classwork but want to excel in your classes this semester - you can build a plan to organize your work for each class. Now, with an active classwork plan, you have more control over your work and grades.

Remember, planning will not only help to improve your grades, it can work for any aspect of your life. Life plans are like personal guides that help point you in the right direction. This is an opportunity to take control of the life that was given to you and make it the best you can.

Plans Provide Clarity and Specificity

Student life can get very fast-paced, but a life plan can help you slow down and understand where you are, where you are going, and how to get there. We all have dreams and aspirations, but they do us no good just sitting in our minds. A life plan is an effective way to express our thoughts with a specific strategy to turn them into victories.

With a plan, you can identify strengths, weaknesses, goals, and inevitable challenges. The more you learn about yourself - the better you will be able to navigate the world around you.

I know what it is like to roam around with no purpose or intention - and it is not fun. You spend the majority of your time feeling anxious about every little decision, because you know that there is not much thought behind them. I made choices out of random and unclear thoughts, which is unreliable. However, a life plan is reliable, because it enables you to create your own path with clear goals. A personalized plan can help you build confidence and break down indecisiveness.

Add some specificity and make sure your plan is right for you, by asking self-reflective questions to dig deeper. You know yourself best, so you know what you need to address. To spark your creativity, here are some starter questions that you can build from:

  1. Why is (specific thing or event) important to me?

  2. What are some troubles that I might face when I pursue (specific thing or event)?

  3. What do I want to accomplish in (specific thing or event)?

  4. How do I plan to succeed in (specific thing or event)?

Let your curiosity reign free with your life plan. Branch off from these questions and be as detailed as you can. And remember, do not be too hard on yourself - progress takes time.

Planning Leads To Success

You make a plan to help you achieve a goal. Whether that is to earn a good grade on your assignment or to beat your personal record at the gym, a plan can help you achieve success in whatever you apply it to. Research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education shows that plans are transformative for students and can be used as great guides to success.

Now, a plan by itself is not going to do anything – we have to put action behind our plans. You do not achieve a goal just by thinking about it, you achieve a goal by taking the necessary steps toward it.

I have made the mistake of writing out plans and shoving them in the back of my notes on my laptop - never to be seen again. If you want your life to change for the better, you have to remind yourself of the change by making your plan visible. The more you see your goals, the more driven you become to achieve them.

Success comes to those who want it and work for it, and making a life plan is an easy way to start your journey to success.

Where Does a Life Plan Start?

So, life plans sound like a good idea, but how do you even make one? Where do you start?

Well, the starting point is simpler than you think. Your life plan starts with you. The beginning can be wherever you desire since it is for your life. Need some direction? Some key aspects of your life can be included in your life plan to make it specific to you and your goals. If you are feeling stuck, you can use these aspects as starting points:

Personal Life

  • This is the aspect of your life that reflects self-improvement. Your physical health, mental health, and overall well-being are the main focus of this aspect. Do things that you know will make YOUR life better. Some examples of personal goals can be healthy eating, positive habit-building, exercising, meditating, finding a hobby, furthering your education, etc. Anything that you can think of that personally benefits you can fit here.

Social Life

  • This aspect is about relationships. Family, friends, co-workers, romantic partners, and your community are the highlight of this aspect. You can apply this aspect to work on social goals such as meeting new people, strengthening the bonds of current relationships, starting a new relationship, helping out a cause within your community, etc.


  • This is where you focus on your desired career path. Many people take jobs they hate because they do not know how to get the job they would love or what their ideal job would even be. Optimize this aspect of your life with goals such as getting your degree, taking internships, shadowing a professional in your field, practicing your craft often, building a good network, experiencing different roles, etc.

Spiritual Sense

  • This aspect may be similar to your personal life in some ways. The spiritual aspect is all about the self. This is where you understand your morals, values, and character. Focus on this aspect to strengthen your connection with yourself. Some goals may include religious endeavors, introspection, dealing with controversy, facing fears, confronting negative beliefs and biases, reconciling with the past, etc.

I believe that these 4 aspects of life are the most important to consider when creating a life plan. It is up to you to highlight what you think is important within each aspect. Remember to create S.M.A.R.T. goals so that you can be specific, realistic, and driven to achieve them. Also, remember to ask yourself reflective questions like the ones we went through earlier to expand your curiosity and plan to become your best self.


Student life is a difficult one - but it can be managed with a strong life plan. A life plan is effective for students because it can help give you control of your life, provide clarity, and lead you to success. Every day is a new beginning and a new chance to pursue the things that fulfill you. Spend a little bit of time on your plan each day to keep yourself focused and motivated.

Your life plan is yours alone. Make it as personal and detailed as you please, but remember the four main aspects of life that you should include in your life plan.





Each area should have specific goals tailored to them that fit your lifestyle and capability.

I hope you enjoyed this article and I wish you the best in developing your life plan!

What goals do you hope to accomplish with your life plan?

Let us know in the comments below 💬👇🏼


  1. Feiles, N. (2013, July 20). Assumptions are toxic to relationships. PsychCentral.

  2. Harley Therapy Counselling Blog. (2020, March 18). Assumptions – why they are wrecking your mood and how to stop making them. Harley Therapy Counselling Blog.

  3. Walsh, B. (2019, April 3). Planning for success. Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Written By: Avion Howard

Check out more of Avion's work on his Medium page, and stay tuned to his Instagram & Twitter!

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