Design your Life with a Plan

Design your Life with a Plan

Write down those goals

Studies have shown that when we take the time to write down our goals, we are much more likely (I’ve seen as much as 47% more likely) to accomplish them.

If you’re now in your 2nd Act, you may find yourself in an empty nest or facing an empty nest.  Maybe you’ve diligently saved so that you can retire and spend more time doing things you want to do, rather than have to do.  Maybe you’re not ready to completely retire and want to continue to earn an income, but doing something different then what you’ve done in your 1st Act.

When you look back at your 1st Act can you see where there were opportunities that you didn’t take because you were too afraid to go out on a limb, or other people’s desires for your life held you back?

Do you look back and are amazed how one day rolls into another and into another until a year has passed, and then another year?

NOW is the time  to design your 2nd Act

If the thought of planning overwhelms you, but you know you want to take more control of your life to ensure you will look back and be proud that you did accomplish your dreams and lived your life to the fullest, keep reading.


Step by Step process to organize your goals


STEP 1: 

Take your time with this one, because this is your plan for the next 12 months.

Envision what you want your 2nd Act to look like a year from now, regardless of how difficult, or crazy it may sound.  Just go with it.


How do you want your relationships, spiritual life, home environment, work-life, health, dietary intake, income, etc to look in 12 months?

Narrow all your thoughts into 10, or less, goals that you would like to accomplish over the next 12 months.

This does NOT have to be in January; anytime is a good time to start.

STEP 2: 

If you’ve been in a corporate environment, you may be  familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. method of writing out your strategic goals.  Maybe you’re a teacher and have to write these for your students, or maybe you’ve used this method in the past when planning your personal goals.

Specific:        Well defined and clear goals.

Measurable:  Specific criteria that are used to measure your progress

Attainable:    Challenging enough so it’s  growth, but also something you believe you can achieve

Relevant:      Make sure the goal fits with your overall life purpose.  It’s not based on what anyone else                         wants for you, but what you want based on your interests, passions, and desires

Timely:          Is there an ending date?

Step 1 -Set Goal

Step 2 -SMART

By 12/31/2020 I will have….
Goal 1.     Optimal Health BP 128/78, belly <33, cholesterol and BMI in normal range
Goal  2.      Family 6 trips out of state to visit family, monthly parent visits
Goal  3.      Vacation Consecutive 2 weeks away on vacation
Goal 4.      Read 24 Books At least: 2 history, 4 NY Times Best Sellers, 2 classics, 4 self improvement and 12 variety
Goal 5.      Education/Learning
Goal 6.       Personal Maintenance
Goal 7.       Nurture Friendships
Goal 8.       Rewirement
Goal 9.       Spiritual Health
Goal 10.    Social Media Growth

Step 3

At the end of each month…..determine what steps you took THIS month to get closer to your end goal and what steps can you take next month to get closer to your end goal?

You do not need to work on each goal, each week, or each month even.

Below is a sample, based on the 10 goals above.

Goal #

Week 1

Goal #

Week 2

Goal #

Week 3

Goal #

Week 4

1 Cut out sugar and <30 carbs, 1 60 min move 6 days week, cont week 1 1 cont week 2 +64 oz water 1 continue week 3
2 Firm up plans for CO 2 2 2 visit CO
3 3 Research areas 3 3 Pick dates
4 Self Improvement book 4 cont week 1 4  History book 4 cont week 1
5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8 8 8
9 9 9 9
10 10 10 10


An example focusing on one goal:

Step 1:  Increase your online traffic (Goal)

Step 2:  Increase your online traffic by 200% (S.M.A.R.T Goal)


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 
Increase from 1 post a week to 2 posts a week (all year) Increase your word count this week of one of your posts to 2000 words (post later) create a couple teasers for your email lists to increase open rates spend time reading about email conversation rate optimization


Regarding the “A” in the SMART Method

While I like a well thought out and organized plan to reach goals, and a method to measure them, the SMART method could keep me from stretching.  Is my dream really “attainable”?

There’s a fine line between being realistic and pessimistic, in my opinion.

I’m not going to let that little voice that whispers “you can’t do that, you’re too old, you don’t have the time or money, etc”  stop me for reaching.  If a dream continues to be in my  mind, I will put it in writing, devise a plan to reach it and work hard for it.

Would love to hear if there is a dream that you have reached that was a big stretch, or a dream that you would like to start working on.





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Comments (23)

  • jonet wooten Reply

    Great post on organizing our lives and the form you’ve created is most helpful. European vaca… yes please and thank you.

    XoXo, Jonet

    March 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thanks Jonet! I have to have a plan, and I get sidetracked all the time, but this helps me get back on:). Doesn’t that European trip sound lovely? I made it up for the purposes of this blog. No Europe trip for me this year :/

      March 3, 2019 at 9:55 pm
  • Julie Reply

    I like your goals and am inspired to adopt a couple of them! I also need to be very intentional and document my goals, or else I fritter away SO much time accomplishing nothing!

    March 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Exactly! I can spend a whole day being “busy”, but what did i really accomplish?

      March 3, 2019 at 9:54 pm
  • Pamela Jessen Reply

    You put a lot of thought into this Melanie and it shows. Thank you for something I am going to try. It’s well organized and easy to follow and I think I can be successful with this method!!

    March 3, 2019 at 11:58 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Oh I hope so! I’ve used it for years and am lost without it. Thank you for reading <3

      March 5, 2019 at 2:13 pm
  • Rosemary Davis Reply

    Great post Mel!

    This post is loaded with lots of reminders. I too, have a million projects floating around in my head, and the only way they become reality is when I actually write them down.
    It’s so like being on a diet, after the first slip I steam round down hill. It’s Monday and I’ve got my pad and pencil ready!

    Have a wonder week.


    March 4, 2019 at 10:32 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Exactly Rosemary….just like a diet!! Love that comparison!

      March 5, 2019 at 2:14 pm
  • Kim Cook Reply

    My favorite fior paying off debt is to pick the smallest bill and pay $100 a week on it until it is gone! This method has helped us so much in the past 2 years!

    March 5, 2019 at 1:50 am
    • Melanie Reply

      That’s awesome Kim! Bet that feels amazing!! This was a sample and I was trying to give suggestions if way people could pay off. I love that!!

      March 5, 2019 at 2:12 pm
  • Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm Reply

    This is FANTASTIC! I’m with you, writing it down AND putting it eye front and center means I’ve got a better chance of accomplishing my goals. Europe sounds great; I’m planning to go to Scotland this year.

    March 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm
  • Nancy Weisss Reply

    I’m so happy I read this, it’s a wonderful way to recreate this phase of life and get the most out of living, so often we concern ourselves with the future but with out a game plane we can loose our way.

    Thank you for the reminders and helpful steps to improving the quality of life.


    February 17, 2020 at 4:23 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you for reading Nancy <3. It's so easy for each day to blend into the next. We have a lot of things we want to do, let's make sure we do them!
      <3 Melanie

      February 17, 2020 at 9:13 pm
  • jess jannenga Reply

    I pinnd this Mel, as I like this type of orgnaization and I am a person who writes down things, goals in journal. etc.
    Yes, I hope to do more traveling int he next few years.. We want to go to Italy and Ireland.
    Very good post!
    jess xx

    February 17, 2020 at 5:08 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Hi Jess:
      Italy is on my list too! Thank you for pinning my planning friend <3


      February 17, 2020 at 9:12 pm
  • Lucia Reply

    Thank you for sharing in such detail. Having a plan really is a game changer for me. I’m going to incorporate a few of your ideas as well that will help me gain better traction!

    February 17, 2020 at 7:13 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      You’re welcome. I hope something in it helps you reach for your dreams! Thank you for reading, Lucia.

      Xx, Melanie

      February 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm
  • jae Reply

    I like it!

    February 18, 2020 at 2:13 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Jae! Have to be intentional in what we allow in our lives. We have a lot we want to accomplish:)

      February 19, 2020 at 1:51 pm
  • Rosemary Davis Reply


    Thanks again for writing such an informative post.
    It is so easy to read and follow. I am pinning it for future reference!
    Have a plan and work the plan.


    February 20, 2020 at 9:54 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Rosemary! One of my fave sayings <3

      February 29, 2020 at 12:33 pm


    What a wonderful post!
    This can be used for personal and professional growth!
    I am also going to PIN this!

    Rob in

    February 24, 2020 at 11:25 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Robin. Agree…. I do it for both:)

      February 29, 2020 at 12:33 pm

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