In their new book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy deal this basic question: “How can you achieve the life you want to live?”

One of key obstacles to overcome is what Hyatt and Harkavy call: drift. We all have the tendency to drift or to veer from what our intentions are in our lives. It is as if you are out in the ocean and you lose sight of the shore, but do not realize this until you have moved many miles away. This drift can occur in our careers, in our marriages, in our health, or in other arenas that are particularly important to us.

Drift is the result of four different factors:

  • It happens when we are unaware. We don’t have a plan for what we want and we therefore are not even aware of what our goal is.

  • It happens when we are distracted. We are so focus on one area of our lives that we ignore the other areas of our lives. For example, you might be building your business and heavily investing your time and energy into that for many years. Then, one day you might turn around and notice that your marriage is struggling because you have not focused on it at all.

  • It happens when we are overwhelmed. Sometimes in the busy pace of life, we are just struggling to keep up and we say that we will “get to that when this next project is done” or “I will think about that over the summer.” In reality, those are often just excuses and we don’t ever get to the thing we said we would.

  • It happens when we are deceived. Sometimes we believe that we cannot do things or make changes. In those cases we might be deceiving ourselves. (and we think we can’t change…)

Drifting leads to confusion and pain over lost opportunities and the collateral damage it brings into our lives, like broken marriages, alienated children, and the fog of dissatisfaction.

Life Planning is the exact opposite of the drift. The drift is about passivity. Life Planning is about proactivity. The drift is about blaming our circumstances or other people. Life Planning is about taking responsibility. The drift is about living without a plan. Life Planning is about having a plan and working it.

A Life Plan is a short written document, usually five to fifteen pages long that you can read with ease on a daily or weekly basis. In Jewish parlance it is called a cheshbon henefesh, a spiritual accounting that articulates your purpose in life and clearly defined goals that you are committed to strive for.

It is created by you and for you. It describes how you want to be remembered and articulates your personal priorities. It also provides the specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life.

Ask yourself these three powerful questions and write down your answers:

How do I want to be remembered?

What matters most?

How can I get from here to where I want to be?

Your life will be different. You will attain clarity – knowing where you want to end up and the action steps you need to take to get there. Courageously say yes to what is truly important and live your life with focus and passion.