Two-thirds of Americans do not follow a written life plan, survey finds

PORTLAND, Ore. — If you feel as if you’re wandering aimlessly through life, you’re not alone: two-thirds of Americans do not have a life plan in writing that they actively follow, a new survey finds.

Researchers at DHM Research recently surveyed over 1,000 American adults, hoping to learn more about the segment of the population that makes their dreams into reality. While only a third of those surveyed said that they practiced a written life plan, these individuals seemed to derive tremendous benefits.

Person writing in notebook
What does your future look like? A new survey finds that two-thirds of Americans don’t have a life plan written out, despite the many benefits one offers.

Thirty-five percent, for instance, indicated that their life plan helped them set goals and gauge progress; over three-tenths said it helped guide them and hold them accountable; 15 percent said it reminded them of their priorities; and 13 percent said it helped them in figuring their future plans.

Smaller numbers of respondents said that having a blueprint for their future also helped with making difficult financial and end-of-life decisions.

Even among the majority who had put off penning a detailed life plan, nearly half saw the value in eventually doing so, the researchers found.

Some positive sentiments expressed by those who were wed to a purposeful vision included praise for how it helped them feel grounded, dedicated, motivated, optimistic, satisfied, fulfilled, and focused.

Of the findings, Lee Weinstein, a former Nike executive commented in a press release, “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?”

Put this way, perhaps the ability to look at life with great foresight can be taught, although clearly not everyone will choose to implement effective strategies.

Weinstein recently published a book, “Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook,” with tools to help readers put together a life plan.

“What do you want to get done—and when will you get started? What would successful achievement look like?” he asks his readers.

DHM’s survey was conducted in mid-November, and has a margin of error of three percentage points.


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