Lifestyles and Dreams

Steps for network planning groups, facilitators, individuals and families

1. What is the Context?

Your goal:  Your goal is to meet the family/person and to build a solid relationship of understanding based on mutual respect. Possible probes or activities that can facilitate the goal:

  • Ask: What is my life like right now? What is my family’s life like? What do I do at various times?
  • What are my favourite things to do? What do other people like about me?
  • Who is important in my life right now? What issues am I facing?

2. My Personal Network – Who is in it?

Your goal: To gain an understanding of who is in an individual’s support network and to offer not only the individual, but also the family, support. Your immediate task is to invite others to become a part of the planning network.

The Lifestyle Planning Process Possible probes or activities that can facilitate the goal:

  • Who are the people that are important in my life right now?
  • Can I map all the people of importance in my life?
  • Which people from this map would I like to assist me in figuring out how I can have a good life in community? Who should join the planning network?
  • Who in my map would I like to get to know better?

3. Dreams – What are mine?

Your goal: To facilitate the person’s ability to dream and to be intentional in the process of building a good life in community. Possible probes or activities that can facilitate your ambitions and aspirations are to be identified.

What are my personal dreams? What is it that I hope for in the future?

Expect some dreams to be very specific; others will be quite vague and long term in nature. Remember:

  • Dreams are relative to where you stand now and where you would like to be
  • That it takes time to figure out dreams
  • Performing exercises and asking questions can help – “How do I define a good life?”
  • Dreams can relate to personal fears – “What are my fears?”
  • Comfort within the group is important so that I will willingly share my dreams
  • Probing dreams is essential – “What is it about …?”


What do we believe is possible? What is it that we hope for?

Some people and their families will not know how to dream – exercises and dialogues can help them break out of their shells and dare to dream.

4. What are my Interests and Strengths?

Your goal: To help the person and his or her network planning group to identify the interest and strengths of the person.

Possible probes or activities that can facilitate the attainment of goals are.

  • What is it that I am good at?
  • What natural gifts do I have? What would others say about these gifts?
  • What are my personal interests?
  • What is it that I love to do?

5. What are my personal needs?

Your goal: To give the individual and the network planning group the ability to identify the needs of the person in clear, easy-to-understand statements.

Possible probes or activities that can facilitate the goals are:

  • What are my daily needs?
  • What routines do I use to help ensure I will have a good day?
  • What type of scheduling addresses my daily needs?

The Lifestyle Planning Process

  • What is it that others would say about my needs?
  • Keep in mind: needs could be seen as deficits!


Some people might need to feel secure in order to leave their homes. Others might find they have to have carefully planned out routines to enjoy a meaningful day. Drafting statement of needs of an individual is vital for attaining the desired goals.

 6. What Goals Should I have to help Me Build a Good Life?

Your goal: To help the individual and the network planning group to identify goals for the individual’s Lifestyle Plan. (These goals will come from the dream, the listed strengths, the needs that must be met. They may only come one at a time.)

Possible probes or activities that can facilitate the goal;

  • Considering my personal dream (particularly if it is well defined), who would understand it?
  • Considering my dream (particularly if it is well defined), what places might understand the dream?
  • In light of the list of places and people, what goals make sense for me right now?
  • Given the list of people and places, what goals now make sense?
  • Considering my needs and strengths, what would I enjoy doing that I could be successful at?

7. What Supports and Actions Can Make My Goals Reality?

Your goal: To assist the person and the network planning group in developing a plan to implement the goals (sometimes a small group can draw up a first draft and share it with the entire network planning group).

Possible probes or activities that can facilitate the goal:

  • What actions make sense to attain each individual goal?
  • Who is able to perform this action? (friend, family, paid support)
  • What is the timing for the action to be taken?
  • Who will be responsible for monitoring the action plan and making sure it happens?
  • What supports will be required to perform the action (informal voluntary, formal paid)?
  • How will we facilitate the development of these supports?


It is possible that you will find some resources in the community that will not cost anything and fit well, or you can purchase support, or hire a connector or support person.

8. What will My Personal Plan Look Like?

Your goal: To create a plan that describes the individual, his or her dreams, strengths, goals and the actions and supports that are needed. Budgeting for support or connectors might also be attached. This is a critical part of the Lifestyle Planning Process. Plan to determine both informal supports (family, friends and even the community) as well as more formalized support (paid assistance).

9. Who will be Responsible for Implementing My Plan?

Your goal: To be certain the Plan is put into action as designed. During the planning phase, some network planning group members, as well as some community partners, will have agreed to certain responsibilities. The facilitator is there to provide support for the person and the family to see that the Plan is put into action as it was designed.

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