Purpose - In recent decades, several activities have been carried out in the form of development projects to develop rural settlements in Iran. One of the most important of these is the implementation of the guide plans. This plan, with its various actions, has caused widespread changes in various dimensions of rural life. The present study investigated the effects of this project on the changes in the lifestyle of the rural community in the central district of Darab county. Design/methodology/approach - The present research is descriptive in terms of describing the characteristics of the society studied and analytical in terms of investigating the relationship between the actions level of guide plans and the lifestyle. In this respect, the required field data are provided using observations, interviews, and questionnaires. To analyze the data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, spatial analysis and SAW model, and Expert Choice, SPSS and ArcGIS software are used. Findings - The results of the research confirmed that there are significant differences between the level of changes in different dimensions of lifestyle, and the greatest changes are in the style of construction. On the other hand, the results of a Pearson correlation showed a positive relationship between the actions level of all executive components of the guide plans with a modernization level of the villagers’ lifestyle. Based on the results of the linear regression test, it was found that approximately 41% of the total changes in modernization can be predicted through the action level of the guide plan. Research limitations / implications - Owing to the different effects of the guide plans on lifestyle changes in different age groups and genders, the attention of researchers to the needs of different villagers is necessary. Practical implications - It is imperative to pay more attention to the efficiency of the environment being built in order to respond appropriately to the lifestyles of the present and future generations and more attention is required on the part of designers and conductors of guide plans to create a suitable platform for the development of communication technology in the villages, which will create a variety of changes in the modernization of the lifestyle of the households residing in them. Originality/value - This research will be important to provide guidance for good feedback, and to make plans for problems. Because it can take positive steps in making future projects as good as possible and such an approach will be effective to recognize prior strategies and design future policies.