Let’s talk about planning. If you’ve read my blog posts on Kicking your own ass over the past couple of weeks, you will have seen the Importance of identifying needs and making goals to address those needs. Now its time to take those goals and make a plan.
Why is planning important? Benjamin Franklin summarized it beautifully with this simple phrase; “ By failing to prepare, you are preparing for failure”. It doesn’t matter how incredible, important, big or small your goals are, without a plan they are nothing. Planning can be overwhelming, especially when you have so many responsibility balls to juggle. It can also be a time consuming process and will often become over looked in the interest of time management, but this is a fatal flaw. Here is a little fact for you. You are 50% more likely to achieve a goal if you have a plan to achieve it. Another stat for you, 20% of your effort will yield 80% of your result. Planning falls into that 20%. Good workable plans for your goals will push you toward success, and it won’t take much effort to do.
In my life I’ve set and accomplished several amazing goals for myself and others. Here is my planning workflow;
Breaking it down;
Take those beautifully written goals I taught you how to generate and list out everything that needs to happen for that goal to be accomplished. There are many methods for doing this, but I personally like mind mapping. You can google instructions and find tons of Youtube videos about how to mind map. Another way you can do this is by writing each action item on the top of a sticky note, one item per note and plaster the notes across your desk or wall. Just brainstorm everything that needs to happen without thinking about the details.
Arrange your action items in the order that the things need to be done in. This order now becomes your step by step structure for goal completion. Analyze each step and break it down into further micro steps. Micro steps are the tiny manageable Un-intimidating things you need to do to accomplish each step. Guess what! You now have a plan.
You are 85% more likely to accomplish a goal if you make yourself accountable. Go through each step and set a time frame for completion. Put those time frames in your planner.
Every day review and track your progress. You can journal this, keep an ongoing list or use a planner specific to meeting goals. I really like using the Bullet Journaling method. It is incredibly flexible and just works well with my brain. There are resources all over the web about how to set up a bullet journal. The system is deceptively simple which can make it hard to get used to, once you figure it out though you will be amazed at how easy it is to use. Every day review your plan and assess where you are at with your progress. Be accountable to yourself first and foremost (this take a lot of discipline), find a friend or family member who will agree to keep you on track or utilize the services of a life coach to make sure you do the work. If you’ve delegated a step to someone you can simply write their name beside that action item and check in with them with a frequency appropriate to their task.
Every good plan will fall apart or fail in some respect. It is inevitable. Embrace the fail, love the fail, learn from the fail! It is the fail that helps you to grow and become better! People are so afraid of failure and defeat, It builds crippling anxiety and will prevent people from taking action. In reality, failure is an amazing teacher! So, when your plan falls apart, pick up those pieces, learn, fix the problem, try again and repeat. You can develop a set of contingency plans that you can quickly and easily draw on or brainstorm under pressure , what ever works best for you. The trick is, once the plan is in place, let go of the expectation that it will just work and use it instead as a frame work for moving ahead.
Establish a reward
Always set a reward for your hard work! We are a reward driven species. I have gone so far as to tell my self that I am not allowed to eat dinner until my day’s tasks have been completed. Being a food driven person this is a huge reward for me. You don’t need to be that extreme, but if your goal, for example, is to loose 60 lbs, you can reward yourself with a spa treatment every time you loose 10 lbs. Now that is seriously rewarding.
So Here is an example of a plan for a big goal. It’s simplified but you will get the picture.
Goal; By September 30, 2017, I will reduce my belongings down to 70% by selling or donating items I have not used in the past year nor have very real sentimental value.
1. Declutter the house by September 5; Me
- Go through cooking utensils
- go through small appliances
- go trough cook ware
- sort sellable items from garbage
- throw out garbage, post sellable
- Go through clothes
- go through accessories
- go trough socks and underwear
- sort sellable items from garbage (old socks and underwear is always garbage)
- throw out garbage, post sellable
2. Post photos and sale amounts to Facebook Marketplace By September 10; Me
- set up Facebook marketplace account
- take photo
- assign value
- arrange meet up with buyers
- exchange goods for money
3. Donate unsellable items by September 30; Bob
- Compile unsold items into boxes
- load boxes into the car
- deliver boxes to a donation center
Reward: Me and Bob
A trip to the Godiva chocolate shop to spend my earnings.
That’s it! A simple but effective plan. I really believe that the simpler you plan the better, fluff complicated the process. So grab those goals and create a plan this week! I have a worksheet to help you!
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