It’s that time of year where we all begin to reflect on what we’ve accomplished this year and start to plan for next year. It’s also the time when we look back on some of our grand plans and realize after January we basically stopped focusing on them. There are a variety of reasons ranging from not chasing meaningful goals to not focusing on those goals.
I like to use a simple approach called Think, Plan, Do. The beauty is in it’s simplicity. This is all about getting out of your own way so that you can actually design the life you want to live. Let’s take a look at each of the steps.
This is where self-reflection comes into play. Without setting a meaningful goal you run the risk of being unmotivated to do it. Being specific helps in this part. So instead of “I want to make more money”, think more along the lines of “I will create an online business that I can start on the side with a target of selling my product/service to 1000 people before the end of the year”. It’s clear, measurable and should be motivating. But to even get to this point, you need to understand what motivates you and what you are passionate about doing. There are countless tools out there, but I’ve found the free toolkit at Live Your Legend to be a great place to start. Specifically the “27 questions to ignite your spark”. Afterall, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you arrive.
Now that you have the “what” it’s time to think about “how”. Again, being specific is also key in this phase. But another even more important tip is to keep the steps small. Start with tasks that take no more than 5-10 minutes. So, if you want to write a bestselling book don’t try to write 50 pages this week. Start by creating the title, drawing a quick outline, or contacting an author you enjoy to see how they do it. There are literally hundreds of tools out there to help you plan, but the key is to keep the steps small to begin with, but also keep your tasks specific. The tool I use for lifestyle design was originally from Tim Ferriss’ blog the 4 Hour Work Week . I like this one because it forces you to put a cost to each goal and then breaks it down monthly. Again, it’s about getting specific and breaking it down to smaller pieces.
This step is the easiest to talk about, but the hardest to implement. Essentially once you’ve figured out the “what” and the “how” you simply need to execute on that plan. Remember those small steps? Here’s where you actually start doing them. Try using the 1% rule and focus on getting a little better each day.
The reason we started with the small steps is because they’re easier to implement, not just time wise, but also psychologically. So get out there and make that first phone call, send that first email, or write that first word on your blog!
Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Laozi –