The Tool to Bring Dreams into Reality: Planning
The key to transformation in any area of your life, whether it’s health, weight loss, finances, relationships, career goals, or personal development, is planning. Planning lays the groundwork for transformation. While it takes discipline to put plans in place and to follow through with them, the good news is that planning is a learned skill. Anyone can learn to plan and to put those plans into action.
Long Term Goals
One of the keys to planning is to learn how to lay out your goals. Some people are afraid to set long-term goals, because they are afraid they may fail or may change their minds about what they want. Don’t let this stop you! You can change, refine, or refocus your long-term goals as you learn and grow. You can choose to view failure as a teaching tool, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
Spend some time thinking about what you value most. What are the things you want out of life? What is your purpose? These are important questions, and the answers form the basis of your planning. Think about the kind of person you want to be in 10 years, in 5 years, in 3 years, and in 1 year. Think about what you want to be doing. Then write those things down.
Breaking It Down
Once you have some long term goals for yourself, it’s time to work backwards and break them down. There are four quarters in a year, and ninety day segments work very well for human brains. Having some clarity around where you are headed can help you pivot in unexpected circumstances. Goal-setting does not have to be an exercise in rigidity. By knowing where you are going, you can be flexible when you need to be.
It’s a good idea to write down your quarterly goals, and to use the SMART acronym as you lay them out. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. You can see where you need to focus, and can apply your energy to get the results that you need to move forward.
You have twelve weekly check-ins in one quarter, so the next break-down is to plan each week. You can use the acronym OPQ to think about how to organize your week. What are your objectives, the things that absolutely have to get done? Relationships are key, so who are the people that you need to reach out to and who are you waiting on? From here you can see what your quality moves are: the absolute priorities for your week. You can see what needs to be delegated, and schedule in what you need to get done.
From your weekly planning, you can schedule your tasks for each day. You can make notes to yourself, on your phone, in a journal, or just on a 3x5 index card, and put those tasks into your calendar. Don’t just say, “I’ll get it done sometime.” Set a time in your calendar to tackle each task, and then do it.
It’s Not All About Productivity
Although planning definitely increases your efficiency and productivity, the benefits extend far beyond that. Planning prevents overwhelm. You create spaces for peace and presence in your life when you know what you have to do and when you have to do it. You can also use planning to remind you to rest, to play, and to relax. If you enjoy the opportunity to be spontaneous, schedule in blocks of free time that you can use however you want.
If you are looking for BIG CHANGES in your life, planning is the tool to use to take your dreams from thoughts to actions. Actions bring dreams into reality.