Don’t worry most people don’t, but then again, most people don’t achieve their full potential.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
When we say a plan, we aren’t talking about a huge hefty project. It may sound ominous but it’s not and it won’t take a huge amount of time. Is just stepping stones from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. 📅
It’s probably worth considering 3 or 5 years from now – somewhere beyond the event horizon. Now you are out of University things are far less prescriptive, you have options and choices in your life that only really you can decide.
However, once you put a stake in the ground such as “I want X by the time I’m Y” it becomes tangible. Let’s just say you want your own flat by the time you are 28 – from that one statement, we can work backwards till today with things that need to get done before that can happen. The stepping stones required are largely financial and will require you to address how much you save and how much you earn, it will need you to consider where the flat will be, what size is possible and what sacrifices you are willing to make to reach your goals.
It also requires you to think about other goals, responsibilities and the bigger picture and how they all interact. 🤔
The good thing is it’s your plan – and changes are allowed. Your priorities will falter but the plan needs to reflect the changes.
Let’s back up a little. We need a plan for this plan 😎 First we will look at today, then dream of tomorrow, and then see what course we need to set in order to get from today to the dream of tomorrow. Therefore, allowing you to set markers along the way to know that you are on the right path.
Where to start?
As highlighted above, end goals are good, but you also need to take stock of where you are today. Then the plan is just about creating a dotted line between today and tomorrow.
A good starting point is to rate where you are at right now. Are you satisfied with who, what, where you are in life? Somewhat satisfied? Not at all satisfied? The answers to these questions are for your eyes only so be honest. It also helps considerably to write your answers down. Writing things down makes you commit to doing it, gives it structure and allows you to have a broader perspective and the ability in future to look back and calibrate if you want to make changes. Since (took comma way)you might find some of this stuff sensitive, it’s relatively easy to put a password on word documents so other people will never have access.
It is also worth summarizing where you are at right now. Be pretty broad in your thinking, consider your health, career, relationships, finances, spirituality, and emotional well-being. This really isn’t meant to be a huge piece of homework – some find it fun and go into lots of depths others don’t spend too much time on it – but it’s good to get a baseline down about where you believe your life is like right now.
Everyone’s input and answers will be different so it’s difficult to be too prescriptive.
Other good things to make notes on are:
What makes you happy? Think about what you enjoy. Think about things that are going well in your life. Include activities, people, and situations that bring you joy, satisfaction, or just make you laugh. Maybe even have two lists – one for work and home life.
Then do the reverse – what drains you of energy and happiness. Think about what people, behaviours, situations etc that create stress and anxiety and impact your moods. Again, consider for both work and home.
The factors you have just described will provide key pointers on what to address in order to achieve a happy life. No doubt for many it will also entail health, weight, structure, career traction, relationships and the overall balance.
Some people find these first few steps easy, others less so. Funnily enough, the next step equally splits people as rather than writing down perceptions of reality in the now the next objective is to dream or project what life in the future looks like. Some find it easy others less so.
Describe in as much detail as you can what life in 5 years looks like that would make you happy. Include relationships, career, feelings, material things and spirituality – whatever you deem to be important.
The greater the detail the clearer the steps can be to achieve these goals. Prioritise them, and note what you are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your highest priorities.
You have done the hard bit of this plan. Now all you need to do is write down what is required to take you from today to where you want to be.
Key is breaking down the steps into bite-size chunks that need to happen for you to succeed. Where the steps are not obvious or unknown – then either plan a way to find the answer or find a different route between the stones.
Overall, it doesn’t have to be a detailed action plan, however, the more specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (S.M.A.R.T) you make the steps, the easier it is to track your progress. Detail for later steps can obviously be added over time, but roughly sketching out the steps and what is realistic within a given time frame can give you confidence in your first and subsequent steps.
Very few things in life go to plan 🤷 – however, knowing your target and the course you are on allows you to correct or replan as time progresses.
Whatever you want to succeed in doing, you have to start working on it. Nothing will happen if you do nothing at all. Those who have a plan are far more likely to succeed.
“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.