He who fails to plan is planning to fail – Winston Churchill
2013 is upon us and we should all do our best to make it the best possible year for ourselves and our families. Whether we want to save to buy a home, improve our relationships or advance our career, it is going to take planning. Recently, I came across a blog that provided several interesting thoughts on how to effectively plan for the upcoming year:
Wrap up the previous year…
- Your Accomplishments
- Your End Point Dream
- Goals Measured
- Where Could You Have Done Better
- What Do You Want to Change/Improve
Plan the upcoming year…
- Define/Modify Goals
- Action Steps by Goal
- Build Some Structure
All this is pretty straightforward advice—nothing we haven’t seen before. However the one point that I feel really needed expanding upon is the final point—building structure into your planning. You see goals and action steps are merely words on paper until you put them into practice. It is the processes, routines and habits that we develop and employ that actually determine our success or failure in completing actions and reaching goals. Here are some key elements involved in providing structure to your planning:
1. Your commitment of time equals your level of prioritization
If you want to accomplish something, or you value it highly, then it requires you to devote the necessary time to it. No matter if the goal is personal (relationship, development or health-oriented), professional (career-oriented) or financial (security-oriented) we must devote the required time to meet our goals.
2. Time must be effectively divided
Making the decisions regarding how to divide our time between major goals and priorities is a crucial first step toward success or failure. How much personal time? How much career or financial time?
3. Time and tasks must be broken down and tracked
The saying that “If it’s not on the schedule it doesn’t get done” is an absolute fact. However many people make the mistake of scheduling only big events and tasks which provides no ability to manage and track all the smaller pieces and steps that go into getting the job done. Breakdown all projects and tasks into pieces no bigger than can be accomplished within a single time period set aside for that project or task.
4. Allow time for catch-up and spontaneity
Don’t schedule every minute of every day. Allow time in your schedule to catch-up on uncompleted tasks and to simply goof-off. Over-scheduling produces weariness and ultimately can lead to an abandonment of the schedule. Be an efficient and productive person, not an over-regulated robot.
5. Share your goals and be a partner to others in reaching their goals
There are some things we can and must achieve on our own for sure, yet most goals require assistance from others. Whether it’s weight loss, financial management or skill development we have a much better chance of success with the support and encouragement of others. Tell others what you want to achieve and ask for their specific help. Likewise ask your spouse, partner, kids, boss, co-worker, friend about their goals and offer your help. Not only are the odds of success much greater, but the process will be far more enjoyable when shared.
Whether this is part of your resolutions or a bigger plan, here’s some ideas on how to make it happen and make it count.
Have a great year!