Don’t look now, but Thanksgiving is next week. If you’re at all like me, it seems like we just carved a turkey and yet here we are flooded with Facebook posts of gratitude again. Before long, we will all be watching the ball drop and welcoming 2017 while hoping our lives change with New Year’s resolutions.
Ok, maybe I time lapsed that just a little bit, but the point is, 2017 is seriously just an eye blink away. New Year’s resolutions are inspiring, but they seldom work. Now is the time to plan to make it your most successful year yet. Creating a plan to make this happen comes down to three critical steps: identifying what you want, identifying why you want it and identifying the steps required to make it happen. These are the elements in a great personal strategic plan.
Identify What You Want
Sometimes this is the hardest part. We have so many options in today’s society that many of us suffer from decision fatigue and find it hard to focus on what it is we actually want.
I find that making a list of the things that I need to improve always helps as a starting point. I look for what would make me better in each area of my life and that becomes my list of goals for the coming year. Two years ago, it included reading a book a week. When I’m done, I usually have about ten things that I’ve identified that I want.
Identify Why You Want It
Tony Robbins says that when you have a why you can endure any how. I’m pretty sure he paraphrased this from Victor Frankl, but it’s still a powerful message.
Once we identify what it is that we want, getting clear about why we want it will make our plan that much more powerful. Going back to the goals that I identified, it was the thought that studying as a subject for an hour a day can make someone a national expert in that subject in five years that served as my reason why. Identifying why we want what we want brings our passion into play and that’s where the power lies.
Identify The Steps Required To Make It Happen
This is the action part of a plan and its what separates a strategic plan for your year from a list of New Year’s resolutions.
Every goal we have has a set of action steps required to achieve them. If we don’t list them, its really easy to miss them. This may sound really basic, but it’s not. Everyone knows that you can’t make a cake without adding flour and eggs, but they’re listed in the recipe because, without these things, the cake will never develop. Action steps for our goals are the same way.
In my example above, I had to develop a list of books, block out time to read and find strategies to get the books that I wanted in order to read a book a week. Listing the action steps gives us something to work on daily to make it our goals reality and it’s a critical step.
No matter what it is you want for 2017, now is the time to start planning for it. It will take time to identify what it is you want. It will take thought to identify your real reason for wanting it and it will take effort to identify the actions steps required to make it happen. Working on this in November 2016 will make it a whole lot easier to get started in January 2017. Now is the time to make 2017 your best year yet. Make a plan a make it happen!