Why Do I Need To Make A Plan?
In Monday’s blog I talked about how you can create goals for personal growth, you can find it here, and today I am focusing on how you can use those goals and create a plan.
So why is a plan important? A well thought out plan will help you sort out distractions in your life to help you reach your goals. It works as a reminder to yourself of where you are aiming. It creates a sense of control, and help you make better decisions. It helps you create habits and functions as your roadmap to success.
Before We Start
As I suggested in my last blog if you are not used to working with goals you might want to start with one or maybe two goals. But as you get more familiar with working with goals you probably will work on several goals at the same time in different areas of your life.
I, therefore, suggest that you sort your goals into categories, and I usually work with seven categories.
- Physical Health
- Mental & Emotional Health
- Fun & Recreation
- Career & Education
- Financial Health
When it comes to Career & Education and Finacial Health I will leave them out, for now, I will focus on those topics more in detail in July. So for today, we are talking about just one goal, I will choose a goal from the physical health category as an example for this blog. But the steps are the same no matter what type of goal you are working on, and you follow the steps for each goal.
First Step – Set A Deadline
Let us assume that my goal is to lose weight, more exact 30 pounds, or approximately 13.5 kilograms. My first step is to set a deadline when I need to complete this goal. Let’s say that I will give myself six months to reach my goal. That would mean that I have to lose about five pounds per month. A reasonable goal without being too easy on myself.
Step Two – My Strength & Weaknesses
With my deadline set, I need to take an inventory of my own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to this particular goal.
|I know what food I should eat to lose weight||I love to eat, often the not so healthy food|
|I exercise regularly||I am not exercising enough for weight loss|
|I am stubborn||I eat very irregularly, usually just once a day|
Step Three – Opportunities & Threats
Now we need to take a look at opportunities and threats, this means to look at your current behavior and habits that can either support your work (opportunities) or sabotage your work (threats). This step can also include formulating some habits that you want to create during this process. I do this by asking myself two questions; What habits do I need? What habits do I need to stop?
|Start Doing||Stop Doing|
|Eat Breakfast||Eating so much “junk food”|
|Stop Eat on regular hours (three meals per day)||Not eating only when I have time|
|Add more time for exercise|
Step Four – New Skills & Knowledge Needed
When we have a clear picture of our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats, we need to take a look at what new skills and knowledge we need and where and how to get these.
In my example used here, I would need to learn more about nutrition. I also would need to learn how to cook healthier.
So where can I get this knowledge? I would go to the internet, I can read a lot about nutrition and cook healthy. Youtube has many channels that can teach me how to cook healthier.
Step Five – Take Action
Now I need to plan my actions and create a schedule that fits my life and the goals I am working towards. In the example with weight loss as a goal, I would have to create a meal plan and shopping lists for healthier food. I would need to schedule mealtimes, and schedule time to educate myself by reading about nutrition and learning how to cook healthy meals.
When it comes to scheduling activities for personal growth goals I prefer to schedule them either early in the morning or late at night. The reason for this is that it will interfere less with my regular day to day life, and therefore not create any feelings of guilt for taking time for myself.
For example, I can chose to wake up 30 minutes earlier every day, and use that time for exercise or taking a walk, before my regular day starts. I can also choose to stay up 30 minutes later at night and use that time for reading and watching cooking videos.
Step Six – Get Support
Many times it is so much easier to work towards a goal when you do it together with someone. In my example, maybe a family member and/or a friend is interested in taking part in your 30 minutes morning workout routine or walk.
Maybe you can find a healthy cooking class nearby and join other people interested in learning how to cook healthier as well. And of course, you can always find online groups that are working toward similar goals as yourself.
Step Seven – Measure Your Progress
When talking about setting goals I pointed out the importance of them being measurable. This is how we can keep track of our work is moving us towards the goal. When it comes to weight loss one obvious way of measure progress is to step on the scale. But I also suggest that you in your plan have some room for reflection. This is a more subjective measurement, but it is important. This can be as simple as asking yourself; What is working well? What do I need to change?
I would, in my example, do this once a month. But how often you need to do this depends on what your goal and your time frame. But it is important not to wait too long to reflect. This is the point where you cam tweak your actions habits, and maybe even your goal.
Summary Of The Seven Steps
- Set a deadline; be reasonable but don’t be lazy
- Strengths & Weaknesses; be honest to yourself
- Opportunities & Threats; which habits are helping and which are hindering you
- New Skills & Knowledge; what do you need to learn and how and where can you learn it?
- Take Action; schedule all the actions you need to take and allow yourself to work towards your goals
- Get Support; Ask family and friends if they want to join you.
- Measure progress; not just in numbers but also by reflection, what works, what needs to be changed.
My Final Thoughts On Planning
I plan most everything, I write lists, I create schedules, I write notes and reminders to myself, and have them all stored online so I can access them everywhere. But you are not me, and your life might not be filled with lists and schedules.
I would still suggest that you put your plan in writing, it usually helps you clear your mind as you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. It is also less likely that you will “forget” your plan if you put some effort into creating it.
I hope that you can use some of the tips presented in today’s blog, and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.
Next week I will share some of my favorite resources when it comes to personal growth, both in the form of blogs, Youtube channels, podcasts, online courses, books, and movies/TV
My Video On Today’s Topic
As always I want to end today with a link to my YouTube video on the topic, I hope you will enjoy.