If you’ve ever felt that you’ve been at a crossroads, unsure of which way to go, you’re not alone! Many people face this problem every day in today’s busy world. No one enjoys feeling lost in their life, yet it happens all the time.
Planning out your future is one effective method to tackle the problem of feeling lost and confused about the future. Planning is like a road map for your life. You’re much less likely to get lost with a detailed map. A great place to start is by planning out your next 12 months.
So much can happen between today and this exact day in the next year. But with a map of your future in hand, you’ll have a clearer path for the life you want to experience. What better time than now to plan ahead for your future?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning ahead, put your worries to rest. Breaking down the planning process into a list of things to do (and things to avoid) is a helpful step towards a more organized life.
Things to do:
- Prioritize your plans by putting the bigger, more important plans at the forefront. You increase their visibility not forget about them. The less important plans can take the backseat until after the more important plans are complete.
- Get specific with your goals and plans. The clearer these are, the better. Clean-cut objectives are easier to accomplish because there is less room for confusion to derail you. If you know exactly what needs to be done, you can confidently take the steps required to complete your goal.
- Be bold. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone when making plans. By pushing your boundaries, you open yourself up to unforeseen possibilities that you would not encounter otherwise by playing it safe.
- Pay attention to your resources. You might have some of them to get you started, but you might need to acquire new resources down the line. How will you adapt to these new obstacles?
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale
Things to avoid:
- Don’t be vague with your plans. Your plans and the road to reach them becomes hindered if they include foggy steps and an unclear finish line. An unclear plan leads to confusion and inefficiency. To fix this, be sure to eliminate or limit any distractions such as side projects and other plans that aren’t as prioritized.
- Don’t sabotage yourself. Making too many unrealistic plans will overwhelm you in the long run and bog you down. This may lead to missed or cancelled plans, which hurts relationships with others and yourself. Respect your limits to avoid running into this problem.
- Don’t worry if you can do it or not. Setting a plan doesn’t set it in stone. Allow some space for changing plans if needed.
- Don’t make the plan impersonal. The more impersonal you make your plans, the more difficult it is to see yourself participating in them. If your plans seem unrealistic and uncharacteristic of you, they will seem foreign when you revisit them in the future.
- Don’t copy other people’s goals. Living up to others’ future aspirations may jeopardize your own. Redirect focus to your life, and find what is most important to you. Sticking to this plan will lead you to achieve more of the goals that you set.
Break the vicious chain
Don’t randomly pass through life. Take a moment and think about your future journey. Take 1 hour (with zero interruptions) to answer the action step questions and write down your plan for the next 12 months. Find a friend you can share your plan with. Ask him or her to be your accountability partner for the next 12 months.
Having a friend involved makes the process more fun and ensures you’ll have motivation to stick to your plans. Having this in writing makes it much more concrete and real in your life. With just this, you are already more prepared to fulfill your future.
What emotions might you experience during the 12 month planning process?
- Anxiety. You may feel afraid of the uncertainty of the future. This is totally normal. Staying present will help you to avoid worrying too much about what lies ahead.
- You may feel anger at first, as a result of frustration about planning. While the beginning of the 12 month planning process may seem daunting at first, rest assured that things will become easier the more time you spend on it.
- Rushed. It my seem that you don’t have the patience to sit down in silence and think of your plans, and you want to jump directly to action. Resist it!
- Hope should resonate with you as you gain more confidence in your ability to conquer the planning process.
- Ultimately, it would be best if happiness is felt at some point when you see your effort of bettering yourself is taking shape.
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France
How might you feel after the process?
- Relief in knowing that you are now in a better place than before you started.
- You will likely feel more at peace with yourself. The plans about your future are more definitive and in writing.
- You will likely feel less stressed, because the previously uncertain future for yourself becomes more certain. This allows you to think more clearly about what’s happening now.
- Productivity in all aspects of your life will increase when you have a solid plan for the future.
Start today with these simple questions:
- Where will you put your time and energy in the next 12 months?
- What motivates you?
- What resources do you have, and don’t have?
- What steps (milestones) will you follow?
- Who will track your progress?
Write down these answers on a dated journal or notebook (so you can have a time and date you can always refer to while you’re progressing) and enjoy your journey.
Are you going to start your 12 month plan today? Leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com