Wishing Your Goals vs. Planning Your Goals
A few weeks ago much of the north was in varying degrees of deep freeze. And there was a lot of chatter on Facebook—and in coffee shops all over–about people wishing they could move to a warm place. Or at least spend the winter in one. There was a lot of “maybe someday…” and frustration in their voices and words.
You probably heard it too.
And it made me think about the fact that we do so much wishing, hoping, daydreaming about the things we want. And feeling frustrated that we don’t have them. It could be as simple as wanting to work out more or do things that make you more visible in your business. Or it could be more involved, like wanting to travel, have more time with family and friends, write a book or move to a new place where you love the environment.
But very few people go the next step. That is, making that plan to make it happen. Even a loose plan.
A friend told me this week that she’d never thought about planning around her desired lifestyle. She puts her time into building her business so she can have a solid income, but never thought about making a plan for her ideal lifestyle.
If you can relate, here’s the missing piece that will help you make your most important business or lifestyle goal a reality: A simple plan.
In fact, you can do it right now. On any piece of paper that’s in front of you.
Scribble that plan down in one sentence (on a napkin if you have to. So many great achievements and innovations in the world started on a napkin!).
Start with: “My biggest goal for the next 365 days is ____________.”
Allow yourself 5 minutes to think about what you ultimately want (the big picture goal).
Then under it, write down 3 steps you could take toward getting there.
Next, ask yourself ‘What do I have to accomplish each month for this to be the outcome?’ Then break that down further into each week. Then each day. The daily step should be easy and doable.
If you take that daily step, I believe you’ll look back a year from now and be surprised at what you accomplished.
If it’s so easy, why do so few people do it? First, most of us don’t think about it. We weren’t taught about planning in school (though we should be). We feel too busy to stop and plan. We don’t know where to start. We have all kinds of reasons why we can’t.
Except for those people who do. What makes them different? They are trained on action-taking. They see possibilities. They look at the obstacles and see how they can overcome them. They know things may not turn out perfectly. But their dream outweighs their fears. And they take that first step.
A friend of mine from Philadelphia—I’ll call him Mark—told me this story about how fast he put a goal in motion even though it seemed crazy at the time. On a mid-winter business trip in South Florida, he fell in love with the small beach town he and his girlfriend stayed in. With each passing day of drinking in sea air, palm trees swaying and people in shorts and flip-flops joyfully fishing, biking and kayaking in the middle of winter, he became convinced that he and family had to live there. But 45 years rooted in Philly— family, friends, his job, his girlfriend’s job, their kids and school and friends made it a crazy idea. Worse, no one was on board. But he mapped out a plan and within the year, owned a home in that beach town and the family made the move. Yes, there was some kicking and screaming, he says. Yes, there were obstacles and adjustments. But they’ve never looked back. (And a few family members have since followed them down).
This big leap had it’s best chance of working well for one reason: A plan.
So I’m not suggesting taking a huge leap without a net toward your goal. Or that it’s easy. Or that it’s always going to be a success story. It may end up being a lesson learned (which can also be a win).
What I am suggesting is with a plan, you have a better chance of reaching your most meaningful goals. There’s almost always a significant gap between what you believe is possible and what is actually possible. But it all starts with a plan. Where you think through (1) what you need to do to get there, (2) what’s holding you back, (3) what you can do to overcome any obstacles, (4) what other obstacles you might encounter and (5) the resources you will need. Then you’re going to be more prepared.
It’s a very personal decision: What’s the risk of not trying vs. the risk of trying and it doesn’t work the way you envisioned? That’s where planning for different scenarios can come in. What could a plan B look like if it doesn’t work?
On the other hand, what if it does work and achieving it is everything you had hoped?
You already know there will be always be some real or perceived hurdle in your way, some reason to put things off for later like we often do.
So if you have a goal that’s meaningful to you—be it a lifestyle, financial and/or business goal—I’m suggesting you write it down. Then, at very least, take a mini-step. And another. (My favorite tool for making sure you take one step a day toward your goal is is Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ method). That will help you gain momentum, and you can adjust course as you go. Be flexible and forgiving. Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. Think about how it will feel knowing you’re no longer just wishing and hoping. You’re making those important goals happen.
What big or small goal would you love to make happen (or make progress on) in the next 365 days? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you found this post helpful, please share, and help inspire others. As always, thank you for reading.
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