As Much as You Can Plan, Plan
When you’re starting off anything new it’s good to not only set a goal but set a plan on how you can actually achieve the goal. A plan can be broken down into a daily guide, weekly guide or even a monthly guide depending on what the original goal is.
Yes, you’ve decided what goal you’d like to reach, why you’d like to achieve it, when you’d like to achieve. Now it’s time to establish the “how” behind reaching your goal. How are you going to make it happen? It’s time to make a plan. We use planning in every other area of our lives for anything that is important to us. We plan for our vacation. We plan our weddings. We plan.
Why is a plan so essential to keeping and achieving your goal?
From Ideas to Action Items: yes you might have ideas in your head but a plan takes the fluffy ideas and turns them into tangible action items. When you formulate a plan, write down all of the ideas that come to mind. Allow yourself to be free and jot down everything. Once you’ve written them down, narrow down the ideas to a more concise and feasible list. From this list, you can develop your precise action items. Be specific and arrange the importance of each of the action items, when applicable.
A plan actually takes those ideas and sets an agenda. No longer are they just ideas, they have shifted to action items.
Keep a Tangible Reminder: once you’ve created a plan, take the time to post it in a visible place that you’ll see on a daily basis. Don’t just keep a digital file, print a copy and post it to serve as an actual tangible reminder every time you see it.
creating a plan on paper is a tangible reminder to keep you focused on your goal. No longer is it just a lofty dream, it becomes something real.
Let Your Plan be Your Compass & Guide: There will be days when you ask yourself why you do what you do? There will be days that it will be more difficult to stay on track. But be encouraged. a plan is a guide. It tells you what you should be working on and also helps you plan for what’s coming up next. Although it’s not perfect, a plan serves as a directional compass especially on the days when you feel especially lost.
A Good Reminder: a plan serves as a good reminder. It doesn’t let you forget what you said you wanted to do 3 months ago. Sure, you can schedule training sessions or even have meetings once a week with your academic advisor but the plan itself serves as an actual reminder.
Include a Realistic Timeline: every good plan must incorporate a timeline. A timeline helps you decide what you will accomplish and when. It can be a simple as a monthly calendar marked with daily action items or it can be a simple
Create accountability: whether it’s another person or a reward system for yourself accountability is a great way of staying on track. When you know that you have to report your progress to another person or when there is a risk involved we are more likely to stay committed to the plan.
Be intentional: a plan just doesn’t happen. It comes from committing to be intentional about taking small steps to achieve your end goal. That means, don’t just wait until you have time, make time.
Track Your Progress: How’s it going, really? Measuring your progress is paramount in the planning process. Be visual. The truth of the matter is most of us like to see a visual indicator that helps us understand where we are, where we were and where we’re going. This visual stimulus is a great way to keep yourself encouraged especially when the plan gets old.
Tracking your progress is a great reminder that you’re not where you once were and you’re on your way to success.