You set some amazing, reaching, and self-improving goals. You told your mother, your BFF, and Facebook. So now you’re ready for the next step. But how do you know what the next step even is? You need a plan. A plan is your path to follow, your GPS as you work toward your goal. Sure you can get there without your goal, but a plan makes sure you’re efficient and diligent. You have 30 Days, you need a plan.
There are tons of different ways to make a plan, but here is the method I’ve found that works the best.
It’s always easier to establish a plan when you start at the end. When you reach your goals, how will you be different? How will your life be different?
And now work backward from there.
It’s kind of strange to think backward, but let’s use an example. In October of 2013, my goal was to Get Organized. And so my obvious, 30 Day goal was to have an organized home, brain, and time. I declared my intentions. And then I sat down and I wrote all the things I wanted to organize in those 30 Days. I listed things like my kitchen, work space, purse, drawers, closet, and calendar. Those things were one step removed from my goal of organization.
But then from there, I stepped backward again. In my kitchen, I wrote down that I needed to organize my spice cabinet, my counter space, my mail center. And I even got more specific than that because I was able to open my spice cabinet to see I needed some kind of spice rack, that I needed to get rid of cookbooks I didn’t use, that I needed to get rid of the duplicates, the excess. Those steps were added to the list too.
These little steps became my starting line where I began.
Looking backward from the high perch of my final goals, I was able to see the bigger picture. And I was able to break that bigger picture down into manageable steps. And those manageable steps became baby steps. And those baby steps were something I could tackle. Something I felt I could work on. And my spice cabinet got finished and looks great, still.
Without a plan, I don’t know if anything would ever get done. Well, nothing I work on would get done.
I’m so easily distracted. So I like to have a written plan either as a list on my computer or handwritten and taped somewhere obvious, like my desk. I need to be reminded, constantly, in order to stay on track. And these days, my plan helps me organize things like blog posts and my editorial calendar. It helps me organize my time in my real life and on my blog. And it helps me maintain my sanity.
A good plan is priceless.
So tell me, what’s your plan-writing process? How do you make sure you follow it?