Plan for Success

Rest, Reflect, Rebrand
December 26, 2011
Can you pass the Kleenex test?
January 9, 2012

IStock_000012686196XSmallAs the new year starts, our heads are full with resolutions of looking better, feeling better and being better. Imagining how we are going to look when we drop those nagging 20 pounds or how great we will feel when we finally get our home office cleaned out and organized, we are filled with energy and enthusiasm. However, come March we look back at the previous two months and wonder what happened? We are still hanging on to our not-so-beloved love handles and our home offices still look like a tornado passed through. What happened to all our good intentions?

Now I am a tried and true believer in the power of intentions, but having a clear intention is only half the equation to reaching your goals. Most of us have very clear ideas of what we’d like to see happen in the new year (usually, that clarity has something to do with a size 6 dress!), but something gets lost in the actual manifesting of the vision. The problem usually lies in not having a clearly laid out PLAN to follow outlining all the necessary steps to actually achieve your goal.

When I was singing with the opera company, before every show we would have a tech rehearsal. This was a rehearsal with little to no singing. Instead it was meant to walk through the entire opera, practicing the blocking, making sure the lighting cues were right and generally working out all the technical bits so that opening night would run smoothly. In all honestly, I don’t think most singers like tech rehearsals. We’d rather be singing! However, without careful planning things can go very wrong.

Just like singers who’d rather be singing, passionate entrepreneurs would rather be jumping into their work rather than planning and practicing. However, do not underestimate the power of proper planning. With a good plan in place you know exactly what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. Having a plan keeps you on track and more importantly, keeps you accountable. Here are a few tips to creating a winning plan:

1. Put your goals in writing. There is a big difference between thinking in your head that you are going to do something and seeing your goal down on paper. When you write it, it becomes much more concrete.

2. Define your tasks. You must know what you need to DO to achieve your goal. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, your tasks might include buying new sneakers, clearing out the junk food from your pantry or picking up the class schedule from your local gym.

3. Schedule everything! I know for some people the idea of scheduling everything seems very confining, but if you do, you will find you actually have MORE time instead of less. You will procrastinate less and use your time more efficiently if you have specific, set times to do your tasks. You will also use up less psychic energy as you will not find yourself  wondering what do to at a given moment. You will know because it is on your calendar.

4. Set smaller milestones. If your home office truly is a disaster it may seem overwhelming to imagine trying to clean the whole thing. Instead, you can break your efforts into chunks. Perhaps one milestone would be cleaning out one file drawer or clearing your desk top. Once you complete these smaller milestone you will feel more motivated to continue.

As you look at the year ahead and you heart and mind are full of good intentions, give yourself a jump start with a good plan. If you do, when December rolls around again you will be enjoying the fruits of your efforts instead of regretting the time you wasted. Remember, planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.–Alan Lakein.