Tag Archives: simple plans

Turning Your Goals Into Plans The Quick Method

Did you know that December is National Write a Business Plan Month? Now, I’m not a big fan of business plans (actually I find most of them useless documents that sit on the shelf and never get looked at). And many of you have no need for a business plan as your Somedays are not business related. However, I’m a big fan of small plans, of deciding on actions and then following through on implementation and in the end getting something done. To kick off this month-long look at planning, Jonathan Beebe of Develop Minds takes a look at the quick way to come up with a plan.

juhansonin on flickr.comWhen you set a “goal”, your subconscious mind tends to place it into the “someday” category, even if it’s a short-term goal you have every intention of completing. And while you may complete it as a short-term goal, the chances of failure actually go up when you label it as a “goal”… despite the fact that it’s good to have goals.

Stop for a moment and think back to the last time you went on vacation and enjoyed yourself. Beforehand, what did you do? First, you thought of what to do, and then you planned the big day. When it came up, you went out, had fun, and it felt good right?

You had an idea based on your desire, and you successfully executed it at some point in the future. Same as a goal right? The difference is, your mind is used to following through with plans, but may need much more training to follow through with “goals”, despite the fact that they are basically the same thing.

Don’t Plans Often Change?

Plans may change, but so do goals. In fact, I’d say goals change quite a bit more than plans because of the fact that they are more long-term in nature. Change isn’t always a bad thing, however. If you’re continuously growing, many things are bound to change about yourself, such as your interests, and maybe even your passions. Likewise, your goals and plans need to change in order to accommodate your changes, and that of course isn’t a bad thing.

It’s all about getting what you honestly want out of life, and as humans, what we want can change from time to time.

How to Create Your “Plan”

Let’s do a quick exercise. All you’ll need is a pen, a piece of paper, and your mind.

Take one of your big long-term goals that you hope to accomplish “someday” and that’ll be the only thing we label a “goal” for this exercise, and write it down on the top of your paper. Now, the sub-goals, or what would be called the short-term goals leading up to your big goal are going to be labeled “plans”.

Write down your new short term “plans” and decide when they should be executed, and give an estimated time-frame. Put tentative dates, and make sure to plan on executing some of them very soon, in fact, as soon as you can. If it’s honestly a goal you really want, you won’t want to wait anyway.

Below is a simplistic example plan to illustrate the exercise I just described. It’s for someone who’s always wanted to start their own online business but has previously put it into the “someday” category in their mind.

Goal: Start an Online Business

Action Plans:

  • Find a good resource and gather up the necessary knowledge.
    Date: 11/30/2009 (Today) – Complete by: 12/7/2009
  • Topic/Market Research
    Date: 12/7/2009 – Complete by: 12/14/2009
  • Create the website
    Date: 12/15/2009 – Complete by: 12/21/2009
  • Create the initial content
    Date: 12/22/2009 – Complete by: 2/22/2010
  • Create a marketing plan
    Date: 2/23/2009 – Complete by: 3/1/2010
  • And so on…
  • If you take the above example literally it will obviously have some flaws, but it wasn’t meant to help you start an online business, it’s purpose is to show you how to simply change the “goals” you need to accomplish as soon as possible into plans, so your mind actually queues the actions you need to take, rather than just letting them remain stagnant in the “someday” bin.

    Do What Works For You

    You can always modify the template to be more effective, especially if you already have a working system set up for getting things done. And if you currently had some pending goals, the “goals to plans” method I described should give you enough of a push to get started on them right away.

    Once you start accomplishing the little things that work towards your big goals, you’ll be taking steps toward the life you honestly want to be living, and remember, you can be given all the right information you need to accomplish anything you want to, and be taught everything you’ll ever need to know, but it’s all useless if you don’t put it into practice.

    Make it your plan to get started immediately.

    About Jonathan Beebe

    Jonathan Beebe is the author of Develop Minds, a personal development blog focused on providing information on how to increase your consciousness, your intelligence, and how to significantly improve your life by making the most out of it.

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Turning Dreams Into Reality: The Lab Rats Create a Plan

  • Someday Lesson: Knowing your dream isn’t enough – you need to plan and act if you want to bust your Somedays.

IcE MaN Photography on Flickr.comOnce you know what you want you can’t stop there – you have to start working towards it. Talking and planning isn’t enough. You have to act. (If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you know that’s pretty much my mantra: only action produces results.)

Before acting, however, it’s important to know where you’re going without overwhelming yourself with details and too much work.

The last time I ran a bunch of Lab Rats through a maze, I had them come up with a one page plan of things they would do to achieve their goals. It was a highly specific set of actions and included due dates, fears, strengths, supports, measurement and acceptable minimum levels of completion. By keeping their plan to a single page they had to carefully choose their actions for maximum results.

This time through the new set of Lab Rats ran a slightly different maze with less specific directions. It didn’t matter how they got through the maze. They only had to reach the end which was: deciding the big steps to achieving their goals.

As expected, each Lab Rat took a different path to find their way out of the maze, however, they all started with their dream and chose what they would do based on that. Some plans, like that of Horatio, can be quite specific because he’s already taken the big step (quitting his job) and is now into the nitty gritty. Other plans, like Alessio’s, come out looking like a story describing the process between now and reaching the goal.

Really, I don’t care what the plan looks like. I don’t even really care about the plan at all because as the Lab Rats move forward, the consequences of their actions will change the plan. A plan to me is only a guideline, like the outline an author uses when writing the first draft of a novel. The final product often looks nothing like the outline, but the outline was necessary to keep the author from heading off in twenty directions at once.

So, let’s take a look at the Lab Rats’ plans and next week we’ll get to the crux of getting rid of Somedays – taking action.

Wendee

  • Know for sure that I need a Master’s degree to teach wherever I want to go
  • Put together my application portfolio, create a proposal for a thesis
  • Apply to grad school
  • Do research, write a great Master’s thesis having something to do with creativity and how people learn to be creative.
  • Present thesis work publicly, somewhere.
  • Shows with local artist guilds.
  • Teach creativity workshops.
  • Get an MFA!
  • Paint and draw, a lot
  • My partner and I travel different areas to test them out: how well can we adjust to living there? What are my prospects for work? Artist-in-residence for State or U.S. National parks? Maybe we just keep moving?

Horatio

To get “the next job”, it might be necessary to pump up my resume and profile – this most recent position has been a bit toxic in terms of career path and recognition! I can do this by making my name more visible in professional circles, publicizing some of the work that I have done (ditto) and finishing off a few odds and ends and getting them out there in the public eye.

Sort out another passport and dual nationality. I’m eligible and it would expand my job options considerably. I’ve just never got around to it before.

I may not be able to step straight into the “dream job” but the next step is to get a job that is actually going somewhere. This doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does have to be leading towards the dream job. It will need to be a position where I am treated as a professional, I manage people and projects and I am the person that is calling the shots rather than just a just a warm body hired to fill a slot. I have to be the guy that knows why and not just how.

Then I work at that job and be seen working at that job. Arguably one of my big problems has been a lack of self-publicity. So next time, everyone is going to see what I do and that I’m good at it.

Dream job!

Alessio

The big steps to my dream are saving enough money for web design books and study material and use the relevant resources on the internet to improve my current web design skills and add much more to them. During this time I have my blog set up and am slowly but surely increasing the number of my subscribers. I make some free or well-priced websites to get some practical experience and build my portfolio, which is displayed on my blog, and gives me international exposure. My work gets noticed and I start getting some freelance web design jobs, and my blog is generating some money. Eventually, I make enough money to quit my regular job, and get to focus my time and creativity on blogging and freelance web design. After some years of web design and blogging experience, I start a web design course which turns out to be a great success.

Lizzie

Let the world know what I want. At a party recently I congratulated a friend on the new house they are buying and told her that I would have looked at it, too, if it had been on the market. (They bought it before it was listed.) She said “you mean you guys would sell your house?” and I filled her in on my openness to moving. So now it’s out there…if she hears of something I might like…if she gets the word out that we might sell.

Help other people hold me accountable. I have some local friends who speak better Italian than I do–I need to make use of them. Struggle through fifteen minutes of conversation. Do my work–the fun Rosetta Stone things and such–every day. But create a sink or swim situation. Set a date (maybe January 1) and pretend that I’m going to Italy to work and I need to be in pretty damn good shape by then. Put in a couple of hours a day…I can do it at the gym. While I do housework. In the Nike spirit–just do it!

One of my dream elements is looking fabulous. Big Step #1 is get over feeling like I need to wait (until I lose weight–big yawn!) for this to happen. I need to hit the local makeup shop for a makeover. Kick my daily wardrobe up a notch or two. After all…there are fabulous looking women in all sizes. I think I need to commit to eating well and hide the scales. And I need a punishment and reward system for going to the gym.

Figure out which of the small things (horses, garden and all of the rest) are important and which are just static. Then–here’s my hard part–without letting them take over, start incorporating them into my life.

Open myself without fear to friendship. The biggest thing I’ve learned as a Lab Rat is that I don’t regret time spent cultivating friends. So staying open to it sometimes consumes too much of my free time. This weekend turned into a day at the county fair and three parties, which is why I’m finishing this at 1 am…but it was an intellectually satisfying, soul satisfying weekend. I love my partner, love my daughter. But I’m a deeply social creature, and having a community of friends is the glue which holds my dream together.

Now that you’ve seen what each of the Lab Rats has planned, I’m going to leave you to guess what you think their first step will be. Next week we’ll see whether the Lab Rats chose the same action.

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