Lists are useful but unless they become a plan, not much will be achieved. Lists are a compilation of things we want to do, but plan is a structured arrangement that involves thinking, interaction with yourself, and definitely the intention to achieve. Don't just make a list, make a real plan. A plan includes mission, goals and tasks. Not just a list of resolutions. A mission defines who you are and want. A goal is a parameter defined by your mission. A task is a piece of work to accomplish a goal. People spend time making long lists that soon get forgotten. Make a plan. How do we make a plan? STEP 1: Take time to reflect As discussed in our previous post, the most important decision is to change character not just do better things. Adding character changing items to your plan may seem less tangible, but it will give you the mindset for true improvement. A person that realizes that his performance at work is not where it needs to be, needs to start with a list of what went wrong. Nobody experiences success without acknowledging defeat first. We need to know where we are now. Once we know what went wrong, we should include corrective measures in our plan. STEP 2: Define your mission
What is your motivation? What are my passions? What do you want to find yourself doing as a person, as a professional for the rest of your life? Define what you want for your life. Don't postpone this. Don't just survive, but live a life with a purpose. STEP 3: Define your goals
Goals are the tangible parameters to accomplish a mission. There are many areas we want improvement on, but we must be objective. Unattainable goals will lead you once again to frustration. Focus on what is doable.
STEP 4: Create the plan
Start with a working list. Once you have 10-15 items to, group them by category. Some categories could be: "Health", "Work Ethics", "Family & Relationships", "Church" and, last but not least, "Faith". Once you have everything within a category, you can assign priority within the group. After this, you will have items with the same number, but the number gives you a clear idea how soon you will start. Once you are able to group and prioritize. Put a bit of more thought and define specific goals. For example, in the Health category you may have to "lose weight", but you must set a number to it (5 lbs, 10 lbs, etc.). If you want to grow your finances, determine how much you will save per month. If you do this for every group and resolution, you will enter into deeper thinking and reflection that will transform ideas, desires and thoughts into life changing convictions. Just keep in mind: Do not keep God outside your plan. Make Him #1 by heart, word, thought and deed because He has the capability to prosper you in ways you never imagined. God's plan for you is more important than your own goals. He is wiser than you are. If you ever have a conflict between what He wants or what you want, choose His plan. You will never go wrong. STEP 5: Keep yourself focused, check.
True improvement starts with character improvement, not completed tasks. So, our goal is not to make long lists of resolutions that may get done or not. The main goal is to get you into a character changing mode. Character changing mode involves a lot of thought.
Remember that we only said 10-15 items? This is important because you want to keep your list doable. Long lists lead quickly to frustration. Always ask yourself: WHY? HOW? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN?. Question yourself, it motivates more thought.
STEP 6: Take action
Just do it!, and remain consistent.
STEP 7: Be accountable to someone
Close family members or friends are a great resource for your success. Give them a copy of your plan, and give them the freedom to ask you periodically.
Wrapping it up...
If you change character, you change everything. If you change who you are, you will change what you do.
It is not about a long list of tasks to get done. It is about an objective plan that involves deep thought what leads you to character improvement and the achieving of more excellent things.
It is about prioritizing. Keep God at the top of your list, and your plans will be prospered.
This New Year, take care of yourself better, take care of others better, but more than anything, GROW CLOSER TO GOD. If He is in charge, your mission in life will be eternally meaningful!
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)