"A goal without a plan is just a wish." -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
How much have you achieved in 2018 so far? How are you tracking towards your goals?
If you feel like you haven't achieved a lot - What are you going to do differently to achieve your goals in the next nine months of 2018?
Typically, we discuss our goals for the year only at the beginning of the year or at the end retrospectively. I am intentionally writing about this topic in March as a reminder that we need to constantly define and track our goals not only at the start or end of the year but throughout the year.
In this post I will be outlining the benefits of a plan, sharing some practical tips keeping your plan alive as well as achieving your goals.
Why you need a plan
We all need a plan. I talk to a lot of women who feel stuck in their lives and don’t know what they achieved in the last year. I did some soul searching to see what I do today when I feel stuck. My clear answer is that I look at my plan. I have found that when I feel stuck it is mostly because I'm not taking steps towards achieving my goals.
As a project manager I might be a little biased – I like plans and I know their benefits. In my private life I have had great success with planning and have had plans in some shape or form since I was sixteen.
I have a plan for the following reasons:
5-year, 3-year, 1-year, Quarterly plans
There are many opinions out there on the type of plan you should have. My simple advice will be to use whatever plans support you in achieving your goal. The least I will propose is an orientation plan for a year with quarterly components.
Personally, I have a multi-year plan that is high-level and serves as orientation for me. I then break down my activities towards my goals into quarters (three months) to help me focus. The benefits of this short-term view are that you get to see progress faster, you can adapt and change goals, you get into the routine of reviews and tracking your progress.
Create an orientation Plan
It is quite simple to create a plan. I follow the following four steps to create my plan:
Track your progress and achievements
It is key to track and check your progress towards your goals and achievements regularly. Getting into this practice is very important for you to be successful and stick to your plan.
Adapting and Changing your plan
One thing is certain - Your plan will have to change. It is perfectly ok. For me personally some of the reasons my plans change include - learning more about a route I wanted to take and then seeing it's not right for me, life changes like moving to a new country, my assumptions being wrong.
MC's Tip: Get comfortable with a "living" plan. Plan to make changes that need to be made to your plan.
Share your plan
I am currently learning the beauty of articulating what your plan is and sharing it with your trusted friends and family. It is easy to keep your plan and goals to yourself and kill it with self-doubt. I have experienced great support and encouragement from people around me to achieve the goals I have shared with them.
MC's Tip: Build a trusted group of people you share your plan and progress with.