It does not need to be a “New Year” in order to make changes or hit the reset button. Any time of the year is a great time for the all-important exercise of reflecting and taking inventory of where our life, health, career, and relationships are. We need time to consider what has already happened in the past, both good and bad, and what changes we would like to see in our near future. As humans, we need to dream and reflect, but please do not let your thoughts get stuck in the reflection and dreaming phase.
With my 3 secret planning tips, you can set your dreams into motion. You will be amazed at what you will accomplish!
Tip #1: Write it Girl!
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
Have you ever gone to the grocery store with a list in your mind, only to feel frustrated when you get home and realize you forgot a key item you really needed? More often then not, this happens because we were in a hurry, and ran into the store unprepared without a list. Am I right?
As busy moms, our mind is always on overdrive with taking care of many people in our life, and wearing many hats, that we forget how important it is if we neglect ourselves, and identify what is important to us. So the best way to combat this, and keep your focus on what your goals are is to write it down. Yes, this may seem obvious – but do you do it? Just like if you did not prepare with a list for the grocery store, writing down your goal or goals is important.
Take time to think about what big things you want to accomplish. These are called Outcome Goals. Maybe your outcome goal is weight-loss or a personal health type of goal. Or possibly, it is more career or business centered. Whatever your goal is, define it.
In a weight-loss example, just writing down “I want to lose weight” is too vague. You want to write out your goals in a way that you can qualify and/or quantify your success by a specific date. This way you will know that you have truly reached your goal. So you could write out as “My goal is to lose 20 lbs. by December 1st of this coming year”. The more specific you can be, the better!
Now once you have written your clearly defined outcome goal down, don’t keep it hidden. This needs to be something you see every single day. You can set a reminder in your phone so that the goal in words alerts you each day at a specific time. Or write it on a notecard and keep next to your bedside to reflect on every morning and evening. Come up with a way that you will incorporate seeing your goal each day, and you are well on your way to achieving it.
Tip #2: Adopt “Chunking”
“Learn from the past, set vivid detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” – Denis Waitely
Now that you have your goal clearly defined, you need to set smaller goals to help you along your road to success. No matter what your outcome goal is, it may feel distant and unattainable. You may have ideas of how to get there in your head, but the key difference in people who successfully reach their goals time and time again is that they set smaller goals – what I call “chunking”. These can be performance indicators, mini goals, or something that is measurable in terms of results. Chunking smaller goals makes it easier to build momentum because you are able to reach these smaller goals more quickly and keep focused on obtaining your outcome goal. You will be fueled by your mini successes.
These smaller goals will most likely adapt and change over time while you are working toward your outcome goal. This is okay, and do not perceive it as a failure if something does not work out, just learn, readjust, and keep moving forward.
I recommend chunking your smaller goals into two-week intervals. The beauty in this is that you do not have to have everything mapped out for the entire year to show you how you will reach your goal. You may not even know how you will get there, and this is okay. You just have to think of activities you need to do over the next 2 weeks that will help you get closer to your outcome goal.
Each outcome goal should have at least 3 smaller chunked goals, and these can change and evolve every two weeks. Your performance indicators must also be measurable, but you are not outlining the how-to specifics yet.
With a weight-loss example, these could be:
1.Lose 2 lbs.
2. Get a gym membership
3. Select and join an online health and fitness support group to gain access to healthy recipes, workout tips, and support.
Are these 3 “chunked” goals measurable? – Absolutely! At the end of your first 2 weeks, you will be able to see if you achieved these. At the end of 2 weeks if you did not achieve one of your smaller goals, then you can evaluate what did not work, and adjust the process (discussed in the following tip) of how to achieve it. Every 2 weeks you will evaluate how you did. Once you have achieved it, come up with another one to replace it. And don’t stop with this process until you have reached your outcome goal.
Tip #3: Success is Planned in the Details
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
Now is the time to figure out the specific details that will help you meet your “chunked” mini goals. You are working in two-week time frames. So think to yourself, What is it that I need to do in the next two weeks to reach my first small goal?
In this step, you need to be as specific as possible. This involves deciding who will be doing what (because depending on your mini goal you may need to rely on other people), what steps need to be done and then get specific about where and even what time and day it will be done or worked on.
From the example above, if your goal is in two weeks to lose 2 pounds, this may involve the following action steps:
– Create my weekly shopping list on Sunday evening by 4pm.
– Go to the grocery store and purchase food from my grocery list for the week, Sunday at 5pm.
– I will follow my two-week workout circuit on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10am to 11am.
Write out as many steps in the process as possible, and then add to your calendar what you can schedule so that you remind yourself of what you need to be doing and when.
At the end of two weeks, did you meet your mini goal? If yes, create another one, or possibly you want to keep the same one, but need to adjust or add more action steps. If you did not meet your goal, look over if you stuck with the plan you set for yourself and make adjustments. You may need to look for help from someone else with your accountability.
Continue with this exercise, and you will amaze yourself when you reach your outcome goals for the year!