The importance of planning (so you can fulfil your New Year's Resolutions and goals for 2019!)
JANUARY 2018: This is going to be my year! This is the year I’m going to get fit / write my book / get a new job / redecorate the bedrooms / go to Italy / enrol on that course / eat healthy … DECEMBER 2018: Oh fuck…
With the end of another year looming, it’s standard behaviour for most of us to take stock of what we’ve achieved during the course of the year (or perhaps what we’ve not achieved). Another year gone, and what have we done? What about all of those things on our bucket lists? Are we close to achieving them, or have we just let another year slip by?
The looming New Year brings promise of a fresh start where anything is possible, and with it comes a surge of ambition, motivation and determination and a promise that “this year is going to be the best yet!”
Except January soon turns to February which quickly turns to March and before you know it Summer’s been and gone (where did it even go?) Oh hello Autumn, and now Winter’s here and BOOM it’s the end of another year. And we didn’t do any of the things we said we’d do at the end of last year.
We’ve all got goals and we all want to accomplish things in life. Such goals and aspirations vary from person to person, and can apply to big or small aspects of our lives - whether it’s to be happy and healthy, get fit or lose weight, set up a business, travel the world, write a book, redecorate the entire house, increase earnings by 50% or retire in 10 years.
SO WHY PLAN?
Whatever the goal, and whatever area of our life it’s a part of, planning helps us to make our dreams more attainable. New Year’s Resolutions often fall by the wayside and our dreams often remain as just that - dreams. They stay pinned to the vision board or remain written down on the bucket list, never to be materialised - often because they seem too big, too unrealistic, too unattainable. The thought of how we’d even begin to achieve some things can be totally overwhelming, so we don’t even start. Quite often, we view things as 'way off' (I’ll write my book one day) - so we don't need to think about them now, right? Wrong. We get to 'the future’ and guess what, we’re not living in the 6 bed Victorian House by the river and we’ve not travelled the world. And then it’s too late. The time to start planning (to ensure you one day realise these dreams) is now!
There’s good news however! Once a realistic plan is created, it’s amazing how achievable dreams really can be! Is it your dream to holiday in the Caribbean or relocate to the seaside? Build a property portfolio or learn to play piano? These things don’t happen by chance. If you’re getting married, you plan your wedding. If you’re moving house or going on holiday, you plan every detail. The same rules need to apply to all aspects of your life, and all of the things you want. Planning your life is truly one of the most powerful and effective ways to take control and get what you want.
THE ADVANTAGES OF PLANNING
Planning helps you to firstly identify your goals (determining what’s important, and whatever it is you want to do / be / achieve). A clear plan will determine your precise destination and equip you with a reliable roadmap to get you there. Planning also allows you to view how far you’ve come (which can be a great motivator and confidence booster), enables you to check you’re still on track, and prevents you from deviating off course. Effective planning allows you to stay focused, identify (sometimes changing) priorities, avoid (or deal with) unexpected pitfalls or bumps in the road, and adapt if necessary.
It allows you to stay balanced (we’re all juggling, right?) and avoid overwhelm. Essentially it gives you complete control, rather than leaving things to chance. It allows you to make the right choices and decisions, and prevents you from wasting time on other tasks that won't get you closer to your goal. Seeing a plan come to life can instil a huge sense of excitement, pride and achievement, infusing you with energy and motivation and spurring you on to achieve even greater things!
SO HOW DO I MAKE A PLAN?
Whether it’s getting fit and/or losing weight, setting up a business or starting a side hustle, saving up for your dream house or dream holiday, or whether it’s planning your retirement - here are some useful tips to help you plan!
1 Get crystal clear on your goals (be specific but also realistic).
2 Where are you now and where do you want to be (or what do you want to achieve)?
3 How will you get there? Determine what needs to happen to achieve your goals. What actions are required? Again be specific.
4 Put these actions into a schedule. Set deadlines and measurable milestones for each day / week / month / year and ENSURE YOU ACTION THEM! You can have the best plan in the world but it’s worthless without action.
5 Break large tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
6 Write a list of things to complete in the am / pm (time block) or for each day of the week, and tick things off as you go (this is more relevant for smaller or daily/weekly tasks).
7 Allow some contingency time (unexpected things will happen!) and plan / budget / save for any financial aspects related to your goal.
8 Be prepared to adapt accordingly and re-prioritise along the way. It’s imperative to remain adaptable and open to change as things evolve and circumstances change.
9 Stay focused and remain positive. Remind yourself of the end goal! There’s nothing you cannot achieve in this world with a realistic plan, the right attitude and a steely determination to succeed.
10 Remember Vision + Action = Mission Accomplished!
To conclude, having a plan empowers you to actively pursue the goals and dreams you perhaps otherwise wouldn’t begin to pursue. It enables you to precisely pinpoint where you are now, where you want to go (or what you want to achieve), and how you will get there (get it). It allows you to break down huge and normally overwhelming tasks or projects into bite-sized, more realistic and manageable chunks, so you can chip away until finally you reach your destination. It encourages you to BEGIN - rather than leaving things untouched and unrealised (whether they’re smaller, every day tasks or huge life ambitions).
Life is for living. One day we’ll reach the end of our time here on earth, and we’ll look back at the things we did and the things we didn’t do. You won’t achieve any of your life’s goals without planning, so if you put the effort in now and PLAN the things you REALLY want to do, be, achieve in your life, you won’t look back and feel the sting of regret in having not attained the things you truly wanted.
Your future relies on your actions today - the things you are doing (or not doing) right now! So what are you waiting for?
Much love, Fran xxx
I'd love to hear what your plans are for 2019?
ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x