I know, a plan, how boring – but without a plan you are not going to get started. How do I know, because that is exactly how it works out for me. Without a plan I just don’t find the time in my day to get to step one or even to get started and without step one there is no step 2 or 3 or 4. Without a plan it all looks to big and full of effort, and well, I just don’t have time right now. When I get time I will get right on it. The problem is we are 5 months away from the day I chose my goals and…well, lets just say starting has been a problem (isn’t it always).

What does your plan need to look like ?

1)      A plan defines Step 1 : You need to START so you need a clear first step with a deadline by which I t must be done and then because we all have busy, busy full lives, a plan to find the time to do execute. Step 1 doesn’t have to be big, in fact, creating a series of smaller steps toward your ‘there’ often creates a more successful plan because you will find them easier to fit into your life and less intimidating.

2)      A plan has a clear Step 2 : You need to know what comes after step 1 and once again, how you are going to get the time to execute it, but if you don’t then skip straight to my step 3…..

3)     A plan defines only the steps you can see. For a world record I could only see the next step. Sometimes I had an idea what the step after would be, but never with 100% accuracy. I spent a lot of time trying to create a perfect map from ‘here’ to ‘there’, refusing to start until I knew exactly each stop on the way. Turns out I spent a lot of time planning when I should have been getting on with Step 1 and letting the next step pop out. Each step teaches you something so things will change. You may even find what you desire now isn’t really what you want at all so a total re-plan is required. Which means that a successful plan focuses on the this step and step and allows for the one after and which I just let the plan go.

In diving I focused on what I knew I could do now and allowed time and experience to give me my next step. It works, but make sure you give yourself time limits if you are in a totally new place where you can’t see far forward otherwise you may find yourself never moving because you never get started

4)      A plan is flexible – just because you have a plan doesn’t mean it will work, so expect to adapt your plan and make changes to suit where you are now and take into account what you have learnt getting to ‘here’.

5)      A plan is measurable – how will else you know if you are moving forward, falling behind or stationary ? How will you know if what you are doing is working ? I know, we hate measuring things outside of work, but it helps keep you motivated if you can see yourself progressing, so take some time to determine what your milestones will be. Some of mine are things that  hardly look like milestones – spend 20 minutes reading the blogs I subscribe to, spend ten minutes collating my thoughts from my day, starting my plan (love that one). In diving my measure wasn’t even getting deeper, it was doing what petrified me – answering the phone, sending an e-mail, asking people if they wanted to be on my team.

6)      A plan names your exit points. A good plan also includes the conditions under which you will quit (more about that in another blog). How much time will you give this dream of yours ? What scenario’s or conditions or events will exceed your pain threshold and indicate that you need to move on ? Quitting is never something we have embraced as a society, but a strategy to exit is essential if you want to keep moving forward – why do the same thing over and over if it isn’t getting results, quit already and try something new.

Quitting isn’t failing – failing is giving up when there are not other options or quitting so many times without strategy or thought that you have used up your resources  and time so there is nothing left. Quitting acknowledges you have limited time and resources and makes a commitment to ensuring you use those effectively. Quitting is always a decision that is made before you start and isn’t made in the emotion of the moment when things get tough.

What is your plan ? Have you even planned to start planning ? Without a plan you will find that your life eats into your year until, before you know it, you are in December with Christmas on the door step and you haven’t even started.

So start! Starting is always the hardest part and the one thing that differentiates those people who have just thought about it and those people who did it!

Why haven’t you started ?

Why can’t you take ten minutes and jot down ONE step you can in the next week to get you moving forward. If you really don’t have time, then use the time you spend in a queue or the time in traffic or the time making supper…..  thinking doesn’t need a special place or time, it just needs an opportunity.



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