In the life management process, the element that comes after setting goals is making plans. Plans are easy to explain and understand. They’re as simple as this: dates on a calendar.
Well-defined goals break down into a series of next steps that must be taken for the goals to be accomplished. Plans, then, move those next steps to a calendar. The result is a vivid, detailed picture of when each part must be completed in order to fulfill the goal.
Using this method, virtually any goal, no matter how large, can be accomplished.
Let’s suppose, for example, that someone wants to run a marathon. Next steps (which can be thought of as sub goals) might include looking up the telephone number of the running store, calling the store to find out its hours, going there and buying a pair of running shoes, reading a book on proper running form and nutrition, setting out on a few half-mile runs, then some one-mile runs, etc. until the desired 26.2 miles can be achieved. Along the way, the person might want to join a running club, buy additional gear, enter a few shorter distance events, and so forth.
Once these steps are identified, it’s time to begin scheduling. The big goal is completing the marathon, so that’s written on the calendar first. Then each sub goal is plotted, from the current date on. When that’s done, voila! … a plan has been created.
Planning is vital for successful life management. And though it’s not always easy, it’s certainly not complex. It requires nothing more than some deep thought and a calendar.
The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.