New Year, New Plans, New Planning Methods
I look forward to new planning, both personal and business. Looking at the big picture of what I want to accomplish is inspiring! Figuring out what steps will take me there, and then laying out the activities to make those steps happen, feels empowering. Having a plan to follow keeps me focused.
My business plans seem to have more validity in my mind than my personal plans. Following the activities and steps to reach my larger business goals feels (and is!) productive. But when it comes to personal goals, it’s harder. We often see our personal goals as less important, and therefore easier to let slip by. However, over the long run, ignoring the personal side of your life will have a negative effect on your business goals. In fact, to stay at the top of your game over the long haul, it’s important to set and attend to your personal goals and give them the same importance as your business ones. Not doing so is a path to burnout.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re not feeling well or are angry or impatient, almost anything you try to do is affected—that is if you can make yourself start in the first place? Here are three ways to increase the likelihood that you will continue to diligently pursue your personal goals after the New Year impetus has worn off.
1. Before you begin new planning, it’s important to make sure you’re in a good emotional state.
There are a number of ways to do this. If you’re angry, fearful, or feeling overwhelmed, do something to release those feelings. Then calm yourself and the cause or the situation leading to those feelings. Exercise, or some form of vigorous movement, is a great way to discharge that energy. Deep, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing is only one of many relaxation techniques available. Find one that works well for you (it may be different in different situations). Once you’re calm, it’s easier to look at your situation from different perspectives and ask yourself questions about the accuracy of your assumptions. Once these emotional barriers are out of the way or at least diminished, you’re free to focus on your grander vision with a clearer mind.
2. Look at what you want to accomplish via your goals.
For example, I may exercise so that I will look and feel better, fit into my clothes, or get in shape to run that marathon. These are great reasons to exercise and they motivate me to go to the gym or get out there and run when I’d rather not. But my really long-term goal is to maintain my strength and health into old age so that I will be able to continue to live out my dreams and not be limited by a frail body and ill health. The shorter term goals give me determination, the grand ones, inspiration.
3. To be really effective in accomplishing your goals, set intentions for how you want to be as you work on them.
For example, while I’m working out, I may have an intention to be really present as I lift weights so I can experience my muscle burn and feel myself get stronger. Alternatively, I could decide to focus on learning something as I run. I may have an intention to feel joyful or excited as I exercise or organize, so I will play intense uplifting music to move me along or calming, peaceful music to give me a peaceful state of mind. As I work on my goal of eating better, I look for ways to make that interesting, convenient, and tasty. Setting an intention to make reaching for any of your goals fun will become its own additional motivation.
As you begin new planning and setting your goals for the upcoming year, make sure you’re in a conducive state of mind—and if not, change it! Look at what you want to accomplish with your goals, and determine how you want to be while reaching for them, and please share your thoughts in the comments!