the plan that never works...ever
I have something pretty straightforward for you today, straightforward but somehow often overlooked.
It’s about the plan that doesn’t work, ever.
Intrigued? Good, let’s go back a step and see why this matters before we get into the crux of the problem.
As we come to the end of the year, it is a good time to review where we’ve been and where we are going. I know we all have a lot to do in the next 3 weeks, but have you thought about what your goals are? Have you thought about where you want to be in 3 weeks, at the end of the year, and in 3 months?
What are your goals? There aren’t any right or wrong answers to this.
I mean, I have a goal of getting into a more regular exercise routine AND a goal to get the presents wrapped preferably before 12/24. Both are goals and both seem pretty important. I have different thoughts of where I would like to be in 3 months.
Have you given it any thought? No worries if you haven’t, we can do it right now.
Let’s start with this weekend. What are your goals for this weekend? What do you want to feel about how it went when Monday morning rolls around?
Now let's talk about the plan that doesn’t work.
The plan that doesn’t work is the plan you don’t have.
If you don’t have a plan, it doesn’t work.
Now this is not to say that every plan you have ends up being 100% successful but the converse IS true. Every plan that you don’t have has a 0% success rate.
Good news, we don’t have to kill ourselves fixing this. It’s pretty easy.
Step 1: Pick your goal.
Sounds fairly obvious but I want to put some parameters around this step.
Pick a goal that YOU WANT.
Yup, just because you want to. You don’t need a deeper reason.
Of course, you can back it up with a deeper reason
ie: The goal, I want to not spend the whole weekend cleaning my house can be backed up with, I want to spend time with friends this weekend to restore myself with supportive relationships.
The goal, I want to clean my whole house this weekend can be backed up with, I want to have the house in order so I can focus on wrapping presents during the week without added stress.
TIP: Do not get lost in the weeds of all the reasons it shouldn’t be your goal or can’t happen. Do not put yourself in a corner (no one puts Baby in a corner). It doesn’t matter how tired you are, how much work is draining you, how much stress you have in your life. You aren’t picking something mean, you are picking something you want. This is something you are doing to be kind to yourself. This IS self-care.
Just pick a goal. Right now, I am focusing on healthy eating because I know how much more energy I have and how much better my sleep is when I’m not eating crap.
Ok so that’s step one.
Caution: Don’t mistake the goal for the plan. The goal is the final destination, NOT THE PLAN.
This is where we fall into the crucial mistake of not making a plan for what we want. We think picking a goal is good enough. This makes sense because when we pick a goal, and spend a minute thinking of ourselves in the successful attainment of that goal, we get a lovely little dopamine hit. Our brain thinks we are already successful.
But, as we already know,
If you don’t have a plan it doesn’t work…
and then you don’t get where you’re trying to go.
Regardless of the dopamine hit. Sad, but true.
Step 2: Design the first step of the plan.
Do not get caught up in developing something elaborate. For my planners and list makers out there, this is going to be tempting but we are going to do this one step at a time and course correct as need be.
I often hear, "I don’t know HOW to get to my goal"
"I know HOW to get to my goal, I just don’t know how to get myself to actually do it."
Don’t panic, I’ve got you covered with the most magical question of all time.
If you did know, what would you say?
Ie: If you did know what the first step is, what would you say? Stop and answer that for yourself.
If you did know how to get yourself to take the first step, what would you say?
I don’t know how to __(insert goal)__. (suggestions: lose weight, schedule time for me, eat healthy, improve relationships at work.)
If I did know how to __(insert goal)__, what would I say/do?
By putting this in a question form, your brain will immediately try to solve for it. That’s what makes it magical. You will come with answers that may even surprise yourself. Those answers are the key to HOW you are going to get to the goal, they’re the path to the first step.
When you come up with the first step, make sure that it’s truly the first step. Ask yourself, is there a smaller step that even comes before that.
Ok, once you've done this, decide when you are going to take that action. Yes, pick a specific time, 8am, right after work, Saturday morning, whenever. By deciding ahead of time when it will be done, we eliminate the stress of making the decision in the moment. I guess that’s step 2A.
Step 3: Remember that you picked this goal, and you picked the first step toward getting there.
If the goal is not something you actually want, this is a good time to remind yourself that as picker-of-the-goal you hold the authority to unpick the goal.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND.
You can evaluate how you are intentionally living your life. You can choose if you like the reasons for why you are choosing other things instead of your goals. If you don’t like those reasons, change your goals to be in line with what you value.
Only you get to pick your goals.
Step 4: (ok so this is actually more of a recommendation) Pick one thing. It’s easier and more efficient to work on one thing at a time. Full disclosure, I am often working on more than one thing but I break even that into categories and then the first step for each.
I have short-term, get-it-done goals (think Christmas presents).
I have long-term, lifestyle goals (think being healthy).
I have work goals (think improving professional relationships).
I have value based goals (think nurturing relationships with family and friends).
Even within each of these categories I have broken it down into the first step, or the smallest easiest step.
Short term goals: Wrap 5 presents a day, thankfully the stuff is already out and all over the dining room.
Lifestyle goals: Do some research on macronutrients (did this last weekend). Pick one thing to try this week (I substituted my after-work snack with 1 ounce of walnuts). If this step worked, decide on the next strategy (I am doing this on Sunday morning). If it didn’t work, tweak or pick something different.
Work goals: Attend (and actually participate in) the groups I committed to this week to network/brainstorm with NPs across the country.
Value based goals: Spend time chatting with my son when he is home Sunday morning instead of getting buried in my to-do list.
Doing this, I know that come March 2023, I will not be standing where I am now. I don’t need all the steps, just the next one. And I can always come up with one thing to do, can you?
I hope this is the little boost you need today. No matter what you are going through, you are entitled to goals and plans and dreams. If you’re not feeling sure, reach out. I am here to be your champion.
Until next time,
Be Brilliant, Be Kind,