The aspirations leading up to a new year, a new beginning, thoughts about how we would like to change our life for the better give us great insight into what our ideal self would look like. This is both exciting and daunting at the same time…there is so much to be gained by making statements about how we want to improve our lives. The problem is the gap in the middle; the space between where we are now and where we want to be… it’s like looking over a pond to the other side and all that is in between is water. What happens if we put stepping-stones in the water? The first stepping-stone is in a place that we can easily and comfortably jump to on our way across the pond? How does that change our perception of what is possible?
So I am suggesting that we can break our year-page into a book with each page dealing with a smaller amount of time… how would that feel?
Overall goals for the year are great (getting to the other side of the pond), but the planning, the breaking it down into strategies and actions needs to be done over a shorter timeframe, for each stepping-stone.
There is a new trend in business planning called the 90-day year (initiated by Todd Herman), which advocates not annual planning, but 3 monthly planning. I think there is something here to be learnt for our own personal planning. One year is a long time, a lot happens, things change. It feels much more flexible and free to look at a smaller timeframe. We can assess what is working and what is not and change things around. For those of us with school aged children the gaps between school holidays can be a useful segmentation. If you are anything like me you struggle to get things done for yourself (or your business/work/study) when you have the children at home for the holidays, so why not plan for the gaps and allow yourself the reward of letting go of some expectations while they are at home?
So what is on the first page of your 2017 book? What do you what to achieve by the time you have the kids home for school holidays at Easter?
There is no right way to plan, no ultimate way to get our heads around how to move forward. Something what works for others may not work for us. Give yourself permission to do it your way. If you work better by not writing things down and just doing what comes to you in any given day, week, month – then go with that. Experimentation is the key – if it isn’t working try something new, but if it is working, don’t compare yourself to the people around you who have a different way of doing things. You may not have a page, a book or spreadsheet. Do what works for you, and if you are struggling – be open to explore what others find useful.
I am off to work on my planning, good luck with yours!