As you are fully aware it is the first month of the new year which means we have a new 12 months to change our lives, change our lifestyles and/or build that business. There is a saying that I love which gets shared a lot on social media at this time of the year and it goes something like this:
“Today is the first page of a new book, you have 365 pages to write the story you want… so make it a good one” … or something like that.
We have 357 days left of 2016 and that is plenty of time to make some great changes and implement new things in our lives which can have positive and lasting effects.
As it is the first month of the year it is a good idea to spend some time writing out a plan of what it is that you want to do and achieve including how and when you are going to make a start.
There is a brilliant saying which goes ‘Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail’ and it is true, if you do not have a plan then you are more likely to fail at the things you want to achieve. If you choose not to make a plan then you are literally ‘planning to fail’.
Silence Is Golden When Planning
It is often said that it is best to write these ideas down on paper using a pen as you feel it more than when you type. The finished plan can be typed up later if you want it typing up. Either sit at a table or relax in a comfy chair and turn off any TV’s and music that you might have playing and any other distractions like mobile phones.
Being alone is best unless you are making a joint plan with a partner, it is recommend that you really enjoy the silence to allow thoughts to come to the forefront of your mind.
It is nice to work with music playing but it can be distracting and it can prevent quality ideas and thoughts to be fully played out in your mind. For example, you might decide that you want to do something specific and you try and work out how and when you will fit it into your plan when a piece of music you really love comes on and before you know it you find yourself tapping your toes, humming or singing away to it and maybe reminiscing good times that the music pulls from your memory.
Music always pulls up past memories for me, I use music to associate with situations and can remember where I was and what I was doing at specific times in my life based on certain tunes. This is great but it does take your mind away from the task at hand, trust me I know, when the time comes to finish doing your plan for the day you will soon realise that you have only touched the surface and are left with a superficial plan of what you want to do but you had not given any deeper thought to the how or when.
The reason I suggest that you write up a plan for the rest of the year is that it is far easier to follow something rather than to try and think of ‘what to do next’. Many, if not all, successful people have plans and some of them are very detailed to the point that they plan on what book they will read and when.
Seriously, I kid you not, I recently read an article about past successful people like Edison and Carnegie and they would have their time planned out including their spare time so if they knew that they had an evening spare in let’s say two months time and wanted to read a specific book or draw up a plan they would schedule that into that spare time.
Yours does not have to be so specific and it should consist a fair amount of flexibility as life throws up challenges and complications or you might not yet be ready to ‘start’ a specific task at that time so you need to not fret that you don’t do everything at the right time or in the originally planned order.
What is important is the fact that you have a plan, a plan is like a map, it guides you to your chosen destination and tells you what roads you need to be on and which junctions and turnings you need to use.
A plan can be looked at regularly and it can also be modified but if you do not have a plan then you are more likely to not do the work, a plan is a blueprint and having something visual to look at and touch makes it all more real. It feels like a real plan and not just a mere ‘wish’ or ‘want’.
Working Blind Without A Plan
Occasionally I will sit down to write an article without a plan or an idea of what to write about and I will find that I may be sat for two-three hours staring at the blank screen trying to think up something to write about and I generally waste a lot of time.
Normally though I shall spend some time writing ideas for articles down into an ‘article ideas’ list that I have and I will add some points that I want to include. When I start to think up points for an article idea I also get image ideas and so I add them to the points and when the time comes for me to sit down and write I know what I am doing and I start writing as soon as the document is open.
Once you have your main monthly goals set out in your plan I recommend that you have a daily planner like this huge 2016 desk diary where you can plan and schedule those tasks to specific days and times.
Another great reason for writing up a plan now for the rest of the year is that you can allow yourself realistic chunks of time to work on projects which can be an antidote to that destructive thinking that comes when reading sales letters for the latest ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
People often start something and expect results to happen fast just as the sales copy hints at but they become disillusioned faster when they do not see any results then give up. At least with a plan if you give yourself six months to test or grow something then you are less likely to be sucked into false claims or give up when you have not experienced what are ‘unrealistic expectations’.
You can give a good amount of time to work at something and also set time targets to have specific things achieved by a date before moving onto the next part of your business building/life changing event.
In the online industry they recommend that you split test adverts, sales pages etc but unfortunately you cannot split test yourself using and not using a plan for the same year but if you have never written out and used a yearly plan before then maybe you should give it a go and compare this year to last year and see which was the most productive and most successful.
Sounds like a plan… right? 🙂