Setting Goals and Sticking to Them: Are Bucket Lists For You?

Daily life can get monotonous and hectic due to things like work, family or personal issues. For some, daily life can become a routine as we tend to work around a schedule. Because of this, there is a huge chance to miss out on experiences, and later on, one may realize that he or she no longer has the time to make the most out of life.

To avoid missing out on what life has to offer, one of the best things you can do for yourself to make life more meaningful is to start setting goals and starting a bucket list. This way, you can have a goal and work hard towards achieving it.

Why do people make bucket lists?

Bucket lists can be defined as a number of things that you want to do before you die. It is also an attempt to make life more meaningful and memorable. According to an article on Psychology Today, bucket lists are consistent with Daniel Kahneman’s peak-end theory, or in other words, people have the tendency to remember from hedonic events or peaks.

Bucket lists are an attempt to make life more meaningful. While some lists can get narcissistic, some are not. It connects people to something larger or one thing that would benefit not only them but to those around them. Compared to narcissistic wants, a bucket list that benefits others is more important for a more fulfilled life.

Moreover, bucket lists help in goal-setting. Goals are a great motivator to accomplish things, but the most motivating goals are hard and specific. These goals should come with a plan that can help you to achieve them but the critical first step would be choosing the first step to that would allow you to get started on achieving your goals.

Are bucket lists a good idea?

Since bucket lists can help you to have defined goals, it also promotes you to be the best version of yourself. Psychologist Linda Blair said that chasing big experiences is worthwhile if you enjoy the whole process. She added, “If you are constantly living in the future, ignoring what’s going on right now because you’re shooting for goals, which happen so quickly that they’re over, and then you have to chase another one, you’re not really living.”

Meanwhile, psychotherapist Philippa Perry advised that when making bucket lists, you have to learn how to be open with your vulnerabilities so that you can form connections with others. She adds, “I think, for me, what’s wrong with the bucket list is that it’s individualistic.”

At work, employees can make their own bucket lists to inspire and give direction in their own lives.

3 ways that bucket lists can provide you with greater satisfaction in life

If you do have plans on starting your own bucket list, it’s best to start small before moving on to bigger and grander goals. Focus on experiencing something every day, each week, every month and then every year. Make family or close friends a priority as your goals are best shared with them.

Here are three ways that a bucket list can give you greater satisfaction in life:

Direction

This gives you the direction you need to stay on course. Having a clear set of goals, desired accomplishments and experiences will give you a clearer path to follow. In case that you come into distractions, it will be easier to filter them out and keep trudging forward.

Focus

Having specific goals can help you to stay focused. See to it that you accomplish these goals every day. Late on, you’ll see how much you have accomplished just by doing small goals. One strategy to use is called “monthly focus.” Pick two or three goals or experiences from your list and work throughout the month to make it happen.

Purpose

Ask yourself what you want out of life and why. Once you have the answer, you have found your purpose. Ask yourself this with each set of goals that you have. As you refine your list, encourage your family or close friends to create their own list. This can be a way to support and encourage each other.

It’s a fact that bucket lists can vary from desiring material things or gaining better life experiences. What’s important about starting and having a bucket list is that you are working towards a bigger, grander goal that just doesn’t make you a better individual but allows you to enjoy the best of what life can offer.

 

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This article was written by , who is passionate about helping people and making the world a better place, especially in areas of education, women and children’s rights, and environment protection.

5 Healthy Habits to Adopt in the New Year

You can probably think of a daily habit you perform—perhaps it’s checking Twitter first thing every morning or taking a shower before bed. Whatever the habit may be, it is typically automatic, meaning you don’t give it much thought, if any at all.

Luckily, as a human, you have the ability to choose which habits you’d like to adopt and which ones no longer serve you.

You are also capable of committing to healthier habits, even though it may require a great deal of patience. According to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it can take, on average, 66 days for a habit to become automatic. In the study, it took participants between 18 and 254 days, depending on a variety of factors such as personality and the behavior itself, to create a new habit.

According to a 2014 article published in Society for Personality and Social Psychology, studies show that 40 percent of people’s daily activities are carried out in almost the same situations every day. In other words, almost half of your day is spent performing the same actions as the day before.

Since these habitual responses make up a large portion of your day, why not develop habits that are healthy and beneficial? And no better time to do this than the beginning of a brand new calendar year.

Below are five healthy habits to adopt in the New Year:

1. Set a Fitness Goal

A popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or get fit, which explains why gyms become overly crowded in January. But when you aren’t specific enough in your goal setting, you’re less likely to stick with it.

The solution? Set a specific fitness goal, including the steps necessary to achieve it. Whether it is to lose 10 pounds in six months or run a marathon by June, write down your specific goal along with a detailed plan that will help you meet it. Be as specific as possible.

Once you meet your first goal, set a second one, and so on. Meeting fitness goals can be immensely satisfying—use this as motivation to stay committed to them.

2. Add Some Color to Your Plate

Another popular New Year’s resolution is to eat healthy, which again, sounds pretty general and doesn’t provide specific direction. Having unrealistic expectations and setting rigid goals, such as replacing all junk food with vegetables for a year, can backfire as well.

Rather than adopting a restricted diet that can be difficult to maintain or depriving yourself entirely, begin by incorporating more of the good stuff into your diet. Often when you make healthier food choices (e.g., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and organic meats) and note how much better you feel, you are usually less inclined to indulge in processed food, alcohol, and other food that can be damaging to your body.

A great way to stick to a healthier food plan is to add color variety to each meal. Add brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your plate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also add them to your list of midday snacks. Eventually, you can add in healthier proteins and whole grains, too.

3. Make Time for Peace and Quiet

Daily life can be busy and chaotic. It can feel as though there just aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything. With this mindset, downtime is viewed more as a luxury than a necessity.

But the truth is, when you give yourself permission to decompress and rejuvenate, you reenergize your body and mind, allowing both to work more efficiently. So, while relaxing activities may feel unproductive at the time, by performing them, you are actually enhancing productivity in the long-run.

Morning is a great time to relax as it can set the tone for the rest of the day. However, some people may prefer evenings. Choose a time that works best with your schedule when you can be alone and free of any distractions. Start small, perhaps 10 minutes a day of quiet time, and gradually work your way up to at least 20 minutes. Preferred amount of downtime will vary from person to person.

Here are some ideas of relaxing activities:

  • Read
  • Journal
  • Meditate
  • Take a warm bath
  • Listen to calming music
  • Cook
  • Color
  • Take a nature walk
  • Practice yoga
  • Focus on breath

4. Breathe Mindfully

Breathing is perhaps your most automatic habit. But rarely do you actually pay attention to the air entering and exiting your lungs. As research shows, being mindful of your breathing process has numerous health benefits, such as:

  • Reduced stress
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Stabilized (or lowered) blood pressure

Mindful breathing can be practiced while performing a variety of relaxation exercises, including:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Guided meditation
  • Focused breathing with a mantra

Try out a variety of exercises to find out which one works best for you. To get into a steady routine, practice once or twice a day, preferably around the same time every day, for at least 10 to 20 minutes.

If you are just starting out or looking for a simple way to practice mindful breathing, follow these steps:

  • Sit comfortably or lie down.
  • Close your eyes (if preferred) and place one hand on your belly.
  • Take a long deep breath through your nose, feeling your belly rise.
  • Then, breathe out slowly through the mouth, all while focusing your attention on the breath.

Tip: You may want to incorporate this practice into your daily downtime routine.

5. Practice Gratitude

According to research, a strong correlation exists between gratitude and happiness. Studies show people who practice gratitude report feeling more optimistic and generally better about their lives. Being grateful can also lead to better sleep, healthier relationships, and stronger immune systems.

Gratitude can be practiced in a number of ways:

  • Start a gratitude journal: Write down three things you are grateful for before you go to sleep or first thing after you wake up.
  • Keep a gratitude jar: Use small pieces of paper to record what you’re grateful for and place them in a jar. Empty the jar once it’s full and review everything in full. This is an especially great exercise for parents to do with children.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to someone: Express your gratitude to a loved one. Even if you don’t send it, you’ll benefit from reflecting on all you have to be thankful for.
  • Give back: In addition to being grateful for what you have, you can also be grateful for what you have to give. Use your talents and skills to help someone out, whether it’s a family member, friend, or complete stranger.
  • Watch your language: People who are grateful don’t try to hide it; they talk about their blessings and good fortune. Instead of dwelling on what they lack, they speak in terms of abundance.

Remember to be patient and gentle with yourself as you incorporate these healthy habits into your daily routine. Forgetting to perform a habit every now and then will not undo the habit formation process. Don’t beat yourself up for “failing” once or twice; instead, have a strategy in place for when a mess up occurs and move forward. You deserve a year filled with happy, healthy experiences.

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This article was written by Emily Holland, a certified Health Coach and freelance writer passionate about sharing what she has learned about lifestyle changes with others.

How To Create Your Own Self-Directed Learning Plan

The persistent problem of the human condition is that very few of us actually follow through on our goals and live our dreams, particularly when faced with constant obstacles and difficulties. Studies show that 95% of people never set clear goals for achieving their dreams by committing to them and writing them down.

A big reason that so many people fail in online learning is because they don’t set clear goals for learning and they don’t have a self-directed learning plan. Fortunately, you don’t have to be one of those who in the words of legendary self-directed learner Benjamin Franklin “fail to plan and plan to fail”.

The reality is that learning a new skill is difficult and it requires a lot of focus and determination to succeed, particularly when you’re doing it on your own. Without defining exactly what you want to accomplish, the process or plan you will follow to achieve it and the deeper purpose for why you want it, your changes of failure will be very high.

In this instructional guide, I’m going to take you through the process of creating your own self-directed learning plan:

1. Start with why you really want to learn a new skill.

This is a really important first step that is overlooked by most people. When you’re a self-directed learner, you don’t have an authority figure that has created a system of rewards and punishments to motivate and grade you.

This means you have to be intrinsically motivated, which means you are self-motivated by your own internal sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose.  When you define your purpose for learning and how achieving your goal matters will make you feel emotionally, it becomes much easier to stay motivated for a long period of time.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to uncover your why:

Do you want to do more meaningful work? To feel more fulfilled and happy.
Do you want to get a higher paying job? To feel more respected and influential.
Do you want to build a change you want to see in the world? To feel you’re making a difference.

To stay on course when I’m feeling tired and distraction, I practice visualizing the outcome I want to achieve with an extra focus on how it makes me feel knowing I will inevitably achieve it.

2. Set clear goals about what you’re planning to learn.

I like to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting framework to set really clear, actionable goals. Here’s how it works:

Specific: The first step is to get really specific about what you want to achieve. Write down a single sentence that identifies exactly what you are committing yourself to learn.

Measurable: You need to make sure you can easily measure your goal. A good place to start is committing some time each week to pursue your goal without interruption or distraction.

Achievable: You need to be realistic. If you’ve struggled in the past with online learning, you need to set the bar low to build the initial habit and then work your way up to more time and effort as your confidence improves.

Relevant: You need to make it relevant to your life, this is where “your why” comes in. You want to commit to this goal because you have thought deeply how it will impact and improve your life and well-being.

Timely: You need to set a time window so you have a milestone to celebrate when you’ve achieved your goal. I recommend initially setting short-term goals for learning that can achieve in less than 30 days.

3. Structure your time and schedule your learning sessions.

This is crucial step is you want to be a successful self-directed learner. Going to school forces you to structure your time because you have to show up for class. When you’re learning online, you need to create a similar structure by committing yourself to a weekly schedule.

I recommend using a tool like Google Calendar, MyStudyLife, or even a more advanced project management tool like Asana or Trello. You should set aside blocks of time where you can spend time learning without any interruptions. Ideally, set aside 2-3 hours at a time and take short breaks every half hour or hour. You should also set reminders to review your notes and memorize key information you will need later.

To stay focused when you’re learning, I recommend using a Pomodoro Timer like Be Focused Pro for iPhone and Mac OS X, or Productivity Challenge Timer for Android.

It also helps to set up a time at the end of each week so you can review your progress and make sure you’re on track to achieving your goal. If you’re not on track then you may have to adjust your self-directed learning plan to be more realistic.

4. Find a learning accountability partner or start an online study group.

The key to building a self-directed learning habit is to make yourself accountable. For most of us, being accountable to ourselves simply isn’t enough to be successful. So that’s why I recommend committing to learning a new skill with a close friend, colleague or family member.

If you don’t have someone to learn with, join a popular online course or membership-based learning community with other students who are committed to learning. You can also start your own Facebook Group or weekly Zoom Hangout so you can talk about what you’re learning, ask questions and help each other succeed together.

5. Apply what you learn by building your own digital portfolio.

If you want to learn a new skill, you need to apply what you learn by building something with it. We live in an age where a resume or degree doesn’t matter nearly as much as a digital portfolio that shows exactly what you have done. Ideally, your digital portfolio should have detailed case studies to show off the value you offer and the business results you have achieved for others.

This means you need to build a personal brand to differentiate yourself and your own professional-looking website with a digital portfolio section that shows off what you can do.

A good place to start is with your own self-hosted WordPress website that allows you to customize the look and feel with a professional-looking WordPress theme from a marketplace like Themeforest. If you’re not technical, you can have your own WordPress website up and running in 20 minutes using a plug-and-play service like Bluehost.

Now take action and start learning!

The future belongs to the brave and curious so if you’re serious about learning something new, follow these steps and you’ll be on the path to achieving your dreams by making your goals a top priority in your life.

The path to doing what you love and mastering valuable digital skills starts with spending more time learning, creating your own online projects and sharing them with your social networks.

If you follow these steps to create your own self-directed learning plan, you’ll have a strong foundation to learn and master new skills throughout your life.

Good luck!

 

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This article was written by Kyle Pearce, who teaches people how to build location independent careers and use flow psychology to make a living doing work they enjoy. 

How to Use Meditation to Visualize Your Goals

One of the most inspiring and powerful things you can do as a human being is to visualize what it is that you want to manifest, and then make it happen. The power of the mind is astonishing and, when coupled with mindfulness-based practices like meditation, you can increase your ability to make leaps and bounds toward creating the life you truly desire.

Goal setting is the catalyst for making this happen. The purpose of setting a goal is to achieve a desired result. When applied carefully with intention, action, momentum, and focus, setting and achieving goals gets you from where you are now to where it is you want to be. But first you have to know where that is. The “where” begins with your vision.

The first step is to start with the end in mind and work backward. The end result is your highest vision for a given area of life—be it health and fitness, relationship, family, career, or finance. Once connected with your vision, you then need to set specific goals that will aid you in actualizing the vision.

Many people mistake the goal for the vision thinking the goal is the end result. They set a goal without thinking ahead to what that goal will allow them to be, to do, or to have in the long run. To make the most out of your goal-setting process, it’s important to link it up to the quality of lifestyle you ultimately want to be living. For the purpose of creating some clarity, let’s outline the key differences between a vision and a goal.

Your Vision vs. Your Goal

Your vision isn’t something that needs to be created—it already exists within you. You just need to get in touch with it. Your vision is the big picture of your desired outcomes. It’s an internal representation of what is most important to you; it’s exciting, inspiring, compelling, and filled with positive emotions.

A goal, on the other hand, is a specifically designed milestone that requires completion if you are to get to the end of your yellow brick road. The downside is that a goal may not necessarily provoke positive emotions. Goals are simply stepping stones on the path that lead you to your ultimate destination.

A popular and effective way to set goals is to use the acronym SMART, which stands for specific (clear and precise), measurable (you can quantify or measure progress), achievable (meaning, it’s realistic), resources (you have the resources needed and you aren’t relying on divine intervention or other people), and time (there is a start and end date).

Using highly detailed, vivid imagery is an extremely powerful way to train the mind to go after—and get—what you want. Professional athletes use mental visualization to help them become more agile in their game. For example, Tiger Woods has been using visualization techniques to improve his game since he was a teenager, and World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus, was quoted as having said, “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.” Former NBA All-Star, Michael Jordan, used mental imagery to get into what he referred to as “the zone” to make his game-winning, three-point shots. Many public speakers practice anchoring themselves to a state of motivation prior to taking the stage in front of their audiences.

If professional athletes and stage presenters use visualization techniques to enhance their ability to be the best of the best, you too can utilize this approach to making your own dreams come true.

10 Meditation Steps for Achieving Your Goals

Try the following steps to practice a guided visualization on putting a goal into the future:

  1. Begin with an area of your life in mind. Choose an area where you have been struggling or would like to experience some transformation.
  2. Now begin to imagine the highest possible outcome that you would like to be living in this area of your life 6 to 12 months from now. Imagine living your life the way you would envision if all your hopes and dreams were to come true. What is your ultimate reality? Try not to get hung up on limitations or negativity; instead, just allow yourself to get carried away with your wildest aspirations.
  3. Next, connect with one goal you would like to achieve in the next three months. Make it a good one. If you choose a goal that doesn’t carry a lot of weight or isn’t all that meaningful, the end result (if you even bother getting there) won’t feel all that special. So be sure to choose something that is big enough that, once you’ve carried out this goal, you will be left with a high level of accomplishment and feeling super motivated to set your next goal. Run the goal through the SMART acronym to make sure it meets all the proper criteria. Then, you’re set!
  4. Now that you’ve connected with your goal, imagine what your life will be like once you have completed it. Create a picture or movie in your mind and step inside the visual representation as if you are inside it and looking through your own eyes. Adjust all of the qualities of sensory perception (taste, touch, sight, sound, smell) to create the most positive and most real feelings. Who is there with you? Where are you? What is happening around you?
  5. Next, step out of the image you’ve created and imagine floating up in the air above where you are now, taking the mental image with you. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, use your breath to energize the image, filling it with positive energy and intention. Do this five times.
  6. Now it’s time to imagine floating out into the future and visualize dropping the internal representation of your goal down into your life below you at the date and time you’ve set for this goal to reach completion.
  7. Notice how all the events between then and now re-evaluate themselves to support you in accomplishing your goal. Visualize this process to make it feel real.
  8. Once you feel complete, come back to now and, with your eyes still closed, consider what action steps you will take in the next week to move you closer to your goal.
  9. Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself before opening your eyes. Write down your list of action steps and do any journaling about your experience.
  10. Last, you must take action and maintain your focus. Every single day, do something that moves you closer to realizing your goal and living your dream.

Do this process once a week or upon completion of your action steps so that you continue moving powerfully forward toward achieving your goal and living your vision. Seeing is believing, so use your mind to create your most compelling future.

 

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This article was written by Tris Thorp, Vedic Educator and Lifestyle & Leadership Coach.

Becoming a Disciplined Person

Self-discipline is a pattern of behavior where you choose to do what you know you should do, rather than what you want to do. It’s the inner power that pushes you to get out of bed to exercise rather than sleeping in. It is the assertion of willpower over more basic desires and is synonymous with self-control.

It includes having the personal initiative to get started and the stamina to persevere. Being disciplined gives you the strength to withstand hardships and difficulties, whether physical, emotional or mental. It allows forgoing immediate satisfaction, in order to gain something better, but which requires effort and time.

Discipline is one of the cornerstones to living a successful and fulfilling life and something we should all strive to master.

Benefits of becoming a disciplined person

When you are consistent in doing the things you know you should do, when you know you should do them, here are the benefits you will enjoy:

  • You will achieve your goals. When you are consistent in doing the things you know you should do, your odds of achieving your goals will be dramatically increased.
  • Your self-esteem will soar. Every time you push yourself to do something you know you should do, you are building your self-esteem.
  • People’s respect for you will grow. This includes everyone from your spouse to your employer who witnesses your efforts.
  • You will influence the lives of others. Every good and right thing you do, influences the lives of those who are watching and can have a ripple effect on future generations.
  • You will see greater success in all areas of your life. Jim Rohn said, “For every disciplined effort there is a multiple return.” Think about it.
  • You will enjoy a more rewarding and satisfying life.

Downside of lacking discipline

When you consistently neglect to do the things you know you should do, when they should be done, here’s the downside:

  • You won’t achieve your goals. I’ve never met anyone who achieved any worthwhile goal who lacked discipline.
  • You won’t feel good about yourself. No matter how hard you try to justify your actions, you know what’s right and wrong. Lying to yourself only makes it worse.
  • You’ll lose the respect of those who are dependent upon your actions.

Making the decision to become a disciplined person may prove to be one of the most important decisions you make because of its powerful influence on every part of your life.

A commitment to discipline

The first step in becoming a disciplined person is to make a commitment to yourself that from this day forward you are going to do the things you know you should do, when you should do them. As part of this commitment, you cannot allow yourself to make excuses or justify not doing what you should do.

If you struggle with discipline, start small. It’s how we all got started. Start by taking out the overflowing garbage, answering an email, changing the light bulb, or cleaning your bathroom. Start today doing all the little things you know you should do, but don’t feel like doing.

When you need to do things that make you uncomfortable, remember the wise words of leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell who said, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”

When things come up that are scary, heed the experience of Dale Carnegie who said, Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.

Becoming a discipline person will likely be the hardest thing you do, but it can also become the most rewarding. All successes in every part of your life are built on the foundation of discipline.

I want to challenge you to start doing the little things you know you should do. As you do, recognize yourself for each thing you do. With constant awareness and sustained effort you can actually train yourself to become disciplined.

This is not the first time I have blogged on the importance of discipline, and it won’t be the last. Of the over 1000 little things on my list, nothing has a higher dollar value to the market than discipline.

Discipline is one of the key differentiators separating those who live successful and fulfilling lives from those who don’t.

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Todd Smith – Started his first business at 18; at 23 earned $250,000 his first year selling real estate; earned 25 million dollars in last 23 years as an entrepreneur. Learn more about him at littlethingsmatter.com

Why 4 Smaller Goals is More Effective Than 1 Big One

The end of the year is fast approaching, which is when many business owners’ thoughts turn to planning and goals.

If you’re like most people I know (including me!), the vast possibilities of the new year are totally inspiring, and you start doodling long lists of goals and aspirations around what you’d like to accomplish both in your business and your life…

…travel abroad for a month

…get to the gym more

…reach six figures and beyond

…launch a new product

…double your email list

…hire a team member

…take up salsa dancing

But once January rolls around, how will you make those goals and dreams a reality?

Statistics tell us that only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. And anecdotally, I’d guess it’s roughly the same for business owners who set lofty goals at the beginning of the year, but don’t have any plan for how to reach them.

And that’s the key: It’s not about setting different goals, it’s about having a better plan.

I encourage you to dream big! Set those pie-in-the-sky, out-of-this-world goals!

Then develop the plan to execute them.

If you’d like a little help getting started, I’ve developed this simple goal-setting worksheet you can download here.

First, you’ve got to have a plan.

Planning is absolutely necessary for business success.  You cannot expect to grow with any kind of consistency without a solid plan.

Planning will:

  • Provide crystal clear focus on what tasks you should be tackling at any given time.
  • Reduce mistakes and missteps over time.
  • Actually save you time.

That last one is people are often skeptical of. Planning is one of those “important but not urgent” tasks that gets put off, because people assume it will take too much time away from their productivity.

In fact, productivity expert and author, Brian Tracy, suggests “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.”

That means for every hour you spend planning, you’ll get save 60 hours on the execution.

And I don’t know about you, but I could definitely find a good use for 60 additional hours next year!

But one big goal isn’t very helpful.

The problem is that most people go about planning the wrong way. They either make way too many goals, without any concept of how long each of those things will actually take to achieve, and then get scattered when they try to do it all…

…or they make one giant goal, but lose track of it in the day-to-day business of running their business.

While it’s OK to have one big goal for the year — to increase your revenues to a certain dollar amount, gain a certain number of new subscribers, or expand your product line, for example — that kind of big goal is often hard to keep track of over the course of the year, and very hard to break down into action steps.

The solution, then is, what my friend Todd Herman calls the 90 Day Year.  He suggests breaking down your year into segments of 90 days, four segments per year.  For each 90 days, you choose one or maybe two goals that you can achieve in 90 days and then spend the entire time focused on those goals.

This kind of planning has a lot of benefits over traditional annual planning:

  • First, it’s more predictable than annual planning. It’s very difficult to break down long-term goals into individual action steps or to figure out what you should be doing to reach that goal on any given day.  Ninety-day plans strongly connect the action you take today with the specific results you want.
  • Having shorter-term goals keeps you more focused. Annual plans fail because too many objectives result in chaos and poor execution. Ninety-day plans force you to choose 1–3 priorities with greatest impact, and then create energy and urgency to act.
  • Having short-term goals forces you to break a big goal down into individual parts and then create daily action steps for each part. These steps are specific, actionable and achievable in the time frame.
  • The overall plan is structured so that if the action steps are completed on time, your goals are achieved!

The biggest benefit for me is that it helps keep me laser focused; if a new opportunity appears, I can quickly ask myself, “Does this help me reach my short-term goals?”  If the answer is yes, I can say yes to the opportunity with gusto. If the answer is no, I can turn it down without guilt or schedule it for later.

This kind of planning really helped us 10x our business and focus on the tasks and goals that would make the biggest impact.

Short-term goals help you focus on what’s working — and what’s not.

The other huge benefit of this kind of short-term planning is that it gives you the freedom and imperative to pivot when something isn’t working — and the mechanisms to figure out what isn’t working and why.

If you have just one huge goal for the year, it’s like driving a giant cruise ship; it becomes slow and difficult to change directions mid-journey.

But a short-term plan is like a luxury yacht that can maneuver and change directions much more quickly and easily, to head for the best possible destination.

When you’re taking the time to stop and plan every 90 days or so, it:

  • Builds your self-esteem. It’s much easier to see your progress and what you’ve achieved, and help assure you that you’re on the right course.
  • Demands your attention and helps you to respond more quickly (rather than ignoring the fact that a certain tactic isn’t really working — which is so easy to do!).
  • Helps you understand why you’re not hitting goals when something falls a little short. It’s much easier to see if it’s a flaw in the plan or the execution.

 

At first, some people may be a little disappointed when they see in black and white how little they’re moving towards their goals — but this is actually a good thing!  Most of us drastically underestimate how long a project will take and then overestimate how much progress we’ve made.

But when you break your goals down into short sprints, with clear action steps, you can’t help but see where your process is working and where it’s not. This is invaluable information for the smart business owner; you can start outsourcing, find more team members, change direction, change your forecasts, or any number of other solutions once you know what the problem is.

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This article was written by Melanie Duncan.

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