It was New Years Day, 2009. It was a cold day in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, but I was happy to see another year. I’d gone to a New Years Eve party the night before and had a ton of fun with my friends. Now I was back home, drinking a hot chocolate, reflecting on the past year. Today was not just a new day, it was a new month and a new year too, which got me thinking about a new me.
I made myself breakfast, thinking about all of the things I could do this year to improve from last year. I could eat healthier food, of course. I could definitely save more money. I could finally go on a trip, a real trip, and not just to the Caribbean. I wanted to read more books. As a child, I couldn’t put them down but now I barely made time for them. I wanted to learn about IRAs, stocks, and investing. I wanted to start a business and work for myself.
But didn’t I already have all of these goals last year? What could I do this year to make sure I’d reach them?
That’s when I decided to quit making resolutions and to start making plans. I would quit just making a list of goals, and instead, write down how I would achieve each one. Throughout the year, I would follow the plan I’d written and make changes if circumstances changed. I would share it with someone I trust (my brother), so that he could help keep me accountable. In fact, I could encourage him to do it too, and I could help him stay accountable. Then I would check off each one as soon as it was complete. And when New Years Eve came around again, I could look back on the year with a sense of accomplishment and progress.
That year, I did start a business. I began to work out, and I lost 10 pounds. I quit eating pasta and bread. I’d been more fit than ever. The next year, I went to Europe for the first time. I saved more money. In fact, I made more money. All because I planned to do it. It happened because I planned for it to happen. It didn’t happen on its own, and I didn’t wait for it happen by accident. I planned strategically, at the start of the year, to follow certain steps to make things happen.
It worked so well that I created a template for my strategic plan. I wanted to keep it short, because nobody likes filling out long forms, not even me. Plus, if you create too many plans for yourself, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and quit. So I aimed to keep it simple. Today, I still keep it simple, but I’ve made it available for anyone. Not only that, I even made a little video so that strategic planning comes easier to all of us. Wanna hear it? Here goes…
What do you think? Could a plan like this help you? Remember to comment with your thoughts and subscribe, and if you have questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll see you next time!