We continue with the final part of our six-part series ‘Six Steps To Personal Fulfillment’ with Action Planning: How to Make Change Happen.
You think you’ve discovered what a fulfilled life means for you. You’ve got a list of things you now want to do, achieve or become. So how do you start ticking off items on your list? The last feature in the series will focus on making that change happen.
Make sure your goal is clear
One way people can sabotage their future achievements is by not being clear on their definition of when that goal is actually reached. If our minds are not clear on what it will look like, sound like and feel like when we have it, how will we know when it comes along or when opportunities come our way? Our mind is a brilliant tool to help us achieve our dreams but we must be sure to give it some guidance. Here are some tips on getting a clear goal:
- Make sure you have some clear wording around what your goal is. It should be stated in terms of what you want and not what you don’t want. Avoid comparatives like better, more or less because it is hard for your mind to focus on what better, more or less means. Better than what? What does better look like? These kind of questions can help you get clear.
- What will you see, hear and feel when you have what you want? If it helps, visualise it in your mind or bring together images and do a collage to help remind you. What would other people notice or say about you when you have reached your goal?
When designing your plan, the first steps are the most important
Make sure your first few steps are clear and achievable. Don’t get caught up in designing an intricate, multi-staged pathway all the way to the end result. The plan needs to be flexible as more often than not, life gets in the way and can change the course of our plan. So get moving by writing down the initial baby steps.
Think about driving a car: it’s much easier to change course when you are moving. Life is like that too. If you need to work out every step before you get started, you will never start because every eventuality cannot realistically be planned for. Come up with some tangible and achievable first steps to get you started.
Consider your preference for time sorting when structuring your plan
The reason a lot of people find time management hard is that they do not structure their time according to their own innate preference. We all have a different ideal for how we construct time so identify yours and design your action plan around it.
Some people think about time in very small chunks: half days, hours or even minutes. Some people chunk time in weeks, months or even years. Look at the diary view you like most. Is it day, week or monthly view?
If you sort in small chunks then you need action plans that support that. Break down larger tasks into tasks that take half an hour rather than having the ‘big’ goal on your list. If it’s too big you will get stuck and probably procrastinate. If you sort in big chunks of time then your outcomes and goals need to reflect that. Group together small (probably mundane to you) tasks into bigger headings, where you can see how all these things will benefit the bigger picture, will give you more motivation to complete them.
There is always more than one way to achieve your goal
Often people get stuck with achieving their goals and dreams because they only have one way in mind. If something happens that blocks that way, they give up and feel despondent that they cannot achieve it or it is not possible. Get creative and always have more than one way to achieve your goal in mind.
You may well have a preferred route but if you have at least two potential other routes up your sleeve you will not get stuck when the stumbling blocks come up. The human mind loves choice, so give it some options in terms of how to achieve something and it’s amazing what flashes of inspiration it will reward you with in return.
Karen Meager is joint managing director of Monkey Puzzle Training & Consultancy. Her first book, written with Monkey Puzzle colleague John McLachlan, Real Leaders For The Real World: Essential traits of successful and authentic leaders, was published in May 2014 by Panoma Press.
THE SIX STEPS TO PERSONAL FULFILLMENT…
The first parts of our guide are featured in The New Idealist issues One-Three which you can download below. Part Four, Five and Part Six can be found online.
Part One — Current Situation: What is the main obstacle or challenge are you are currently facing?
Part Two — Professional Life: How to manage your career-related
hopes and fears.
Part Three — Family & Friendships: How to make the most of your social life.
Part Four — Making a difference: Are you using your skillset effectively?
Part Five — Personal Goals: Do you know what you want from your
Part Six — Action Planning: How to make change happen
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Issue Seven: The New Future Issue (Annual Special Edition)
Issue Six: The Autism Issue
Issue Five: The Doomsday Edition (Extreme Weather Special)
Issue Four: The Issue We’re All Talking About (Guest Edited by the actress Jodhi May)
Issue Three: Has Obama been corrupted by the machine?
Issue Two: IQ VS EQ – Is Emotional Intelligence what you need to succeed in the digital age?
Issue One: Downwardly Mobile? Will the next generation find it harder to reach the next level?