How do I make my own 6 month plan? It’s easy! (The only hard part for me is knowing myself enough to know what I truly want–not just what I think I want.)
Again, this material was adapted from Denise Spatafora’s Be Clear methodology. More specifically, I took “Designing Life After College” from her at UCLA. To learn more, go here.
- Tie up loose ends from 2012. It’s hard to move forward when you’re lugging around all the unsaid comments, unfinished tasked, and otherwise unresolved things from the past. Take care of them now, or make a commitment to finish them by a concrete date.
- Look at your life. This leads to setting goals. Where is your life right now? And, where would you like it to be in 6 months? This should be realistic yet ambitious. Be enthusiastic with your dreaming, and be kind with your realism. Need help identifying what to focus on? Try looking at the “7 Aspects of Life” and pick one or two that resonates with you. The 7 are: physical,mental, emotional, spiritual, professional/school, inancial, and social (friends/family).
- Set goals. For help creating clear goals, check out the University of Chicago’s SMART TIPS. When it comes to goals for the 6 month plan, one important, clear goal that you want and will fulfill is way more beneficial than 10 you won’t.
- Imagine June 2013. This is tied with setting the goal(s), but what does the end of June 2013 look like? What do you want to be doing/have done? Who do you want to be? What does it feel like. Knowing what and where the finish line is makes running the race easier.
- Mark the milestones. Working backwards from June 2013, where do you want to be in April? What do you want to have accomplished? Then further back to mid-February, what do you want to have done by then?
- Create the actions for the first 2-3 weeks. Big projects like this take a lot of effort to plan, and often plans change as you get going. (Ever set out for a road trip only to discover you need a new battery? I certainly have. And if it’s not the battery, it’s something else.) In other words, break it into manageable chunks. What specific actions will you take starting Jan. 1 to move towards your goal? When will you have these actions completed? I will do x by y date. I will do x at least y times a week.
- Create the vision board. Make a visual representation (a playlist for the audio-inclined) of what you want and will have June 2013 feel like. Any size, any color, any way you want to make it. I made mine with magazine cutouts and hand drawings. The vision board is a symbol of your commitment and a real-world image (or playlist) to remind yourself as you go along. Mine is on my desk, so I look at it whenever I get on my laptop.
Have fun creating these plans! Still to come: maintain the plan.
So you have thought about your life, you set your goals, you made your plan, and now you’re doing it. Except everything is going wrong. Welcome to being human. Welcome to being alive.
Check your goals monthly. I was hiking once with my grandfather and my mother, and we walked right past our turn and ended up (unknowingly) on a 3-day backpacking trail. Luckily, the trail we were on had been burnt out by a forest fire, so when we couldn’t follow it any more we turned around. It was on the way back that we saw the sign for the trail we were supposed to be on and realized our mistake. The point is to check where you are every now and then, hopefully before you get lost in the woods. But, if you find yourself on a dead-end trail, then it’s time to recalibrate.
Recalibrate. Ever start driving only to realize you left your sweater on the roof of the car? Or maybe you left the engagement ring at home? The stove on? You never even got on the road because you locked your keys in the car? Yes, we’ve all been there. It’s okay. Figure out what’s not working and make a plan to change it or change course. Maybe you need to increase how often you meditate. Maybe you need to try a new approach, like joining a kickball league because going to the gym alone isn’t for you. Remember, there are no rules except for the ones you made yourself.
Look at the vision board. Remind yourself what you are working towards and why. It’s okay to be tired. It’s even okay to change your mind. (That’s why we recalibrate.) I’m even giving you permission to quit. There’s no right way to do this. It’s all good, and it’s all valid. I hope you keep going. I hope you keep working towards you goals. I will be, so call/email/text/message me if you want to take this journey together.