Monday, December 31, 2007

The New Year’s Countdown -- The 5 Steps to Real New Year Resolution Planning

How do you write your resolutions? If you are like most, you grab a journal or pad of paper and make a list of key accomplishments or dreams to achieve in the coming year.
And, if you are like most, you forget most of them by the end of March, only to find the list in September and wonder why nothing got done.
But there is a better way!
How would you like to be able to create a New Years Resolution Plan – one that spells out exactly the steps necessary to actually achieve your new year’s goals or objectives?
The first step is to define what makes up an effective plan? When I developed QuickPlanner Plus, it was based on years of research into effective planning at all levels of life – personal and professional.
I found that the most effective plans, those that resulted in real accomplishment, held five key principles, or elements, each and every time.
If you follow these principles, you can develop something as simple as a News Year’s Resolution Plan or as intricate as a Strategic Business Plan.
1. What is your Vision?
Define this first.Your Vision is a broad description of what you would like to achieve. Effective planners start by defining this first. Most failures in planning have to do with defining a specific goal like how many pounds to lose without knowing what the long term vision is. In other words, if your goal is to lose weight, your vision might be something like “I see myself walking on the beach wearing that baby doll t-shirt I got from” This is a vision of your future. Or if you are trying to make more money, your vision might be “having enough income to pay off my debt, lease a new car, and take my girlfriend on a two week vacation in Buenos Aires.” Whatever your vision, it must be defined first. If not, your plan will be harder to align and will have a tendency to fail.
2. Define your Goals or Objectives:
After defining your vision, look for a numerical measurement of how to achieve your vision. In the case of paying off debt, what is the actual amount you will need to earn to do that – in total. If your debt is $50,000, and you current income is $45,000 per year. How much more do you need to earn to pay off debt? This is the type of numerical objective you must define. Goals or Objectives must be defined numerically – that way you can truly plan how to achieve it. It is ideal to have multiple objectives for your vision. Do not be shy on your numerical objectives. How much money? How many pounds lost? How much money saved for vacation?
3. Make your Plans:
This is probably the most familiar part of resolution planning for most. But the effective planner puts it to better use. Each of your objectives should have a plan. The plan is a clear description of what you want to do to achieve your objective. In the case of lose weight, if you defined your objective as, say, lose 20 pounds (or, in my case, 45 pounds!) then write a descriptive general plan on how to do that, i.e., “Start a regular exercise regimen using my current exercise equipment gathering dust in the garage. Use the book I bought last year and follow the steps to create an effective work out routine.”
4. Write a Program for Each Plan:
This is probably the single biggest missing part of any planning process. And, yet, without this step, most plans simply become nice words written on plain paper. Your program should be a step-by-step guide for accomplishing your plan. Using the above plan, your program may be something like:
a. Pull out the exercise equipment from garage and set up in bedroom.
b. Make sure exercise equipment is clean and safe before using.
c. Find the book on exercise bought last year.
d. Create a simple daily workout plan following recommendations of the book.
e. Implement the workout plan.
f. Review the workout plan regularly to ensure it matches current needs, modify as necessary.

The program is your main guide for success. You must follow each step of the program to achieve your objectives.
5. Refine your Strategic Life Plan:
Now look at the plan you have developed including the vision, the objectives, the plans, and the programs. Read it up and down and make sure each part aligns with the others. If your plan does not align, you will find yourself not being able to complete the programs. If this happens, just go back through the program as look to make sure you have written a realistic program. Ultimately, every plan ever made, to be successful, was modified along the way.

Real and achievable resolutions can be best defined as Effective Strategic Life Planning and we at QuickPlanner Plus resolve to continue developing more effective means to help you in all your strategic planning needs into 2008 and beyond.

Good planning!


Cathleen Rittereiser said...

So complicated! Thanks for the reminder of why we follow the GND:Getting Nothing Done New Year's Resolution Method (tm). Merry Christmas!

Matsonian said...

Guess that is the difference. Getting something done... or not! Ultimately I prefer to help others finish the day knowing that they have accomplished as much as possible in their lives.