First 100 Days: 3 ways to plan for goals

Whether you’ve been following along here or are just popping by for the first time, welcome (back) to the series of posts and worksheets about how to give the same you a new start — on a project, in a job, in a relationship, or just in general.

So far the work has been to:

And, in case you haven’t fully digested this one bit of direction for this work, jumping into the goals part before doing all of that preliminary work is an appetizing idea that will leave you empty in the long run. Grounding future goals in the context of past experience, infusing goals with the energy of dreams and desires, and giving near-term goals the benefit of belonging to something larger will help you reach those near-term goals and will also connect that work with who you are as a human.

Having a plan that’s built from your own DNA, as it were, will enable you to keep moving, growing, adapting, and changing when the world around you presents unexpected challenges.

If you’ve done all of that work and have been waiting, patiently, for the next exercises, then today’s your day.

This week’s work has three parts. In the workbook, if you downloaded/printed that, there are five of each sheet, one for each of the five goals you identified and prioritized in a prior exercise. As with all of the other exercises, you can do these on blank sheets of paper (or journal pages, or whatever suits you).

They may look similar, and there is some overlap in them, but these are three distinct activities. For each of the five goals you wrote, you’ll complete all three sheets.

The first exercise is called Goal+Vision+Belief. For this activity, you’ll use your vision board work and the worksheets about limiting beliefs to connect those free-floating ideas with each specific goal. You don’t have to fill the page. You can also use more than one page. Remember, this is your work. The simple idea is to create a kind of home – furnished and warm, in your own style – for your goals.

The next work is called Goal+Action. This work will likely be the most familiar-feeling of everything we’ve done so far. In this exercise, you’ll write the goal (yes, again — you’re reinforcing the words in your own head by writing them down repeatedly) and then get very tactical/practical about the specific things you’ll need to do to get from where you are today to achieving that goal.

Let’s say, for the sake of ease, that the goal is to grow, harvest, and can tomatoes this year. The action steps you’ll need to take, working toward that goal, would be things like clearing a plot of ground, buying materials (seed, etc.), reading about tomato gardening, and so on. You’ll likely come back and add to or change this list over time, because right now your imagining things you haven’t yet done.

At the end of that list-making work, you’ll write a Strategic Action Statement that might sound something like, “I am working in my backyard this year to grow a full, healthy crop of delicious heirloom tomatoes that I will harvest to enjoy eating, to share with friends, and to preserve for the cold of winter.” Yours might sound nothing like that. The point of doing this simple-sounding activity (that I know you’ll be tempted to skip) is that it clarifies your purpose, for you. When you are hot and tired and upset that the raccoons keep stealing the prizes from your hard labor, you’ll have this statement to re-energize yourself. Or to decide that maybe what you thought you wanted isn’t what you actually want, and that’s OK, too.

On the third sheet you’ll re-write that same Strategic Action Statement and then map out the who/what/where/when/why/how of getting there. When will you need to start your tomato seedlings indoors (or plant seedlings from the farmers market)? Who can help you? How will you arrange your garden bed?

When this Goal Map is complete, you’ll have thought through what it will actually take to do the work you’ve decided is important to you.

At this point, having completed these three worksheets for your one goal, ask yourself: DO I REALLY WANT THIS?

If the answer is yes, then proceed to the next goal and repeat the process.

If the answer is no, then go back a step to the forced prioritization exercise, and consider giving it another round.

Alternatively, just go to the next goal anyway, and then the next, until you’ve finished all five. Sleep on that work for a day or two, then revisit. It’s possible that the reality of thinking about how much it will take to accomplish a goal just feels overwhelming in the moment.

Last bit of counsel: Don’t overthink this. Just get into the work, do the work, and trust that you’re investing in the most important person in your life, because you are.

Next week (yes, WEEK) I’ll show you the tools I use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to move all of this work along.

See you then.

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