Here we are at day 24 and we are finally creating an actionable checklist for your first year. 30 days to work on creating a 10 year plan takes commitment and I thank you all for sticking around. Your hard work will pay off, if it hasn’t already. Who’s feeling rejuvenated? Inspired? Hopeful? It’s an amazing feeling when you spend some time on yourself. Feels good, right? Creating my 10 year plan has helped me live more intentionally. There’s something about writing down a purposeful goal that makes it feel more real and attainable.
- blank unruled paper
- Pen or pencil
- poster board
Step One: Write it down
It’s time to jump in your Delorian and travel back to day 10, day 11, day 12, day 13, day 14, and day 15 when we worked on our one year goals. As we have been doing for the duration of this challenge, the actionable checklist will be broken up into categories: relationships, career, finances, health, community, and personal. Before we make the checklist, we need to compile our work and prioritize.
On a sheet of paper (yes, paper. Writing it down helps make it real.) create six sections, a section for each category. Within each section, you will list at least two goals from the given category. If you come up with more than two per category or more in one than another, great. This is your 10 year plan.
Step Two: Hone in
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a list person. I love lists and I love the feeling of crossing something off my list. In fact, I’ll write something down on a list that I already achieved just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off. Due mostly to this obsession, completing the next step in the process is rather easy for me – most of the time. To “chunk” down a larger goal, I usually look at the goal in regards to time. If I break down the goal into things I can do within six months, three months, a week, or even a day, it’s easier for me to see the progress and not get discouraged.
Step Three: Brainstorm
As I was making my 10 year plan, I found that most of my goals, while stated concisely, still needed to be further defined. Stunted by word count and trying to avoid paragraphs of explanation, I decided to unload all of my thoughts and ideas regarding my goal on paper or even in a Word document. Don’t worry about format. It will look messy and likely not make sense to anyone else. That’s okay. I tend to try to edit things as I go and that is NOT something you want to do when you are brainstorming. Everything that flows out your pen or through you fingers is valuable information.
To avoid my inner editor, I use the free write method. Set a timer for five minutes. During the five minutes write down every single thought, idea, and image that comes to mind regarding your goal. Think of the reason you want to achieve this goal. How you will achieve this goal. What your life or you look like once the goal is achieved. What needs to be done to achieve this goal.
Step Four: Analyze notes
Once you are done brainstorming, review your notes. Are there patterns? Can you identify action items? With a highlighter, review your notes and highlight action items. For example, when I was brainstorming for my goal to earn $X from writing projects, I highlighted the following notes: research publishers, brainstorm article ideas and headlines, create an outline, etc. These are all smaller steps that need to be made in order for me to achieve my goal.
After you’ve highlighted the action items, go through your notes again to identify why you want to achieve this goal and circle them. Please, please, please don’t skip this step. Becoming clear on why you want to achieve a particular goal is imperative to your success.
A tale of caution
Identifying the “why” will help you realize what goals matter most to you. As I was completing these steps for a fitness goal (run a marathon) I wanted to achieve during my first year, I realized two things. First, that I set this goal solely to say I ran a marathon. I am not a runner. I don’t particularly enjoy running. If I do run, it usually consists of sprints for shorter distances. Second, while the goal to run a marathon is a pretty common one for bucket lists (my number one love), it was becoming clear that I had no motivation to achieve this goal within the first year. Running a marathon is still in my 10 year plan; however, it is a goal I’ll revisit after I’ve completed some of my other health goals.
By brainstorming and analyzing the results, I was able save myself time and disappointment. Setting a goal just to have bragging rights doesn’t inspire most people. There needs to be 100% buy-in and excitement. This is your 10 year plan. Not your mother’s. Not Kim Kardashian’s. Your’s.
Step Five: Create a visual checklist
In order to stay on track, you need to review your goals on a daily basis. The easiest way to do this is to create a visual and put it somewhere you will see it every day. I have two locations where I put visuals – my closet and my office. Find a place that makes sense to you.
On your poster board, create five sections. Just draw out the sections for now. You can gussy it up later.
Now transfer the highlighted action items from your brainstorming session to post-its. Each action item will constitute it’s own post-it. As you are creating your post-its, start arranging them on your poster board. The first section is for action items that can be completed within a day. The second section is for action items that can be completed within a week. Third section a month and fourth section multiple months to a year.
The great thing about using a poster board for this process is that now you have a central location for ALL of your first year goals. Once you’ve created the visual for one goal, you can duplicate the process for other goals and combine the end result on to one visual. Various post-it colors will allow you to visually divide categorized goals. Oh, post-its, how I love thee.
The fifth and final section is for your DONE action items. As you complete your action items, remove them from their respective section and move to DONE. By keeping a backlog of completed items, you will be able to visually see what you accomplished within a year. With bigger goals, it can feel that little progress is being made but with this visual as a reminder, you won’t question it. You’ll have a daily reminder that you are on the right track.
We’re in the home stretch! Just a few more days left in the challenge.
If you are just joining the challenge, don’t miss out on some FREE worksheets! I have eight worksheets that will help you through the first eight days of the challenge.