You know I preach the beauty of a plan to get what you want, but how about feeling a sense of inner peace and life direction?? Now that’s worth a million plans!
My friend, Michelle, is not a long-term planner. Her husband John is very much a long-term visionary kind of guy. She’s had to learn that when John says things like, “Pretty soon we’ll need to look at buying a new car,” he actually means in about 5-7 years. To Michelle, 5-7 DAYS is a long-range plan!
Michelle works in crisis communication, so while she has disaster planning down pat for her clients, crises don’t tend to last years – but rather a matter of days. John is a state employee, where nothing moves quickly. That speaks to his comfort level – gradual and slow.
Michelle knows her job – backward and forward – but not her future plans. Michelle knows exactly what she wants in that emergency moment – and how she wants a crisis managed. She doesn’t know how to plan for retirement, or large purchases, or even how to get a raise! She might be the most over-worked, yet sporadic emergency manager in the state!
How is Michelle supposed to even approach getting what she wants in life without planning for it? Are you seeing a trend yet?!
What Michelle struggles with the most is peace. Her life feels – and is! – hectic and exhausting. Her husband, on the other hand, is rarely flustered. He knows exactly what he wants and when, which lends itself to more confidence and comfort in his life.
Confidence and comfort! Image that!
The thing is: Planning is truly important if you have goals you want to reach. You can’t get a loan from a bank if you don’t know how much money you need to borrow. You can’t get people to come to your party if you haven’t decided which night you’ll be throwing it. You can’t ask for a raise if you don’t know your value.
Michelle gets caught up in one of the pitfalls of planning: Her plans are always short-term. She spends too much money at the grocery store because she doesn’t plan her list or plan to go after eating. She rushes into her kids’ school meetings late because she hasn’t planned her day or her commute. She is most fearful of retirement because she can’t wrap her head around that much future!
Planning doesn’t have to be a bad word! How do you start? Take one week, one month or one year at a time. Sure, planning for a year sounds like a long time, but the longer your plan, the longer you will stick with the new behavior that will help you achieve your goal.
Next, map out your goal (write it down!) plan the steps, the money and the weekly or daily commitment of time you’ll need to meet the goal. Post it somewhere you can see it each day – your car visor, your bathroom mirror, your fridge – then stick with it. Sure, it’s ok to revise your plan, after all, it’s YOUR plan! But whatever you do, commit to it and start doing it NOW!