“Done! Mission accomplished! I did it!” It always feels great to achieve a major goal. But if the thought of developing a long-term plan is so overwhelming that you tend to avoid planning altogether, I would like to offer you a place to start: the 90-day plan. (I also went through another roughly 90-day plan for a major change called Marine Corps boot camp, so I know such plans really do work.)
Accomplishing major goals, whether personal or professional, requires forethought, self-discipline and determination. Writing down your goals is the first step; developing a plan to accomplish your goals is the second. Then, it’s all about having the self-discipline and the determination to stay focused. Start with a 90-day plan, and then craft a series of follow-on 90-day plans to build momentum, develop good habits and lead you toward longer-term planning.
I just finished a 90-day plan to accomplish two major goals: pass the Series 65 and lose a certain amount of weight. I set the goals knowing that both were BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) for me. While I was considering my goals and plans, I became inspired by the concept behind the P90X exercise program. (The P90X is a system of 12 workouts, a nutrition program and a detailed fitness guide, among other things, customized to fit your lifestyle). After hearing people rave about it for so long—including many of the hosts on ESPN radio—I finally decided to give my BHAGs a try. No, I did not do the P90X program, but the concept of major change over 90 days did inspire me. I called it “K90X: My 90-day plan for major change.”
The first step in building your plan is to set a specific start and end date. Having a specific deadline will make you accountable for your progress. Then, list your goals. One tip: Don’t go crazy. We are talking about a major life change here, so start with no more than three major goals. And be realistic. Once you’ve written down the goals that you want to accomplish, break down all the tasks required to reach each one. (This is the advantage of a shorter plan—it’s much easier to look out over 90 days and decide on what specific steps you need to take.)
After you have your dates, goals and tasks written down, define what daily commitments you must make to accomplish your goals. This is something like daily prayer; you will dedicate a certain amount of time per day to pursuing each goal and being accountable to someone else (spouse, boss, friend). Once you build self-discipline through accomplishing your goals on time, you will be able to progress to a full one-year plan and eventually a five-year plan.
Reaching your goals is not impossible. You just need to break down each goal into smaller steps, make a commitment to yourself (and others) to complete each step on time and keep your eyes on the prize: that wonderful feeling of accomplishment waiting for you at the end.
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Kelly Kendall, a business consultant with Asset Marketing Systems, has more than 14 years of experience in sales and management in the technology and financial services industries. For more information, go to www.assetmarketingsystems.net/