Community//

How to plan when you can’t see the target

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that pivoting should be part of the plan, and that one step at the time is the only path forward.

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Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash
Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Finally. 2020 is almost over. And we can see 2021 coming around the bend.

This is a year that’s tried to teach us, over and over, that we can’t plan. Or rather, we can, but for what? It’s been a year of hardship and humility. And I’m undoubtedly one of the lucky ones.

This time of year always gets me thinking about the year past, what I accomplished, what I didn’t and how I’m going to make next year better.

Because it’s GOT to be better than this, right?

It will surprise no one that planning is one of my favorite activities. In fact, giant nerd that I am, my 30 minute, end-of-week planning session is my favorite part of the week. During these sessions I reprioritize what I didn’t get to this week (usually not too much), I review my task list and my calendar for the week ahead.  I think about my goals for the following week, and I make concrete (and ruthlessly realistic) plans about how I’m going to achieve them. (I also do a mini-version of this every day, looking at tomorrow.)

Now that 2021 is right ahead of us, it’s time for some end-of-year planning. It can feel daunting because a year is a really big timeframe. And it can feel futile because…2020.

But I promise, it’s not futile. I’ve said before that all planning is worthwhile. And I believe that’s true. Planning is what helps you more easily pivot when new info comes your way. A client recently said to me “Planning isn’t about perfection; it’s about preparation.” And I could not agree more.

But planning in a pandemic IS different than planning when there’s a bit more stability in the world. We need to be less rigid and more open.

Think direction, not outcome.

Instead of super concrete, must-hit-the-target, goals, what about reframing goals as directional and intentional this year. What if instead of the outcome, we think about the path? What do we want more of in our lives? Less of? How can we take a first step towards making that happen?

Consider your locus of control.

Additionally, let’s focus on what you can control, because it’s wasted energy to focus on what you can’t. And at this point, we don’t have any energy left to waste.

Can you control exactly how many sales you’ll make next year? No. Can you control how many people you reach out to? Yes.

Can you control whether school will be in person or virtual? No. Can make a transition plan that will help you more easily pivot between the two? Yes.

If you can control the inputs but not the outputs, what actions will you take? How will your plans differ?

A simple plan

I’ve put together a simple resource for you that will help you get clarity on the the direction you want to take your year ahead. This guide will ask you to define the first step towards your goals, not all the steps. It’s designed for flexibility.

It’s a simple, 3 step process and you can download it HERE.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what you’ll get inside:

  1. Define your top 3 goals for your personal life and your work life. Get clear on why these are important to you, what the actionable next step is to move forward, and when you’re going to take action.
  2. Review last year through the lens of “ keep, start, stop “. This isn’t about judgment, it’s about deciding what works, what doesn’t and what you’d like to try. I’m a firm believer that we don’t always know what’s right or what will work until we actually experiment in our own lives. We experiment, we gather data, then we iterate. This is how we make better decisions and keep our lives going in the direction we want. Even, or especially, when things keep changing around us.
  3. Define your word of the year; what’s the word or phrase that will be your north star this year?

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that pivoting should be part of the plan, and that one step at the time is the only path forward. Download this planning guide HERE to take the first step in whatever direction you choose.

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