Monday, December 17, 2012

Forget Resolutions, create a Strategic Plan

As we approach a New Year many people will be thinking about New Year resolutions. I suggest, forget the resolution, and adopt a personal strategic plan.

While they may sound similar there are some important differences. First it is important to state your goals in the positive, too often resolutions are stated in the negative (I want to lose weight, spend less, etc.) Second resolutions tend to be a one-off goal, not tied to a larger vision of the future.

The process of strategic planning starts with the end. What is your vision of where you would like to be in 5-10 years? You can create this vision for your career, relationships, physical fitness, lifestyle, or whatever you like. It would be great if it was an integrated vision that included all of the above. What in your ideal world ‘could be?’ If you believe it is impossible, then it is. If you believe it is possible, then it has a good chance of being just that.

Once you have the end vision firmly in your mind (preferably on paper), then start thinking about what are some of the key steps that would need to be taken between now and then. Don’t believe you can or should write down every detail, because you do not know exactly how life will unfold, but instead think about the pivotal steps.

With the key steps identified, think about how you might be able to measure your progress, so you see that you are moving in the right direction. Measuring progress creates positive momentum.

Now you have all the pieces of a strategic plan. It is flexible enough to bend with changing circumstances, and specific enough to keep you on the right track.

Then keep the end vision in mind while you put your attention and efforts towards the first key measurable result. When that is achieved move to the next, and so on.

This approach is much more powerful than creating a “don’t list” like most resolutions. Or maybe your resolution needs to be to create a strategic plan?

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