While 2015 brought clarity and focus, I know that, in order to bring the best of out 2016, habits, routines, and rituals are an irreplaceably essential piece to every successful persons story. We don’t have the privilege of knowing what EVERY successful person does on a daily basis, but there are definitely clues. One of which is a clear, actionable plan to reach your goals.

The 7 P’s

Proper Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance, as the old military adage goes, is a concept that will always hold true. By entering any situation with a clear set of steps to accomplish your desired results, you give yourself a leg up on the adversity and distractions that are surely waiting for your arrival. The funniest (and possibly scariest) part about this is that many of us aren’t even aware that we go through entire days without accomplishing anything of substance towards OUR goals in life.

ShipVoyageImagine a football team that never spent the time to develop a playbook prior to the season! As children, we could get away with “run to the tree stump on go” plays and possibly succeed, but many of us approach our lives as adults with the same hail mary strategies. From the exceedingly high number of undecided university students to the majority of people who don’t even know what they’ll be doing after they clock out, it couldn’t be understated how many individuals are moving through life without a clear, self-determined destination. How are we, as the captains of our ship, to reach our dreams without a solid sail to capture the winds of opportunity we each have access to?

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. – Seneca

6 Planning Principles

If you are like me, and could use a quick mend to your sails, these are some foundational principles that could help you get the most of each day, week, month, quarter, and year.

  1. Determine a Quarterly Destination – We are pretty notorious at wanting to do a lot things, and be great at all of them at the same time. While this is possible, it will only be due to compounding habits established over time. By focusing on a QUARTERLY goal, you can squeeze four major accomplishments into a year without it seeming overwhelming. Locking down targets for one huge goal over the course of 12 weeks will leave you primed and locked in to achieve it and keep that momentum going throughout the year.
  2. Get rid of the Scroll Space – Look at your calendar… Really, look at it! Most don’t even need to, because it is empty or very sparse on events. If Facebook inputs more events into your calendar than you do, it probably has also collaborated with Twitter and Instagram to suck up all the empty time you (or your boss) haven’t accounted for. By leaving no space unaccounted for on your calendar, you will occupy your mind with YOUR agenda throughout the day. You’ll find yourself losing less time to scrolling through your precious, productive ME time. USE IT or LOSE IT!
  3. Bookend your Days – Develop a ritual for each morning and evening. The times when you first wake up and right before bed are yours no matter how hectic your day gets. Create a concrete series of activities that you will do at these times to add structure and built in consistency to your life. I recommend things like prayer, gratitude, scheduling your day, reading, exercise, meal planning, and hygiene (of course).
  4. Clarify your Priorities – Establishing a to-do list can feel productive, and checking off tasks definitely gets us juiced up. But are these the things that will push us towards our dreams? Often, the accomplishments that would give us the most fulfillment require the most work! It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance, and there will always be something easier to do. By taking time to prioritize the tasks that directly sponsor our personal race to success, we will make sure that we are pushing our own lives forward before we tend to the random inbound tasks that are ready and willing to take as much time as we lend them.
  5. Start Today – While most would like to wait until the New Year to begin a new plan, you don’t have the choice! One, New Years just happened (I’m writing this on Jan 5); and two, your dreams are waiting for you! Would you tell your employer or client to hold on to your paycheck until the bills are due? Many people wait for desperation to force them into action. Don’t do yourself the same injustice!
  6. Create an Accountability Net – Don’t go into hiding with your goals, and plan on letting the world know IF you’re successful. You don’t necessarily have to blast your master plan to everyone you see, but it’s important to have a few people supporting you whom you know have your best interest in mind. By sharing your dreams, goals, and desires, with this small circle, you will create a network that will keep you from deviating or quitting on yourself.

I hope these Six Principles for 2016 will help you roll through the year with focus, fire, and fulfillment! My goal is definitely to stick to them daily so if you see me slacking… Call me out! Thanks for reading. 🙂