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My Planning Process

January 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

My New Year Plan

Years ago, a good friend of mine, Tim Elmore, got me hooked on a process that has really impacted my life. Tim encouraged me to develop a strategic plan for the new year. The process included spending time looking back at the previous year, and then looking forward to the year ahead. I wanted to share the process I go through with you. I have made some modifications to what Tim does. You can follow Tim’s amazing work at www.growingleaders.com. He has his process listed on his blog. Enjoy!

Like I said, I spend about half a day looking back at the previous year. I journal a lot, so it’s easy for me to look back at the details of the year and the bigger events are pretty easy to recall. I always look at seven main areas of my life and see how I did in accomplishing the goals and dreams I had set, and where I achieved beyond my desires and where did I not do such a great job. My seven areas are:

  1. Spiritually
  2. Marriage
  3. Fatherhood
  4. Ministry
  5. School (I am getting my doctorate and it is a huge part of my life right now so I include it)
  6. Relationships
  7. Leadership

I ask the following questions:

  1. Did I grow in this area? If so, where and how?
  2. Did I benefit the growth of others in this area? If so, how?
  3. What was the one thing I am most proud of in this area?
  4. What is the one thing I am least proud of in this area?
  5. Was my strategy for each area effective? Why or why not?
  6. Did I fulfill the mission of my Life Sentence (this is essential and I will blog on this later) this past year?

Once I complete this process, I send a day looking forward and setting goals (actually, I like the term dreams better than goals). Tim Elmore calls his items “action lists” or “standard lists” which I love! This process looks like the following:

  1. What is the main dream I have in each of my seven areas? What will be needed in order to achieve this? (I use a Dream Chart that I developed in order to complete this process. A Dream Chart looks at where you are [Now] and where you want to be [Dream] and then maps out all of the steps required to get you there.)
  2. Of my 7 areas which areas do I need the most growth?
  3. What resources will I need for the required growth? (i.e., books, seminars, counseling, coaching, web sites, podcasts etc. I decide all of this at the beginning of the year and map out a schedule of when and where.)
  4. I map out my entire year. Monica and I do this together. We set date nights, family date days, vacations, major events on our calendar at the beginning of the year. These are non-negotiable!!
  5. Monica and I set family goals. What are one or two things we are really going to try and teach the kids this year? Last year it was patience and courage. We also set financial goals for the year and plan purchases for our house, what and to who we support financially, gifts, etc.
  6. I have a weekly chart that I use to account for pretty much every hour of my day Sunday – Saturday. I do have free areas where nothing is planned in order to account for surprises as well as provide me with down time.

My dream is that I continue to grow in all areas and the best way to do that is to learn from the past and plan the future. I believe just about any dream can be achieved with a good strategy, regardless if it is losing weight, changing jobs, buying a new car, building relationships, etc. My dreams are only as good as the strategies I implement. (you can tweet that)

Have a great new year!!

DREAM BIG

As I continue through this blog series on dreams and desires, I have found myself looking farther into the future and thus expanding my dreams. I think it would be appropriate to say here that dreaming without action is just a thought. For a dream to be a dream, it has to be something that we are willing to work toward.

Now I have gone and done it, I have said the four letter word… “work.”

Pursuing our dreams takes work. I remember the first time I watched my son, Paxton, when he was just two years old, sitting at the bottom of the stairs watching his older sister bound up the stairs. I could tell he wanted to go up those stairs so bad — for his little life, this was a big dream. Every time after this first time, after she went up again, he would climb one stair. This one stair took a lot of work but he kept trying and working. Now, at three, he climbs them with no help and he gets faster every time.

His dream took work and our dreams take work.

So I’ve have talked about why dreaming is important and why we don’t dream, so now I want to talk about how we dream big.

1. The first step to dreaming big is to identify what it is you desire. Start with identifying ONE thing you desire over anything else. This is the beginning of a dream. Maybe you desire a better marriage or a new career. Maybe you desire world peace. Whatever it is, you have to identify something. Don’t say “Well, I don’t have desires, my life is full of have to’s.” If you say that then you are not looking deep within yourself. Pick something and dream how awesome it would be to fulfill that desire.

2. Goal it! I know you have probably heard enough about writing out goals and you are sick of hearing it. Well, the odds are that if you are tired are hearing about it it’s because you have not written any goals out! We live in a visual age and most of the learning and doing we participate in is visual. Why do you think your favorite TV show has 15 minutes worth of show, and 15 minutes worth of advertising? They are hoping that if you see it, you will buy it. Goals are no different. If you write it down, the odds greatly increase that you will achieve it. Pick one goal to accomplish toward your dream and watch it happen.

3. Create a Dream Board. This may be a new concept to many of you. I have created a dream board for myself, and I also have my clients go through “life mapping” which is basically the same thing. A dream board is basically listing a starting point for where you are and listing a finishing point of where you want to be, and mapping out all of the steps and details necessary to make this happen. I have had clients use this to map out everything from their mariage to organizing their house. There are steps between where we think we are and where we dream of being. The steps are where the work lies. And therein lies the problem! If you need help mapping things, I am more than happy to help you — but YOU have to do the work.

4. Help others dream. I have never met one person who selflessly helped someone not be blessed themselves. Things happen for us when we do for others. Help others dream in their life and I promise you will begin to dream more in your own.

Start dreaming!!