[Editor's note: this is a re-post from November 2010. Part of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived.]
At the beginning of every year, I sit down with my Dreamblazing program and set my goals - then I review them each quarter.
But they also say that "life happens every 6 months" - and here we are at the middle of the year. It's a great time to make sure you're still on track, and if you aren't here's a reader's digest version of my planning process - including a sneak peek into how Dreamblazing makes it easy.
To help you lay the foundation, I've also included the worksheets from the first day of the Dreamblazing program so that YOU can take stock and do a little review of your own - and set the stage for your future success. Oh, and Hall & Oates help me out with a special "guest spot" - sing along if you know the words!
Whether you use my Dreamblazing process you some other method of planning, make the commitment to complete the entire process - especially if it feels uncomfortable. I see a lot of entrepreneurs (creatives in particular) that start planning, and when things get tough or they feel stuck, they quit. It's fine to take a break and come back to it later, just make sure you actually do come back to it later. Dreamblazing is elxible enough to complete in a single
It's hard to know where you're going if you don't know where you are. It's hard to know your trajectory, if you don't know where you've been. A lot can happen in a year. I lost count of all the awesome surprises that happened to me each year, so I started keeping track, and using the "Evaluate and Celebrate" section of Dreamblazing to remind me of just how awesome my life and work can be. That's particularly helpful when I'm in the middle of a funk, or things aren't going as well as I want them to in the moment.
Evaluation also allows me to see where I missed the mark and need to tighten my focus - or re-calibrate if a goal is no longer applicable.
In my book, The Secret Watch, I lay out the 5 Key Areas (Faith, Family, Fitness, Fortune, and Freedom) - but the way you define them is entirely up to you - which, again, gives you the flexibility you need to develop D.U.M.B. goals. Hone in on what will give you the most cause for celebration at the end of the next 12 months in each of these areas, then you can begin to set milestones along the way to help you know if you're on track to hit them.
If you're following the Dreamblazing program, you'll pick 6 goals to drive for the year, but you've also got to prioritize them. It's better to do that NOW before there's a conflict, because "life happens when you're busy making other plans" as John Lennon famously said. If you don't prioritize your goals, then when an opportunity arises that pits one goal against another, you'll be forced to choose. In the heat of the moment, sometimes we choose what's urgent, rather than what's really important. Prioritizing your goals gives you a filter to run all your decisions through.
And if you change your priorities later, that's fine too.
It takes a little time to develop a solid strategic plan, but it's worth the effort. Whether you use a tool like Dreamblazing or develop your own method of annual planning, it's important to make the plan. Eisenhower once said that "plans are useless", but "planning is everything" - and I think he's right. While many of my plans go awry not long after making them, the fact that I took the time to actually sit down, clear my head, and focus on what really matters to me keeps me moving in the right direction. It also keeps me agile so that when life throws me a curve ball (and it happens more times than I'd care to count), I'm able to respond thoughfully, instead of react in a knee-jerk way.
Plans may go awry, but planning keeps your head in the game when life throws you a curve. (Tweet this)
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