As the New Year approaches and summer grants us a little more free time from school and work, we all want to get things done. Summer projects, that holiday you’ve wanted, extra training and even New Year’s resolutions are on your mind. However, according to Dr. Anthony Grant of the University of Sydney 88% of people’s goals for the New Year will inevitably fail because of poor planning skills. Why is it that our desires for positive change fall through undone? Sometimes our aspirations are simply too vague and we don’t back it up with concrete strategy. We wish “to be happier this year” yet fail to determine when and how. Perhaps we lack foresight and flexibility in our schedules leaving us playing catch up or overwhelmed. Or maybe it’s a lack in discipline that causes us to give up at the first sign of trouble, if we started at all. How can you beat those odds and get things done? How can you give 2016 the best possible start? It all comes down to a good plan.
1) Make it a Habit
No one got their black belt overnight and it’s the same for large undertakings where you must start small in order to achieve the great. Translate this abstract goal into smaller and simpler subtasks and start from there, taking on larger goals as you progress. Be very specific about them and determine the frequency, where, when and what it is that needs to be done to accomplish this task. If you practise this small task everyday as you scheduled it, not only are you taking steps to achieve the wider goal, but you are also training your discipline to stick through it. For example, if your goal is to “lose weight this year” make it a habit to walk for 5 minutes every day after work or school, then step up this load gradually. Before you know it, you are running 5km a day!
2) Tools to Get Things Done
Eric Baker from the personal development blog “Barking Up the Wrong Tree”, stresses the importance of exporting your plans and ideas out of your head because it allows your mind to focus better. Smartphones are one of the best places to keep track of your time and schedule with apps that have our plans immediately on hand. Google Calendar is a fantastic and simple calendar app that you can download onto your phone as well as access on your laptop that allows you to plan and colour code your schedule. If you want to plan out your finances during the break, try Pocketbook, an app that has features such as budgeting, transaction recording and spending and saving goals.
Having your schedule recorded is not the end of planning. Ensure that you have reminders set up like notifications or alarms so that you do not forget what you have to do. Having each goal, task and subtask planned out in a schedule with reminders is a great way to get things done because you no longer need to keep track of what you have to do in your head, freeing it up to actually focus on each task.
3) Plan it Out
plan it outEveryone desires to achieve their goals but most fall into the trap of imagining the end result without thinking about how to get there. With enough preparation, even the seemingly impossible can be broken down and achieved. It all comes down to a good plan because as the saying goes, “those that fail to plan, plan to fail.” Do not be one of those that fail to plan; be someone that gets things done.
Happy New Year to you and your family and have a wonderful 2016 ☺
– Mr. Vincent