With a clear idea of our goals and what success looks like from Part II of this series, it is time to implement.
Step 4: Capacity realignment
Time to to compare how, in practice, we actually spend our time vs what we just stated were our priorities.
I was shocked to discover how much of my time was going to things NOT on the list and how little to some others I deemed so important. Worse, I was spending too much valuable time with toxic people – no wonder I was stressed out and burned out!
Assess. Realign. Focus.
I freed some capacity to realign. I hold stronger boundaries, learned to say ‘no’ without guilt, protected my schedule fiercely to spend on my goals and have time to just ‘be’. I learned to gently detach myself from people and experiences not aligned with my goals.
Finally, I cut expenses that were not critical to free time towards things that were. A simple example – cut cable to have money for monthly massages. Win!
Step 5: Goal implementation
You have your priorities and gaps and capacity to work on them. As you recall (Step 3), I had several areas within my 6 buckets that needed extra focus:
- Eat fruits and vegetables at least 4 times a week
- Regular practice of mindfulness and meditation
- Mindfulness and presence with kids
- EOY expenses under $75k
- Car replacement fund
- Convertible rental
During the rest of 2017 and through 2018 I want to focus on improving the areas above, but not necessarily all at once or I would be too overwhelmed. I ranked the items by priority and focus on what I can realistically achieve.
Here is the plan:
2017 Q4 goals:
- Mindfulness and presence with kids – find at least 15 minutes daily with each child to give full undivided attention, away from distraction.
- Convertible car rental – just do it (weekend)!
- Focus on hitting EOY expense goal under $75k – be watchful of your expenses.
In order to continue to balance all the ‘usual life habits and priorities’ that I am managing successfully from my list, I am going to stop the focus here. Two of these are a matter of ‘just doing it’ while the first one is a matter of creating a habit so I will ensure I have enough time and energy to pursue that change.
The other goals – meditation and eating better, will remain an aim, but not a focus until I feel I am ready to tackle that part and still balance the rest. Likely 2018 depending on my priorities then.
Step 5: Tracking progress and continuous improvement
Assess progress, adapt accordingly.
I review goals once a month for progress. However, the most surprising benefit I found is, when I find myself having negative feelings like anxiety, greed, jealousy, anger, etc., reviewing these goals help me re-balance right back.
More often that not these feelings are because of something we are lacking inside and so instead of wasting time thinking about ‘others’ and what they are or are not doing, reading these goals center me on things in my control that lift me up.
I can’t even begin to describe the difference this has made in my level of fulfillment and contentment. I hope they do the same for you.
ETA: At the end of the year, all goals for 2017 accomplished except the fun car rental which will move to 2018. Time to draft a 2018 plan!
Now tell me – what is your life plan?! What version of you do you want to be when you grow up?