June 25, 2018

Designing A Plan For Personal Growth

by Ben Woodard

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else!”

Baseball legend and humorist Yogi Berra’s curiously-worded quote may come across as laughable, but the essence of its message rings true: a lack of direction can lead you down paths you never intended to embark (including ones you may eventually regret). If you are committed to pursuing your dreams and passions with intention, consider utilizing a powerful tool to get you on the right track: design a plan.

I can still vividly recall the reasons I chose to design a particular type of plan – a Life Plan. While I was generally happy with many spheres of my life, I felt a sense of “missed opportunity” in cultivating relationships with family, nurturing important friendships, and deepening my professional development.

Devoting the time and energy necessary to crafting a Life Plan allowed me to intentionally define my long-term priorities, identify habits and behaviors in my life that did not align with those priorities, and make bold resolutions to reorient my daily life to purposefully pursue those priorities. Designing a written plan helped bridge the gap between my lofty aspirations and my daily actions.

 

Not ready to design a Life Plan just yet? No worries – let’s start on a smaller scale! When designing a plan of any kind, act on the following:

1

Identify a specific gap that exists between where you want to be (your vision of a preferred future) and where you are now (your current reality)

 

2

Commit to a timeline for bridging that gap (What is your ultimate goal? What’s the latest date you want to accomplish this by?)

 

3

List possible sources of knowledge that will help you in your pursuit (i.e., mentors, books, podcasts, subject matter experts, how-to videos)

 

4

Invite someone else to check in from time to time and hold you accountable for your commitments

 

It’s that simple! But one caution: many of our good intentions never seem to come to fruition. Why? While we may craft motivating and worthwhile goals, we often fail to identify the pitfalls that are most likely to derail even our best efforts.

For some, these pitfalls may come in the form of a lack of measurable milestones that help you track your progress; for others, this may manifest in the form of allowing other life priorities to take precedence over your goal, succumbing to apathy, lack of accountability, etc. In addition to crafting your ambitious goal, take some time to think through specific strategies to help you overcome any potential pitfalls.

 

So, the only questions left are:

 

What is the one gap in your life that you will commit to closing?

What are the practical steps you plan to take in order to gain traction on this endeavor?

What are the specific strategies you resolve to implement to overcome any potential pitfalls?

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