In our last post, we talked about the idea of changing your mindset in order to imagine new possibilities. If you didn’t get to read it, take a look. Now, let’s take that a step further. Let’s say you have yourself in a place where you’re operating primarily in a growth mindset. Mindsets are great, but there have been many great thoughts that have languished in the minds of individuals who have never gone to the next step. That next step is a growth plan. You wouldn’t build a house without a set of plans that were meticulously followed. Why try and build your life any other way?
If you want to get someplace significant and see your dreams become reality in 2018, an effective and simple step is to write down and keep up with your growth plan. The importance of writing it down and keeping up with it cannot be overstated. Ideas in your head give you a general direction, but they will not get you to where you imagine you want to be. In fact, over time, being guided by an idea will create frustration and you will begin to despise the very idea that began as an inspiring vision for your life. It’s not the idea’s fault. It’s yours. But, you can fix the problem. You can start by answering these five questions.
- How are things now? This question speaks to the need for assessment. You’re not just closing your eyes and picking at random or spinning a wheel to choose areas of growth. Set aside some time and really think this through. Chances are, you know some key areas in which you need to grow.
- How do I want things to be? This is the question of vision. While it's essential to assess the current state, the next step is declaring what you want the new reality to be. Only you can paint a picture of what you want your future to look like. But pictures don't paint themselves. They require your effort.
- What will things look like this time next year? Vision is a picture of the future and it's essential. But vision is not specific. This is the point where you have to set specific goals. Oh, and make sure they are SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, time-bound). Most of us set silly goals because we don't put them through the SMART filter.
- What do I have to do right now? You can’t do everything you want to do, but you can do anything you want to do. This question speaks to the need to narrow your focus and choose small, concrete steps. If you did a good job answering the questions above, chances are you have a good list of areas in which you want to see growth. Well, the next question narrows that down to specifics. If you want to reach a goal by the end of the year, what step do you need to take by the end of the month?
- Who will help me get there? This is probably the biggest missing piece from most growth plans. If you’re the kind of motivated and growth-minded individual who would actually go through the steps to create a personal growth plan, you probably believe you can execute and complete it on your own. You are wrong. No man (or woman) is an island. You need to invite others into the process with you and give them permission to keep you accountable. People who care about you will help you this way if you just ask.
Remember, the answers to all these questions need to be written down and you’ve got to keep up with it. Keep these answers close to you. See them often. Schedule times to assess your progress. If you have a good plan and you’re intentional about following that plan, you absolutely will see the growth you desire. You can do it!