Many people look at the new year as a time for new beginnings; a chance to start fresh with new goals, plans and dreams. How your year will end up is largely based on how it starts. You can reinvent yourself, your life, and your business if you are truly committed to the process.
2013 was a year of major growth for me both personally and in business, and my growth is largely a result of the new lessons I have taken the time to learn. Some of the key principles my mentors have taught me over the last year are summarized below, and I know that if you too start implementing these 4 simple steps, 2014 will be your greatest year yet!
Step 1: Close your open cycles
Most of us don’t realize how many open cycles of actions we have at any given moment in time. We also don’t recognize the powerful effects each of these open cycles has, not only on our mental state but, on our ability to produce. An open cycle of action is any task that you have started and have not yet completed. The starting point, you may be shocked to read, is that very moment you thought of the action! As an example, one afternoon I causally ponder the idea of painting an accent wall in my bedroom, this is now an open cycle of action. Until I have completely gone through the process of evaluating my options, making a decision, and executing on that decision (even if it is to keep the walls as is) this is something that will be occupying a portion of my attention and therefor preventing other actions to be focused on 100%
Before you can move forward you need to take some time to identify what your open cycles are. Are there phone calls you haven’t made? Lunch dates you have promised and not yet schedule? Open files on your desk that you haven’t reviewed? And the list could go on and on. You need to write these open cycles down, and then allocated an UNITERRUPTED portion of each day to closing them. You will see that as you start to close your cycles, your mind becomes clearer, you feel physically lighter, and your creative juices start to flow!
Step 2: Identify your ideal scene
Now that you have closed your cycles and freed your mind to be its best, it is time to identify your ideal scene. Before you can create a plan you must first identify what your true ideal scene is. What will your life look like once you have achieved all of your goals? Where will you be living? Are you married? Do you have children? What kind of a car will you be driving? You need to write it out, and you need to be as detailed as possible. This exercise is what will bring forward your purpose, and this will be your guide to evaluate whether you are on track or have gone astray.
Only when you have your ideal scene identified will you truly be able to plan. This may take some time, and at first it may seem silly or somewhat difficult, but once you get started you will quick
ly see the power visualizing your ideal future truly has. It is important to note that as you progress you may find yourself making changes to this ideal scene…this is perfectly normal and just a part of personal growth.
Step 3: Plan
Now that you have identified your ideal scene, and the areas you need to work on, your purpose should be clear and it is time to PLAN! We’ve all hear that a goal without a plan is nothing more than a dream, so you need to make sure you invest the time to plan. However, before you can start to plan effectively, you must understand the difference between Strategic Plans, Tactical Plans, Operational Plans, and To-Do Lists!
Strategic Plan: A long term (years) series of steps, that come together to implement your Ideal Scene
Tactical Plan: A medium term (months) series of steps, that when all have been completed will complete ONE step of the Strategic Plan
Operational Plan: A short term (weeks) series of steps, that when all have been completed will complete ONE step of the Tactical Plan
To-Do List: A series of short term (hours) steps, that when implemented will forward a specific Strategic Step
The key to success with planning is to ensure that your plans are clearly written out, are reviewed daily, and adjusted as needed. Once you have mastered these techniques planning will be a walk in the park.
Step 4: Implement/ Take action
Now that you have closed your cycles, identified your Ideal Scene, and written out your plan it is time to implement. Don’t wait! By taking fast action, you will start seeing results immediately (and you will avoid creating new open cycles of action). The only way to ensure your success is to take immediate action. Don’t wait for the perfect conditions because perfection is nothing more than a myth! The key is to do and adjust as needed. They say that the distance between your dreams and reality is called action; therefore the more actions you take the closer you get to turning your dreams into your reality.