We’ve come along way you and I. In the past we’ve thought about the vision for our life and we even took that vision and broke it down into shorter time frame goals. Now its time to take those longer term goals, establish short term priorities and put in the work.
Even with all of this planning, life is hard. There are always so many things going on with vague deadlines. Every time I take two steps forward I feel like something happens and I end up taking another three steps backwards. I save diligently for 3 months and then my car needs some repairs that wipe all of that out and then some.
As I said we’ve made a lot of progress so far and we will pick up where we left off. Our longest time horizon for today will be that 6-12 month plan you put together before.
Identifying your big rocks
Now think, for each area, what are the few big rocks that need to be moved to get to that 6-12 month goal? I usually think somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-4 steps is about right.
Next we need to take those 2-4 steps and break down each of those into small, actionable steps. My preferences is for 3-6 of these small, bite size pieces.
The idea is you are laying down a short term checklist of items that need to happen, in order, to get where you want to go. This is where the rubber meets the road.
An example on setting priorities – running a half marathon
Lets say you wanted to run a half marathon in 6 months. If you were an experienced runner this may seem as easy as going out and running. However, most of us aren’t so we need to put some planning and strategy into it. Lets also assume 4 months is long enough for the actual training. This is what the big rocks we need to move may look like.
- Establish running routine
- Research running best practices and gear
- Train for half marathon
These even seem slightly vague. Its important to take it from there and make things even more black and white. Here is what the next step may look like.
- Establish running routine – duration 6 weeks
- Research how much running is ok for beginner
- Set plan each week to run 4 times per week
- Gradually build up to 10 miles per week
- Research running bet practices and gear
- Sign up for half marathon at least 4 months out
- Research half marathon training programs
- Choose half marathon training programs
- Research what shoes may be needed
- Train for half marathon
- Review training plan each week
- Run per plan
Things to keep in mind
A few things to keep in mind regarding these lists for each area:
- Certainly not every area of your life needs a list. Plus having 5 or 7 lists of things that need to be accomplished seems like a lot.
- Use these lists as sacred. If you don’t attack these lists then you are already falling behind where you want to be.
- Look at these lists every day. Focus on one thing at a time.
Time to Act
We’ve made plans for the long term, the medium term, the short term and boiled it down to a checklist of items that need to be crossed off in the next 6-12 months.
Its time to put in the work. A lot of people, myself included, love making plans. Plans make the future seem so worked out. Above all they make it seem like it will just happen if we plan everything to death.
I’m a firm believer in plans but realize that about 5-10% of your time needs to be spent planning and the rest of it needs to be on the hardest thing any of us will do.
Put in the work.
Its not easy and you’ll definitely slip and fall but you’ve got to pick yourself up and dust yourself off.
One thing I’d caution you to avoid, lifting your head up.
Its not time to lift your head up. We’ve done that as we thought about our vision and the other time horizons and goals we’ve established. Now is not the time to look off in the distance and think about what could be.
Above all, its time to work.
I’ve found the difference between those that succeed and those that don’t are that the people that do succeed invest their most valuable asset into accomplishing their goals and putting in the work. That asset is time.
Winning in the long term isn’t fun
Certainly, it isn’t sexy to sit at a desk and type or think or do. Its not fun to sit in a cubicle or in an office when the rest of the world seems to be sitting in the sun or by the pool.
I’m not even 30 at this point but it seems like those that put in the work are the ones that win in the long run. Certainly they don’t win in the short term but they definitely win in the long run.
Today is your day. Go out and put in the work.