Part 2, The Action Plan
I have a diary from when I was in eighth grade. In it – among the notes about crushes and guinea pigs – I made lists of how to achieve perfection. These were detailed plans encompassing every area of my young life.
Nearly three decades later, I am still trying for self-improvement, but I no longer am so idealistic. This is for two reasons: 1. After so many years of trying, I get it: it is impossible to do everything perfectly. 2. My definition of “being a better me” has changed in that I now value the process as much as the results. Success for me is now about learning and growing, rather than just achieving. I’ve learned more from my failures than what I’ve managed to figure out on the first try.
So, my goals for the year reflect the desire to learn, grow and develop myself. They are also about creating an environment that is conducive to that experience. After many years, I have also learned that in order to really make changes, I have to work steadily, gradually adding on or I will become overwhelmed or burn out. I like to challenge myself, but making the tasks realistic and focusing on a few at a time makes this work. The past three years I have made significant growth in my life through this way of planning.
Tasks and Timeline
The next step is to break down the actions necessary to achieve each goal over the course of the year. Doing this gives me a series of small tasks to complete in a certain timeframe. It is a plan, and a way to track progress. If I struggle for a couple weeks in one area, I can focus on the others until I get my motivation back. I will have concrete progress to show for my efforts as I check off the tasks.
Here is an example for January of how I mapped out my goals for the year (which I came up with in the previous post):
- Declutter and decide what items can be donated or sold.
- Sell 10 items.
- Have weekly visits with friends.
- Plan ahead for next month’s occasions and make cards and gifts.
- Make homemade facial moisturizer.
- Use sewing machine and recycled material to make laptop cushion and draft dodger.
- Attend free recreational and community event with son: game night at recreation center.
- Attend events at the Farm Show Complex: PA Farm Show.
- Cut additional $10 off weekly grocery bill by shopping at Aldi first and keeping homemade snacks on hand.
- Develop 2 new family friendly recipes per month and continue monthly Meal Plan.
- Lose 1 pound by cutting binge eating and exercising 1-2 times per week.
Then I copied these into a simple chart so I could check off the tasks on a weekly or monthly basis. You can see the first page of the chart by clicking here. (It is 7 pages for the entire year, so I just have uploaded a PDF of the first page)
Where Will I be in a Year?
Ok, I had to laugh at myself a bit (and take some Ibuprofen for my headache) after scheduling out my goals. This year I have the weirdest, most random list of goals ever. I had knocked off some of the more typical goals over the past few years, so these were the next level of things I wanted to work on. But man are they a mixed lot!
Anyways, it seems like a lot of things to do, but it is not unreasonable. I want to challenge myself this year in areas that are harder for me, such as getting out more – socializing and attending events. If I don’t challenge myself this way, I will not get out there and do stuff. I tend to be a homebody and I have social anxiety. Getting out there will be good for me in working on this, and I can take a friend or family member for moral support!
The weight loss is because I binge eat and am at “that age” where I quickly put on 5-10 pounds a year if I don’t maintain. I also have gotten out of the exercise routine and need to be doing something physical to keep up better health. It also sets a good example for my son.
Cutting expenses, selling things and saving up has enabled us to get all the materials for our first renovation project this year, the main floor bathroom. I am aiming to have saved up for and sourced supplies for the kitchen renovation by Fall. I will also get more used to bartering and selling items.
If I am able to get all of these steps accomplished this year, I will be very pleased! Even if I don’t do everything, having a focus and a plan will help me do so much more than getting up every day and thinking about what I should do. I do have health issues, including Systemic Lupus, that leave me unable to do as much as I plan to every day. The point here is to at least have a plan and be optimistic about being able to carry it out.
The third part in this workshop is how to stick with the plan. If you are the type that makes New Year’s resolutions and forgets them by February, you won’t want to miss this.