Saturday, November 17, 2012

Eat your sandwich one bite at a time

The whole "create a strategic life plan so life will sing more than stink" idea isn't really a new one. In fact, tips and tools to guide you in creating a lifeplan are available all around you. With so much available information free for the taking, you'd think people would be actively charting a course for intentional happiness left and right.

But no matter how much you think about planning (it's been lurking in the back of my mind even when I'm not giving it full frontal attention) or read about planning, the whole process seems harder than it's supposed to be. Maybe even harder than it's worth?

It's so much easier to read than to do

As adults, we seldom ponder the "what do I want to be when I grow up?" types of questions. I'm not necessarily talking about actual choice of career or dramatic life changes. I'm talking about the spirit of the question that's part plan, part dream. Too often our plans don't include enough dream and our dreams don't include enough plan.

Discernment can be overwhelming if you're out of practice

It's not easy to look beyond the superficial, especially when it comes to dipping below the surface in your own life. My own draft plan turned out to be somehow simultaneously narrowly focused and vague. It contains too many individual tactics for me to decide here to start. If I jump right in and try to do everything, I think I'll burn out and give up quickly.

Planning is no good without implementation

If the entire plan is overwhelming, why not break it down into smaller parts? Think of it like eating a big sandwich one bite at a time. Start with one or two actions. Work steadily at those actions. And once you break the plan into more manageable pieces, think of ways you can more easily embed actions to support the plan in your life. Set yourself up for success.

Create a positive habit

If you've only thought of habits in purely negative terms, think again. You can embed the positive just as surely as the negative.  Make your conscious goals into habits - that's how you set yourself up for success. At least, that's the approach I've decided to test-drive.

The domino theory

In my own case, I've decided to start with steps toward improved health and energy. The small bite I'll take isn't even  listed on my plan. It's plain old water. I plan to start by drinking more water. I'll aim  for eight glasses, 64 ounces of water each day. A simple thing, but a starting point.

We all have to start somewhere.

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