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If You Cannot Explain Your Life Plans for More than 25 Seconds, You Have No Plans At All

If You Cannot Explain Your Life Plans for More than 25 Seconds, You Have No Plans At All

A recent study reported that most people can’t get through a mere 25 seconds of close reflection about their life plans. They may start off with some idea of what they want to achieve, but when questioned about the real aspects of how they will do it, like how they will pay for it, they lose focus and get confused, often falling into complete silence. It’s not that people lack ambition. It’s that their ideas are still in their infancy and most never get past that stage to having mature and solid goals or strategies.

The issue is that life plans can become so complicated and overwhelming that most people just end up settling. Instead of having clearly thought out and planned goals with strategies and tools to achieve them, they let the concrete reality slip through their grasp and surrender to an ambiguous notion of an unpredictable life. While we can’t control everything that happens in life and don’t know for sure what tomorrow will bring; while living mindfully in the moment and focusing on the present is valuable, that doesn’t mean we should abandon our goals and neglect the quest for tangible methods to assertively and actively succeed in achieving our desires.

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One method to making concrete goals and establishing solid strategies is to use the “5 whys” method. This basically refers to a technique for solving problems by simply asking why. The answer is the basis for the next question.

Here are six steps to establishing realistic goals and firm strategies to accomplishing them.

Goals

1.What makes you happy?

Make a list and be honest. What are the activities that make you happiest. Don’t limit your answers by thinking whether or not you are good at it, or if you have any qualifications or experience. Think broadly. It could be that you love cooking or sewing; playing an instrument, reading. Think about the things that motivate you. Although most people may say laying in the sun doing nothing is what makes them happy, soon you’ll be bored. Think about something you would be happy to do every single day of your life. Be realistic.

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2.What are your strengths?

What are you good at. Maybe ask others. You may not enjoy cleaning your house or car very much, but you might be really good at it and feel satisfied after the task is done. Someone may have complimented you on your ability to grow plants or care for pets. Try to think of examples of when you were accomplished at something and the pride you felt, knowing you could do it again. Often it is hard to admit what we are genuinely good at for fear of appearing conceited. It takes courage to give ourselves credit for a job well done.

3.What do you need to do this every day?

Once you have established your desires and attributes, think about the things you may need to allow you to do this every day and perhaps even to make a living from it. Do you need qualifications? Testimonials? More experience? Materials and a work space? Time? Narrow it down. Don’t be too complicated and think too far ahead. Just start at where you are now and where you want to be tomorrow. Do this every day and step by step you get closer to establishing a concrete goal.

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Strategies

1.How much time do you have?

Time is very important. If you have a full time job, are a parent or carer and have lots of responsibilities, you need to consider where this new goal will fit in and where you want it to take you. Time is very deceptive. It is easy to think we have no time, but when you prioritize your life, you can easily find it. If you dedicate only a few minutes a day to the one thing that makes you happy, slowly that time grows and eventually it takes precedence over other things that are no longer as important as you thought they were.

2.How much space do you need?

Sometimes having a work space dedicated to what you want to do is a good motivator. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is a physical way to start to see a goal manifest. If you want to make clothes, establish a sewing corner. Buy fabrics and a machine. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. Get things second hand, look for free stuff. Make it known what you want and soon people start giving you things, everyone has junk that to you is gold. Set up a permanent space. Maybe put up an ideas or inspiration board to be able to visualize the activity. Make associations. Anything that corresponds to your goals and life plans can be included in this physical space to build your reality.

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3.What materials are essential?

Life goals are only manifested when we start to see physical outcomes. Do you need a qualification – a framed certificate? Do you need tools and books or guides? Is a substantial investment required and do you need to start putting funds away, take out a personal loan or build the investment a little at a time? Can you get help or crowd funding? Can you partner up with someone or a group of people? Can you barter or swap, give and receive in return to start to make this goal a legitimate exchange? Soon you will have a burgeoning business.

Helpful Guide

Having a goal without good strategies cannot help you achieve what you want. However, with Lifehack Goal Setting System, in which every small progress counts, you can efficiently attain the best result of your desire. For every goal you add, you will receive practical and useful articles that guide you through the process and achieve remarkable outcomes.

To start with, you can try these health goals:

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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