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8 Ways to Make an Achievable Year Plan for 2015

8 Ways to Make an Achievable Year Plan for 2015
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2015 is upon us, which means it’s time to get your New Year plan in order. The beginning of each year is an exciting time where everything feels full of possibility, but as the year goes on, this excitement often fades and the drive to achieve all your goals can fall by the wayside as well. To make sure your 2015 sees you achieve your big goals, you need to make your plan realistic and achievable.

Here are eight simple ways to make an achievable year plan for 2015. Ready to get started? Read on.

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1. Know Why

Being committed to a plan is great but you need to get your foundations right first. Knowing why you’re working towards what you’re working towards is essential. It will guide you in the goal-setting process and keep you going when it all feels too hard (and at times it will!). So before you do anything, make sure you understand your ‘why’ first.

2. Write Down Your Goals

If you want to make an achievable year plan, writing down your goals is essential. Writing them down makes them real rather than thoughts in your head. Make sure every goal is a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-related.

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3. Create Action Steps

For every goal, create actionable steps to get there. Your action steps are all about breaking each goal down into small, action-oriented mini steps. Think of these steps like the ‘how’ of achieving your goal.

4. Form Good Habits

Creating an achievable year plan is all about forming good habits. Set some solid habits at the start of the year and make a plan to stick to it. A habit might be writing a daily to-do list, reviewing your goals weekly, or daily exercise. Consider what habits will help you reach your goals and schedule them in!

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5. Never Miss Twice

In the midst of your amazing year plan life happens, and sometimes it gets in the way. You’re bound to have days during the year when you just can’t follow through on your goals. By employing the mindset of ‘never miss twice’ you’ll ensure that even when you do have an off day, you are back on track the very next day working toward your goals.

6. Know Your Highest Leverage Tasks

Understanding your highest leverage tasks is all about knowing what is going to have the biggest impact in helping you reach your goals and make your dreams for 2015 come true. Knowing your high impact tasks means you can spend more time on the most important things and less time on things that don’t matter as much. There’s a limited amount of time in each day, so spending it wisely by using it to work towards what will get you results is essential.

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7. Harness the Power of the Group

Sometimes it can feel tough going it alone. If you’re working alone, tap into the power of the group to make your 2015 year plan feel achievable. The internet is great for tapping into the power of the group – think online discussion groups, challenges. and competitions. All of these are full of the support, community, and outside push you need to achieve your goals.

8. Take Time For You

Among all your big plans for the new year is you! Take time out for yourself throughout the year to ensure you are feeling your very best physically, emotionally and spiritually. Taking this time for yourself will ensure you’re in the very best position to achieve the big goals when you need to.

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Featured photo credit: Goal Setting by Angie Torres via flic.kr

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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