Have you ever been faced with a difficult situation and realized you need to make a plan?
I feel you. But you find it super hard to stick to it or even come up with a solid plan in the first place.
Do you constantly make plans but find yourself never sticking to them?
In this post, I will be discussing how you can create a plan and stick to it no matter what!
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How to make a plan and stick to it
1. Know the end goal
What is it that you really want?
Your goal can be personal, emotional, work-related, anything!
You can create different types of goals in different areas of your life. But right now, let’s focus on just 1 goal.
Figure out what you want first.
This will make it easier to draft a plan.
However, if you are setting up an end goal, make sure that it’s extremely realistic.
2. Break your goal into into mini goals
Now that you have a goal in mind, you have to break it into mini-goals.
That way, it becomes more attainable, and you will be able to keep little targets till you can reach your goal.
For instance, if you’ve always loved drawing and your dream is to write and illustrate a children’s book, and you’ve never illustrated anything before, you can divide that big goal into little goals:
- Practise drawing every day
- Develop an illustration style ideal for children’s books
- Develop a story line
- Learn what goes into printing, bleed, books, publishing, etc.
- Work on the book
- Find a Printing Press and Publisher
Obviously, the more you research and learn, you may be able to add more mini-goals into your list, but the idea is not to bite off more than you can chew and attain your mini-goals.
It also gives you a good sense of direction because you know you’re making good progress with each mini-goal you hit.
3. Set a schedule
When creating a schedule of the tasks you need to do, be extremely practical about the time it takes to do each task.
For instance, if your goal is to play the piano, you can’t just practice 5 minutes a day and become a pro in 1 month.
You’ll have to put in more time to get to the stage you want.
Understand your highs and lows.
Know when you feel most energized in the day and set aside a fixed amount of time to work on your project or goal every single day.
You can also take the weekends off if you have other commitments.
But focus on building a habit.
4. Be extremely consistent
Consistency is what will help you achieve your goal.
It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how good you are at picking up skills. If you are not consistent, you will not reach your goal.
It’s about showing up every single day and doing what you’ve committed to doing.
When I started my blog, I remember there were many days when I thought I’d never get the results I wanted or I’d never make money online.
There were days when I just felt like quitting and giving up. I’d see job offers and feel tempted to apply to them.
But I’d wake up the next morning more determined than ever. I was also extremely blessed to have a mum that believed in me to infinity and back. She was my accountability partner, my biggest motivator, and my best friend.
Being consistent is not easy.
Especially if you can’t see the finish line.
But if you know what you want and are determined to get there, there will be no stopping you.
Just stick with the plan and show up every day.
5. Reward yourself for each milestone you hit
Every time you achieve a mini-goal, reward yourself.
Think of it as a bonus that you’re getting for your hard work.
Go out on a date with your friends.
Visit your family and have a lovely dinner with them.
Buy your dog a big bone that she can enjoy.
Buy yourself something.
Treat yourself to that course you’ve always wanted to take or that mini-vacation you’ve been dreaming of going on for 2 years now.
Take breaks whenever it’s getting too much to handle.
These rewards and bonuses will help recharge you and motivate you to work on your goal or plan.
6. Analyse and modify each month/quarter
You cannot just blindly work toward your goal without stopping to see if something needs tuning.
For instance, when I first was started my online business, my goal was to make $1K a month with my blog.
I obviously broke that goal into little goals, but what made me grow faster was analyzing my progress each month.
This was a huge game-changer for me.
I’d make a detailed progress report of what was working and what wasn’t, and I could see quite clearly what I needed to do the next month to do better.
So, I’d modify certain strategies, tweak certain goals and then proceed stronger and more confident.
Understand that your plan will evolve and be modified as you keep growing and keep learning new things.
This is normal.
Your plan has to evolve, and you need to adapt to your new plan every time it changes.
7. Prepare for setbacks
Whenever you decide to do something, you will not have a clear road that is obstacle-free.
Prepare yourself for the bumps.
Sometimes, the plan may not work out, or you may have a tiny setback.
This is okay.
This is normal.
It happens to everyone.
Don’t let it blind you from the bigger picture.
Keep your goal firmly in your vision, and keep moving toward it!
It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fine-tune your goal. Your plan has to adapt to you, and not the other way around.
Remember that motivation isn’t going to come to you every day.
If you are waiting for motivation, don’t.
Motivation doesn’t happen to us Creators every single day.
To actually achieve your goal, you need to be disciplined.
That’s all it takes – discipline.
Commit to your goal and stick with it.
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Sticking to the plan: A few hacks that have worked for me!
1. Create a calendar
Suppose there is a particular activity I need to do every single day, like playing the piano or learning french; I use a mini-calendar to help me keep my streak.
I mark a giant cross on the day when I finish the activity.
This makes me feel super accomplished, and even if I feel too lazy to practice, I look at my calendar and don’t want to break that streak.
This helps me stay consistent with my hobbies!
2. Start small
A habit takes about 60+ days to become an official habit. So, in the beginning, you want to focus on building the habit to avoid losing interest and quitting altogether.
That’s why whenever you start a new habit, start small.
Focus on the new habit for just 5-10 minutes a day tops.
This way, you won’t burn out, and even if you’re not in the mood the next day, you can always tell yourself it’s just 5-10 minutes, and you’ll likely show up and do it!
This is how I built my practice of walking 15K steps a day.
I started with 6K and moved to 10K and then slowly increased the daily limit until I reached 15K.
This is also how I started building a journaling habit. I’d journal for just 5 minutes a day, and until I’d finished a month of continuous journalling, did I allow myself to write for more than 10-15 minutes.
If you start working on your goal by putting in 4-8 hours of work a day, you’re going to burn out quickly.
You’ll end up neglecting your health and your personal life, and within a week, you’re going to find it difficult to work with the same passion as before.
Take it from someone who’s done it all and been burn out before.
Never bite off more than you can chew.
Always start small and grow the habit slowly till it becomes permanent in your daily routine.
3. Use a list and prioritize
When you wake up in the morning, make a list of all the tasks you need to finish by the end of the day.
I use my Notes app daily, and I love checking off each task when I’ve finished it.
Be very specific with your goals.
If your plan is to become fit, don’t just plan to “exercise.”
Get as detailed as possible.
Make your plan more thorough, like, “I will walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day at 4:30 pm.”
When you’re this specific, your plan becomes more doable.
And there is a higher chance that you will stick to it because you’ve made it super clear!
You want to finish all your high-priority tasks at the beginning of the day.
This way, you won’t miss anything important, and you’ll also feel extra motivated and relaxed when you’ve done everything you’ve needed to do!
4. Know yourself
The key to attaining whatever you want is self-introspection.
Take time to understand who you really are and why this goal means so much to you.
Really dig deep and discover what you’ll gain by achieving this goal.
Just knowing the why is more than enough to motivate you to pursue your goal and stick with the plan.
Figure out your weaknesses when it comes to following through with something and plan ahead.
For instance, I cannot work after 5:00 pm in the evening. This is a weakness of mine.
So I wake up at 4:30 am every day and finish everything I need to do by 5:00 pm.
This includes my work, taking my pups out for walks, and my hobbies.
I become a lifeless zombie after the sun sets, and I reserve those late hours for dinner, reading, and winding down by talking to friends and family.
5. Fall in love with the process
Your goal might take you some time to reach, depending on what kind of goal you set.
If you’re solely focused on the end result, you’re not going to enjoy the everyday process of working toward it.
Life is too short to focus on the end result alone.
Fall in love with the process.
Fall in love with making mistakes and learning something new every day.
It will help you identify what’s really important, and you’ll find yourself so much happier than most other people because you’re focusing on the present moment rather than the outcome.
6. Look at your progress
When I was building a habit of drawing every day, sometimes, I’d lose interest or feel like there was no point.
At times like these, I’d look at my progress. I’d see my drawing from months ago and compare it to the one I did recently.
I’d see the progress, and it would instantly pick me up and motivate me to draw again.
I always tell my peeps that if you have to compare, compare your work to your own months ago.
This is the only time you should actually compare!
It will boost your motivation and help you do what needs to be done.
I hope you got a fair idea of how creating plans and sticking to them works.
Being disciplined enough to fall through with your plan is definitely hard work. But the results are totally worth it.
What are your biggest obstacles when creating a plan or sticking to it?
Let me know in the comments below!