Well done! You have arrived at the part that turns all you BIG thinking into action, the last part of design your life on purpose series.
Let’s get into ACTION!
Remember back when you did assess and you identified your BIGS. Well, now is the time to record those against a 12 month calendar, or if your time frame is shorter, the shorter time frame.
You want to make sure that the elements that you identified as BIG, birthdays, anniversaries, conferences etc. Those events that are important to ‘mark’ , not only as important things in your life, but when planning your goals, you want to make sure you ensure these have the space the need.
Break down your goals
Take the 3 goals you identified early in the process. We now want to take those and break them down further into quarter focus areas.
What is the focus for each quarter for you to achieve your goal? Remember to phrase it in a toward state, the outcome you are after for that quarter.
Plot them on a quarter plan.
The do section will see all the BIG thinking come to fruition, so you will see lots of plotting. (You Bond villain you - plotting away!)
In order for you to achieve some juicy goals you might need to build strategies that will help you. These strategies can be used to overcome an issue you have had previously in achieving your goal, or as a preparation activity. Early thinking on these strategies will assist you in achieving your goals. The strategies naturally fit into 2 categories;
I think of these as the things you need to have in place that are going to assist you in achieving your goals. They can be as simple as purchasing a new book and pencils, so you can start drawing, to setting up MailChimp so you can send out newsletters. Some of these might emerge when you break your quarter goals down further. I find thinking about the set up now, helps guarantee they are not missed.
An example of a strategy in set up, is a personal rule. I have a 2 personal rules that help give me the time to work on my goals and dreams and preserve my energy to be able to tackle those goals and dreams.
My two personal rules are;
No more than 2 nights out during the week (on school nights), and one is my Music Lesson. Which leaves only one night out during the week.
Only 1 weekend away or with guests at home per month.
Do I always adhere to the rules?
Not always. I have learnt over time to not break them often, as they affect my energy and progress on dreams. (I am also an extravert - according to Myers Briggs- so that is saying something) If I can plan around those personal rules, which would happen around 80% of the time, then I do.
Do I tell people about the rules?
Sometimes. These techniques are to help me, so I don’t need to share. I probably share the mid week one most often, to explain why I can’t meet someone for a few weeks.
What personal rules, would assist you in achieving your goals?
The second category of strategies are looking at what might have hindered you last time and what you need to put in place to avoid those traps this time around.
Some examples on the top of my head would be, keeping a food diary to make sure you are eating more healthily, or exercising with someone. Or one I just thought of to help me get my newsletter out, is to theme each month, maybe even with music.
To show how this works on practice is, knowing I need to turn up to my music lesson each week, ensures I practice most nights. If it was just me learning by myself, I would not practice and wouldn’t move very far. There is far too much other stuff that can take up time. This gets proved every year over the Christmas break, when I have about 6 weeks to get really good and end up practicing rarely.
What areas do you need help with?
How to set up an effective experiment?
I mentioned this in assess. The purpose of mentioned it is here, is that in the do stage is the perfect place to experiment with some new habits and ways of working. Putting in place a couple of things will give you a better chance of a successful experiment.
Remembering first up, that you are trying things for the first time, so it’s ok to change it as you learn more, or learn it’s not working. You don’t have to stick with it.... like ... Forever.... you can change it, when it is no longer serving you.
Tips to setting up an experiment:
Be clear on what you are testing - create the test
Know what success looks like - how will you measure success?
How long will you test it for?
Evaluate - what went well and what you could do differently
Plot Monthly/Weekly - Add in elements from Strategies
Plot all the details now per month. Mapping out your BIGS as well as the details you have broken down in your goals. Don’t forget to add in the elements from your strategies.
I usually start by mapping out the 3 nearest months and then do the 3 nearest weeks. That way I see that Is happening now and next on both a month and a week level.
I put in the BIGS first. Then the goals and then strategies.
Finally - the to do list
Ok, so this is where the rubber hits the road and we get down to brass tacks, creating an actionable list for the next week.
Using the concept of the personal rule. I use my commute to my daily gig to advance my side hustle. I try and do 1 thing each day that will help me get towards my goal, that could be even writing this blog, as a for instance.
Tips for a great to do that gets ta done!
Write it using a verb ‘write do blog post’
Know what done looks like ‘brainstorm 15 possible business partners’
Make it tick-able, cross out-able. You get a dopamine hit when you tick it off or cross it out.
There are a tonne of options for to do lists. Over time you will work out what works for you and I encourage you to try them out. However, not at the expense of action. If you need to write a traditional list to get going, do just that.
Personally, I love a mind map. I create categories, it’s all on one page, it’s highly visual and really works for my brain.
I also found Trello helpful, as well as bullet journal, they might be just what you need.
Why all this plotting?
A goal you have, might take months or the whole year to achieve. So by breaking it down, to quarter, monthly, weekly focuii means you are more likely to get there
So now you have a workable plan for the next year, or whatever period you have chosen. What happens next, esp when life happens?
When to use the whole process?
Every 6 and 12 months go through the whole process.
Every quarter, check themes and how you are tracking.
Monthly, see how you are tracking and make adjustments as needed.
Best of luck Designing your Life, on Purpose. I would be keen to gear what works and what doesn’t.
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Christina Morgan-Meldrum (CMM) is an author, speaker, curator, change professional and podcaster. She particularly loves helping people start and scale side hustles, especially creatives and musicians by unearthing what’s possible to design a life that suits you perfectly.
She has cultivated the ability to walk into any industry; see what is not seen, distil what is complicated, and simplify the chaos. This skill has been forged in a deliberate and concentrated way for over 20 years, through Personal Coaching and working in Organisational Change Management (before it was even a thing). She is currently working at TAFE on the SMS program as well as exploring many, many side hustles of her own.
Christina fills her time, coaching people on their side hustles, blogging, podcasting - Quirky & Chenille (Christina is Quirky), learning the piano, while working on Change Management gigs. If you are looking for her, she is likely at her spiritual home JB Hi-Fi or exploring stationery stores or artisan markets.