If we don’t know where we’re going how do we know when we get there?
Or worse… having no goals means we’re just living day-to-day with no direction at all, leaving everything up to chance.
If you’re like all other men, your life is not perfect, and there are things you’d like to change. You need a plan. While creating a plan may be overwhelming, at first thought, you’ll see that creating a plan can be simple and fun for the whole family.
The first step is self-evaluation, get away by yourself for a while. It’s time to reflect on this past year, what things have happened… the good, the bad, the ugly! Take it all in, write notes if you need to. Thinking about what you have accomplished, or didn’t accomplish, it’s now time to think about some things you’d like to happen this coming year.
Change of career? Would you like a promotion? Do you want to take on a new hobby?
Stay away from generalizations, like lose weight and get in shape. Focus instead on specifics like lose 25 pounds by May 1st, and then develop a plan to get there: I will walk every evening after dinner. I will no longer eat from the bread basket and will instead ask the waitress to not bring the bread in the first place. I will create a healthy menu plan, etc.
Instead of wanting to just get in shape, define what “in shape means.” I will run a mile in six minutes by December 1st, and then decide how you will accomplish that. Create a running schedule or find one online, and throw in other ideas as well. I will play basketball at the gym once a week. I will play catch with my son three times a week. I will jog with my wife every morning before work…you get the idea.
Now have your partner do the same, do this initial planning separately.
Once you have each created areas you’d like to improve and have created actionable steps to get there, it’s time to come to together and read each other’s ideas and plans. Don’t discuss them yet, just hand over your plan and spend time reading them.
Time to talk! What things have encouraged and inspired you and don’t laugh! Now is not the time to think something your partner wants to do is silly! Be supportive. Talk through everything, ask questions, make sure you each know what the other wants. If you see ways each of you can be more specific, help the other out. The key to making progress is in the specifics.
Once you’ve thoroughly discussed each other’s plan, pull out the calendar and mark off all the important dates and events for the year. Like December 1st–I will run a mile in six minutes. It’s also time to mark off birthdays and anniversaries. Remember to think about potential vacations and time off work as well. Some things will not yet be decided; that’s okay. But if you know you will take a vacation in October, it’s good to have that documented so you can be sure to plan it before the time arrives.
If you have children, now is a great time to invite them into the planning. While you’re creating your plan, think of ways to include them.
Are you planning a vacation? If you have a few choices, you can have your children help you decide. Will you be trying something new this year, like cooking as a family or planning monthly outings? If so, this is an amazing opportunity to include your children and nourish your relationship with them.
If you’re feeling adventurous, help your kids create their plan… keep it simple! Pick a few new experiences they may want to try this year; like karate, or spending the day at the beach if they’ve never been. If they’re not yet ready to create their plan, help them see your hard work and how you’re becoming more focused and you will inspire your kids to do the same!
While creating a plan for the new year is important, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. This is a great opportunity to get even closer with your spouse, learning more about who they are, who they want to be, and the things that make them tick.
While resolutions don’t stick, having a solid plan with actionable steps will help you succeed in making the new year your best year yet!
Photo: Flickr/ Simon Webster