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30-Day Planning

How to create a foolproof 30-day plan to nail your goals

Have you ever sat down at your desk and wondered what you should be focussing on?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and struggled to work out how to tackle your to-do list?

Or have you ever snoozed the same task, week after week, because you weren’t ‘in the mood’, or weren’t sure exactly what you needed to do?

These are symptoms of an ineffective plan, and they can leave you feeling frustrated, daunted and ready to vacuum the spare bedroom to within an inch of its life.

A lot of my clients struggle with planning and I have also been there myself.

Yet, plans are important because they are our instruction manuals for work and life. Plans give us a framework and a step-by-step process to achieve the specific results we want.

I used to think I was good at planning, but I realised I was kidding myself.

So, having decided to get off that train to nowhere, I created a foolproof 30-day plan so I could start being more productive and focused, and finally finish work on time.

Now I get more things done AND have energy and motivation left over for the rest of my life!

This article shows you how to use a simple 30-day plan to conquer your world – whether that means saving $500, losing 5kg, getting 10 new clients or consistently exercising 4 days per week.

Why a 30-day plan?

Have you ever wondered how to make a plan that actually delivers the results you want?

Plans usually fail because they’re too big or multifaceted. You might be highly capable, but that doesn’t mean that you can do everything at once.

To get off that treadmill of unfulfilled expectations, you need two things – focus and specificity.

A 30-day plan gives you this.

A short time frame like 30 days makes you focus on realistically completing just one or two things. With a simple and focused plan, you will feel a massive sense of relief – and enthusiasm to start.

Now, here’s how to get started on a foolproof 30-day plan.

Getting in the Mood

Speaking of enthusiasm, planning requires creative thinking so you can work out all the nuances and get the timing and actions right.

Stress closes down creative thinking, so I recommend spending about 10 minutes before you plan to become relaxed, calm, positive and open to ideas.

You could create a pre-planning ritual like exercise, a walk, reading a book, listening to an inspiring podcast, listening to music, standing in the garden or meditating.

Experiment to see what works best.

Creating your 30-day plan

The 30-day planning process is actually pretty simple. Here are the steps.

1. Define one simple, specific outcome

Start by choosing ONE simple and specific result or outcome to achieve within 30 days.

If your end goal is too big or too vague, it’s hard to identify the action steps you need to take to get there, and ….oh, the kitchen floor needs sweeping.

Some examples of simple, specific outcomes are:

  • Earn $500 in your business in the next 30 days
  • Lose 3kg in the next 30 days
  • Publish the home page for my website in the next 30 days.

2. Brainstorm the action steps and allocate time

Being specific is especially important if you lack experience or knowledge in the area you’re choosing to focus on.

Let’s say you want to build a basic website, but you’ve never done it before.

This is the kind of goal that could end up getting snoozed for the next 40 weeks in your calendar, because you don’t know what to do or how to start.

  • Handy hint: overwhelm usually means there are too many things or too many unknowns.

The way to get clarity is to brainstorm all the steps involved to reaching the goal.

This means chunking down the outcome into the smallest tasks possible, then allocating an estimate of time required to complete each step.

Here’s a sample brainstorm of specific tasks to build a basic website for an absolute beginner.

Notice the specificity in each task (e.g. number of people) and the time you allow for each task:

  • Ask 3 IT pros which platforms they think are best (friends aren’t necessarily experts; 1 hour)
  • Research the main steps to getting a domain name (30 minutes)
  • Decide on the platform, hosting and domain name and purchase (15 minutes)
  • Follow the tutorial videos for setting up the site (1 hour)
  • Review text on 3 competitors’ website for ideas (30 minutes)
  • Review notes from ideal clients to pull out pain point and vision words (1 hour)
  • Watch a ‘how to write home page copy’ tutorial (30 minutes)
  • Write some text for the home page (1 hour)
  • Reflect on who you are; strengths, personality traits, vision, do some quizzes (1 hour)
  • Write some text for the about me page (1 hour)
  • Write some text to describe your services (1 hour)
  • Follow a tutorial to load the text onto those pages (30 minutes)
  • Research images sizes required (30 minutes)
  • Upload images to the web pages (30 minutes)

If you get stuck with the brainstorming, ask yourself some logical questions like ‘what would I need to start with?’ or ‘who could I ask?’ or even ‘what would be the next logical step?’

As you can see, brainstorming allows you to see how much work is involved in achieving the goal.

Then, you can more easily decide whether to hire someone instead, or DIY.

You can identify any sticking points that indicate you lack knowledge.

You have clear time frames for completing tasks to avoid dithering and create focus.

With a list of specific tasks and estimated times in hand, you can also work out how realistic and achievable your 30-day goal is and can scale it back if necessary.

For example, you might decide that building a basic website in 30 days is totally unrealistic, so you could scale the goal back to simply choosing the platform, hosting and a domain name instead.

Imagine how good you’d feel if the steps were clear and you felt could actually achieve the end goal?

The truth is, you want to feel excited, motivated to start, and to enjoy the feeling of achievement just as much as you want the outcome.

This brainstorming exercise is how you get all of it.

3. Work out how to measure progress

With a list of tasks in place, you’re ready to make sure they’re all in a logical order.

Then, you can come up with some milestone outcomes and dates so you can check that you’re on track as you go.

For the website example, it might be:

  • Hosting and domain completed by 6th August
  • Competitor research and tutorials completed by 12th August
  • Text written by 21st August
  • Pages uploaded with images by 30th

Checking progress allows you to deal with any obstacles or sticking points so that you can problem solve, change course or get help.

After all, you’re not getting married to the original plan.

To succeed, you need to be agile enough to make changes to your outcome and next stages if it makes sense.

If a milestone event is missed, you can either flop onto the couch in a huff, or you can ask a question such as ‘what can I do to get past this?’

Then you can work out a more realistic end date, get help or change the rest of your plan so that you still win in the end, anyway.

4. Check your excitement levels

Detail can be an energy robber and if you’re learning something from scratch, there are often more micro steps and mistakes ahead than you first realise which can be a bit daunting.

Know that this is ahead and decide how you will handle those feelings. A thought-model is a good start.

But if the overall goal seems awful or unexciting, or is something that fills you with dread, you will probably give in.

I’d suggest altering the goal or choosing something different.

5. Schedule it in

With all that said and done, it’s time to make it happen.

You schedule your action steps into your diary, with only one task per day and plenty of time either side.

For tasks that require creativity, such as writing, make sure you schedule them when you will have the most head space and energy to do them.

For unknowns allow extra time – up to 100% more.

Leave white space in your diary to accommodate overruns in time.

Thatʼs the whole process of preparing, drafting and scheduling your 30-day plan.

Give it a go, see what you learn!

It gets easier with practice and you will start kicking more goals and get more actually achieved, than you ever thought possible.

What if you had a plan for the next 5 years?

Pop your details in below for immediate access to the full 5 year plan workbook training which includes the 30 day plan process

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The Power of a Vision

One easy way to create positivity in your life is to develop a vision of what you’d like your life, business or health to be like.

When you write a vision, it plugs the outcome you truly desire into your brain’s GPS, so it can automatically start filtering in all the tools and resources you need to achieve it.

This article shows you exactly how to create a powerful, motivating vision that will help you to the become the person you want to be and the powerful results you want to achieve.

You’ll learn:

  • why visions are crucial to achieving goals
  • a step-by-step process to create a motivating vision that will help you get results
  • the difference between business and personal visions and how to get each one right.

To help you take action, I’ve included a free vision worksheet that you can use to flesh out your vision and get it right.

What is a Vision

You’ve probably heard of visions, vision boarding and creating a vision.

Yet so many people still don’t realise the power of a vision and how essential it is for you to get what you want in life.

Visions are linked with positivity and achieving goals.

But why else are they important?

Here are three reasons.

  1. They help you clearly define what you want to achieve

As a coach, most of my clients come to see me because they lack direction and clarity.

They aren’t clear on what they truly want, why or how they’re going to get it.

And when you aren’t sure where you’re going, it’s hard to see the path to get there. You might be fearful of what’s ahead if you step into the future without a clear plan of attack.

I love the analogy of holiday.

If you pick a destination, then you can start making plans, work out when you need to do each step, and whether to pack a bikini or a fur coat.

As you can see, a vision allows you to see and create the steps to get there.

  1. A well-written vision gets you excited and motivated to achieve the end goal.

Most people think that motivation is their #1 problem and that it’s the reason they can’t change. Never mind about having to learn skills or make plans!

You already know that visions can create clarity.

But they are also powerful motivators – IF you get the language right.

People often create visions around things they think they ‘should’ be aiming for, for what is expected of them – or talk about things they don’t want to do anymore.

For example – I want to stop being so stressed and anxious.

On the surface that sounds like a legitimate thing to want, BUT the problem is that it doesn’t define what you desire – so your brain can’t latch onto any happy, positive and motivating end point.

Inspiring vision statements are motivating, and you create them by using words that you find appealing, exciting and which talk about what you truly desire.

For example – I want to feel happy, calm and contented, at peace with everything.

See the different feeling this creates, compared with the first example?

  1. Visions are so important at the biological level.

There is a part of your brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) and it is your brain’s GPS.

You plug the destination into your brain, and then your subconscious mind works out how to get you there, by finding signals and opportunities to do so.

Here’s an example – think of the last time you were looking at new cars.

You had your eye on one particular model of car.

Then suddenly, you started seeing them everywhere. That’s your RAS in action!

The RAS also controls our belief system and it will only recognise or select the information that supports our beliefs.

Once you plug something into your GPS our brain will selectively filter the information around you and only identify and keep what’s relevant.

In other words your belief system will determine whether your RAS will work for you or against you.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow said it best in 1966 with his Law of the Hammer – “if all you have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.”

At this point I want to mention a great book that describes this in more detail – it’s called the Answer by Australian authors Allan and Barbara Pease, published in 2016.

Just to recap what we’ve covered so far:

  • Visions help you clearly define what you want to achieve
  • Visions help you create the motivation and excitement you need to reach your goals.
  • For visions to work, they must use positive language to describe what you truly want.

Do these three things and you’ll harness the power of your vision.

Three Steps to Create Your Powerful Vision

  1. Specify exactly what you want – this is end goal or result.

Even if you haven’t ever achieved this before, you need to paint a picture in your mind of what it looks, feels and sounds like.

This plugs lots of important cues into your RAS so your brain can filter in the steps to help you get there.

  1. Back up your what with a why – the deepest and most meaningful reasons behind the result you want.

Two common mistakes are not identifying the why, or, not going deep enough with the why.

The more meaningful your whys are and the more strongly its connected with your personal values, the more likely you will achieve your vision.

A useful exercise can be the 5 why’s which aims to peel off the layers and get to the root cause.

For example – one of my weight coaching clients says she wants to lose 10kg.

Her first why is because she hates what she sees in the mirror. Notice the language? She needs to dig deeper to find the positive, desired outcomes and values.

To find her second why, I asked, ‘what’s a positive reason to lose 10kg?’ So I can wear all the beautiful clothes in my wardrobe.

To find her third why, I asked, ‘what would happen if you could wear all those clothes?’      I would feel more confident about going out in public and socialising.

To find her fourth why, I asked, ‘and then what might happen?’ I could to make some friends because I want to have more fun in life.’

To find her fifth why I asked, ‘imagine you are having that fun with friends regularly each week, socialising, laughing and getting out more. Why is that so important?’  

Then we get to the heart of the matter – ‘because I want to be more active like I used to be because back then, I felt so alive, confident, powerful and courageous.’

See how compelling that last reason is?

The thought of losing weight to get away from the horrible image in the mirror is way less motivating that wanting to feel so alive, confident, powerful and courageous.

  1. Step 3 – put a timeframe on it so you can define a foolproof action plan to get there.

Normally, 6 – 12 months is a good amount of time to achieve an outcome; it’s close enough to stay motivated, but far enough that you can make enough change to get there.

You might want to reality check your time line with a friend or coach and make sure it’s realistic and achievable.

Three Steps to Create Your Powerful Vision

 There are lots of different types of visions let’s compare a personal vision and a business vision.

How to Write a Personal Vision Statement

You need to start by picking just one or two priority areas to focus on.

If you pile everything into your vision it will seem overwhelming, unbelievable and therefore unachievable.

A wellbeing questionnaire or a wheel of life are useful tools to help you find your priority area. Keep it simple and clear.

Then, you define your what like I described above – exactly, specifically, what does your desired success look and feel like in that area?

You write down the what, starting with ‘I am’.

For example; if your priority area was physical fitness, your ‘what’ might be “In six months’ time, I am fit, strong and running regularly.”

Notice the positive language used.

Next, you define your why – what would achieving that bring to your life?

You could follow the 5 why process I mentioned to get down to the nitty gritty of your core values and most meaningful motivators.

You write that down after the what, starting with ‘so that I …..’

Using the last example, “I am fit, strong and running regularly…”

…So that I can create more energy each day, be more positive and feel more confident and capable about myself as a person”

A well-written vision statement, when read aloud, has two traits:

  • It makes you feel motivated, inspired, hopeful, even excited and energized.  
  • It is realistic – you totally believe it is possible with the right education and/or support.

Make sure you tick those two boxes, otherwise, go back and explore your what and why to

Creating a Business Vision

A business vision is a vivid mental image of what your business looks like when it is profitable, successful and thriving – and why it exists in the first place.

It describes what success looks like, and the why often includes the ethos or core values behind it.  And it’s often much shorter than a personal vision statement, because it might be something you put out in public.

You might decide to have an internal business vision that only you see, and a more public one, to help attract clients to your ‘why’.

When you choose a time frame for a business vision, think about where you are right now in your business and what feels best for you.

Some people prefer a shorter time frame like 12 months as it seems more achievable, others prefer a longer time frame like 3 years because they are more inspired by the end result.

There’s no right or wrong, choose what feels most exciting and inspiring to you.

In terms of defining your what; business visions generally focus on a few key areas – income, fame, to be the best at something, a particular type of clients you want to help, one main problem you want to help solve.

Also, there may also be guilt associated with the money side of things.

Let’s first clearly state that every business exists to generate income. Otherwise it’s a charity, or a hobby. You need to be 100% clear on this.

Imagine you just walked into the door of your office and looked around. What is the result your business is creating?

Here’s an example – My business helps people to break free from social anxiety.

Here’s another – My business helps people to create a strong, healthy and powerful body.

Or another – My business helps self-conscious women to find their inner beauty.

The why in your business is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and allows you to persist with the business no matter what.

You need to have compelling, meaningful, authentic and non-negotiable reasons to start and run a business.

To find your business why, ask yourself:

What is my compelling reason to start this business no matter what?

Think about the soapbox you like to stand on. Think about the causes you stand for. Think about why it’s so important to help a certain type of person.

Maybe you’ve been there yourself and you feel compelled to help other people achieve what you have so they can have a better-quality life.

Here are some examples, using the what statements I just read out.

My business helps people to break free from social anxiety so that they can find the courage to develop strong connections with the people around them and as a result, have more fulfilling careers.

My business helps people to create a strong, healthy and powerful body so that they can be fit and healthy as they age and be authentic role models to their kids.

My business helps self-conscious women to find their inner beauty so that they can feel better in their own skin, happier, more confident in the world and finally achieve their dreams.

There is SO MUCH energy in those statements.

In Summary

Let’s recap what we covered in this article.

  1. Visions are important for two reasons:
  • To get clear on what you want
  • To get the momentum, excitement and motivation to pursue the goal
  • It’s important to use positive language to define your deepest desire.

Your brain – the reticular activating system – is like a GPS for your body. Whatever you plug in there creates the filtering and instructions for what to do next.

  1. There are three steps to creating a vision statement:
  • Focus on one area
  • Define your what, written as ‘I am’, then
  • Define your why, and write it as “so that I …”

Remember to ask yourself why at least 5 times, in a few different ways, to get to your most powerful values and motivators.

Finally, when you read your vision out, you can check you’ve done it correctly:

  • Check that it energizes, excites and motivates you
  • Check that it feels realistic, totally possible and believable.  
  1. Write your business or personal vision with a slightly different approach
  • Focus on one area (personal) or on the overarching purpose (business)
  • Get in touch with your why (personal) or your soapbox (business)
  • Write out the what and why
  • Check that it feels right – exciting and absolutely do-able.

Then you’re ready to plan the path to your next success in life.

Check out this free vision worksheet to help you get started!

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How to Get Whelmed – an Update

How to Get Whelmed | Melanie J White

In my last post, I talked about being whelmed this year.

That is, overwhelmed, not underwhelmed – just whelmed.

It’s a bit like the story of the three bears and their porridge. Remember in that story, it was all about temperature control and to be patient instead of rushing into hot food.

There’s nothing worse than a hot porridge blister.

But as usual, I digress. Back to being whelmed.

I wanted to share a progress update with you.

One of the secrets to being whelmed is to maintain focus and avoid distraction. That’s because overwhelm partly comes from losing focus and allowing yourself to be distracted.

Next comes procrastination, irritation and then stagnation. Probably some other ‘ations’, too.

The other part of losing focus is over committing because you think you can do it all, have it all and be it all. Or because you think you ‘should.’ Sorry, I tried those lines of thinking (repeatedly, like a good scientist) but they didn’t actually work.

What DOES work is a practice of creating focus, which keeps you FAR from distraction.

Here’s how you get whelmed (the step-by-step process).

1. Write down all your shoulds, especially the guilt-laden ones.

Write them like this: “I should vacuum the stairs.” “I should get this page written by 5pm” etc

 

2. Change the s in should, to a c for could. Now, instead of a bunch of futile rules, you have created the opportunity to be more discerning within your time and energy.

Like this: “Hmmm, I COULD do the vacuuming….but then I won’t get that page written.” I bet you can see where this is going. You are trimming your to-do list and making it more realistic.

 

3. Split your list of coulds into this week and next week based on urgency. Now you are spreading the load and diminishing the pressure.

At this point you might feel a little scared….like you aren’t doing enough. That’s ok, sit with the feeling for a few moments and let it pass.

 

4. Make sure you have no more than 10 hours worth of tasks for this week.

I know, right? Way too underachiever. Wrong! Stick with me on this.

 

5. Spread those 10 hours into discrete slots in your calendar and 1 hour units.

Yes, even split up a 4-hour task this way. Put 15 minute breaks between each contiguous hour of work.

 

6. Consider the worst case scenario.

Every task you allocated takes 3 or 4 times longer than planned. In this case, you meet your tasks for the week in 30-40 hours.

 

7. Consider the best case scenario

You meet your goals and get it all done extremely efficiently. In this case, you have STILL met target but with time to spare. Yay!

 

This is where whelm sits.

Notice that in either case (6. or 7.) you get the same amount of work done. You win either way.

And THAT is the secret to achieving whelm – it’s about planning and reflecting so you can set yourself up for success, no matter what.

Try this step-by-step process and let me know how you go!