We’ve talked about how making your life plan is a process involving specific steps. Now let’s talk about the first two in detail: drawing a roadmap and writing an action plan.
Drawing a Roadmap
To develop a roadmap using your knowledge base, bear in mind that this is about the point of origin and the specific destination. While you will build tremendously on this roadmap, the map itself is not to change. You are starting at Point A and will finish at Point Z. All other points are to be determined, but these two will not be moved.
This can be more complicated than it sounds. Your research will help you define just where your point of origin is. Perhaps you are currently less or more educated in this field than you thought. Perhaps you don’t have resources you thought you did, or you have more.
And as for that destination, your research should help you define that as well. You perhaps no longer think of the position you want as “owner.” Perhaps now it’s “franchise owner.”
Why draw a roadmap? It achieves three vital things:
- To move forward, you must be able to visualize yourself moving forward. A map helps you in visualizing just what that means.
- The roadmap guides your reticular activation system. (Remember that?) It reminds you constantly of what you need to watch for, what information is important, and what can be set aside, at least for now.
- It protects against distractions and feeling discouraged. If you get a great idea in the middle of all this that’s not related to your goal, great, write it down, but don’t let it make you stray from your map. The same goes with potholes, setbacks, and breakdowns.
Writing an Action Plan
To create an action plan that anticipates challenges and poses solutions, you must determine those new good habits we were talking about before, the ones that will make up your new routines.
Planning to address those challenges with your new habits means you have two major elements in your action plan: (1) a general list of those habits and how they will fit into your life and (2) a schedule for when you’ll be doing those habits. (The schedule can go away when you get used to your new routines.)
Let’s suppose that your life plan involves passing a test, such as a driver’s test for being a limousine chauffer. The action plan might be:
Fri: Study manual. Take two practice tests.
Sat: Take rented limousine to driving track and practice smooth starting and stopping.
Sun: Take scheduled lesson with pro; practice reversing and parking.
Mon: Take two practice tests. Study manual as needed.
Tues: Practice visualizations of perfect limo service. Take friends for a test run.
Wed: Take three practice tests. Study manual as needed. Drive three hours.
Thurs: Take test.
When creating this action plan, remember that you’re not a robot and that you have other responsibilities than just this new life plan. Do what you must to see just what sort of time your plan will take in daily life and what percentage of time you actually have to dedicate to that plan. Think about your budget, your energy, and the simple realities of life.
You want a plan that will get you to your goal but also one you can manage to avoid becoming discouraged. Find a balance that keeps you sane and ensures that your schedule makes sufficient progress toward your goal.