There is a lot going on this time of year. As we complete another calendar year and gear up for a new one, we have opportunities to evaluate what we've accomplished and to dream about what is next.
Some of us will find that there are things on our dream list that didn't come to fruition. That seems to be pretty normal for most humans. But did you ever stop to wonder WHY some things get done and others don't?
Over the last few weeks, I've been sharing about some of the reasons that we delay wanted or needed actions or decisions. So far, I've shared about waiting for permission, waiting for perfection, waiting for protection, and waiting for panic. This final post of the series is dedicated to those of us who are waiting for THE PLAN. We are waiting to have things all figured out before we start off in the direction of our dreams!
You may be waiting for the plan if you find yourself postponing decisions while you seek information, or think about seeking information. Perhaps you have the notion that if you figure out the right plan ahead of time, then you will be more likely to succeed. Waiting for the plan can be counterproductive, however, if you stay in this phase for a prolonged time and the same things keep showing up on your dream list month after month — or year after year.
While it is absolutely important to make informed decisions, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach for any endeavor. For most of us, life is more like a series of experiments than a recipe. There is plenty of wisdom and resources to help guide us, but sooner or later we have to jump in and figure out what works best for us. Some things will go as we hope or plan, and other things won't. At every step of the journey, we have the opportunity to learn and make adjustments to our course. That is how self-care mastery evolves.
If you find yourself stuck in waiting for the plan mode, here are a six steps to help move yourself out of this pattern:
- Get clear. Make a list of the specific actions or decisions that you are delaying. Write them out in sentences starting with a verb: "Start an exercise program. Decide about my 401(k) plan. Take a vacation in Hawaii."
- Commit or recommit to the items on your list. Ask yourself: Is this important to me? (yes or no) Make sure that you're answering based on what you want and not what you think you should want. Create a separate list of "tabled" items that aren't a "yes" for you now.
- Prioritize your "yes" list. Give each item a rank, or rate the importance of each item on a 1-10 scale. What do you notice?
- Make a timetable for each item. By when do you want to accomplish the item? Give yourself a deadline.
- Choose where you want to focus. I recommend narrowing the focus to no more than three items on your list. Use the priorities and timetables that you've established to help you hone in. Decide a next step for each focus item and give it a deadline.
- Schedule Follow-up. For the lower priority items on your list, decide when you will revisit them, or if there is an additional action you want to take before you table them. Enter your follow-up plans into whatever reminder system you use so that they don't fall off your radar!
As you consider your plans for the upcoming year, I invite you to challenge yourself to take on items where you've been feeling stuck. For the items that are still priorities, choose how you will move forward. For those that aren't on the front burner, consciously choose to "table them"! You can always revisit them later on.
What about you? Have you ever felt stuck while waiting for the plan? How did you move yourself forward? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!