My Year in Action Plans

Resolutions used to be the wave. Now they are struggling to clean after the mess left behind by the pointing fingers that romanticize goal setting and leave it at that. Yes, resolutions should have alerted us to put in the work by creating action steps and plans to achieve them and not just talk things into existence. Yet here we are.

This was my state of mind on New Year’s Eve 2017 when I was so stocked to write down my goals and intentions for 2018. Of course, I wasn’t going to call those resolutions. No chance. I was also in my feelings recovering from the shitshow that was December and it felt like a fresh start was all I needed. Was it? Let’s find out!

Action Plans for 2018

I wrote an Accountability Post on Tumblr on a whim, with Create as my theme word. My theme phrase was easy — Be Firm with my NO. I wrote down 16 actionable items and bounced.

Unfortunately, you don’t get much from a bunch of SMART sentences plastered with what felt like a lazy theme word much later on. So I went on looking for other advanced methods that asked for deep reflections for the previous year before creating an action plan. That’s how I came across the much talked about Lana Shlafer’s Manifestation Workbook.

It requires you to highlight 4 areas of interest (I added one more) that you want to seriously work on. I chose Creativity, Health, Wealth, Relations and Personal Enrichment. I created my own workspace/board with the tools at hand on Trello which so happens to be my favorite productivity tool by a country mile. I also integrated the Tumblr goals with this carefully curated list and bounced.

Not for long. I was in there. Fully immersed, tracking progress and checking off lists every month.

I happened upon a vision board that I made so many years ago of visions I still maintain to date but I had to break them down into actionable items to get things done with intention.

I was on a roll.

I started writing again. This was one of those goals I vowed to do no matter what. So getting my own website was such a big deal. I wrote my way into finding similar writing platforms here and there which I’m grateful for. Writing has been reaffirming to me. A few years ago I buried writing — which was my form of therapy — together with grieving remains and called it a day. To rekindle that warm fuzziness and then some, was a major plus in my life.

I made new strong relations, reconnected with old ones and made beautiful memories with my family including the elusive first family vacation.

I found an accountability partner for my creative endeavors and we are working our boots off in that front. I would highly recommend this anyone who just needs that external push.

I consumed a lot of informative content online. It’s amazing the wealth of knowledge you can acquire when you’re in active pursuit. I read a lot of articles and books, watched so many documentaries and tutorials and listened to so many podcasts. I still wrote about some.

Witnessing all my son’s milestones and being intentional with how I raise him every step of the way. If you are a parent or want to be in future, go on and read The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary and Parenting with Presence by Susan Stiffelman. My parenting manuals without a doubt.

Developed a saving culture for myself and child. I mean it’s not the 52-week savings challenge but it’s quite something especially after relocating to a town that forced me into frugality.

I may have beaten procrastination with the 5-second rule. Never has a book had as much of an impact as this one written by Mel Robbins and in such a short time.

If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5 second window. And it exists for everyone. When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5–4–3–2–1-GO and move towards action.

I added a few creative skills to my profile and this was down to the Learn The Ropes System I created to help me focus on the process and not the result. I completed 5 online courses while at it.

Then life happened. I lost control. I got back on my feet. I lost control again. This happened several times. My writing progress took a hit. But I’ve been here before. I knew not to beat myself about it. I allowed for nature to take its course.

My body bounce-back was a scam. But people are even dying mid-workout so.

I was tested mentally and emotionally so many times and postpartum anxiety was all I could chalk it up to. I know it was more than that.

If I’m forced with gun to head to rate my accomplishments, I’d give it a 7. Huge considering the mess that was 2017. I don’t take that for granted and I know I can do much better with effort. In truth, I don’t control the outcome. My attitude mindset and actions are the only parts I have control over. Thinking I can control an outcome while placing limitations on myself sets me up for failure.

To get different results, you’re going to have to do things differently which is I have tweaked a few things on my strategy. Sometimes you don’t have the right goals or you have the goals of other people. Those failed resolutions you carry on with every year, DUMP THEM and make goals you’ve never made before. For tasks that I want to give a second chance to, I’m working on a digital vision/action board on Milanote.

Those self-care practices that are slowly losing ground, I’m on to them! The only form of self-care I heavily invested in was self-reflection and attempting to get out of my comfort zones. While I discovered so many unique qualities and dared to fix the not so good ones, I deserve the occasional soak in the tub, the pampering, the random spa plan, and the weekend retreats without pay attention to the mom guilt that comes as a package.

After finishing The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington, I immediately applied his system into every project I do. Instead of waiting for 12 months to assess your goals and progress, every 12 weeks is a new year and a fresh opportunity to be great. This will feature heavily in my tracking tools for years to come, with focus on 2–3 areas for 12 weeks after which I’m at liberty to exchange them for 2–3 new goals. I’ve already seen the rewards that come with focusing on a few key areas, the energy, and urgency to act.

What new skills do you want to add to your profile next year?

— Lila (@Writel) December 24, 2018

Here’s a look into my Action Plans on Trello. You can copy the framework if you so wish. Enjoy the process, checking off lists should be secondary really. Choose to be unapologetic about your improvement and growth. Happy New Year!

Originally published at lilawrite.com on December 31, 2018.

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Lilian Mironga

Lilian Mironga

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