New years is always exciting times, from the fun celebrations and getting together with loved ones to feeling grateful and looking forward to future achievements. It’s exciting because it’s new, it gives us the feeling of a fresh start… giving us the chance to finally get down to check off the goals we didn’t accomplish in 2016. Or accomplish something new and different.
All of this is great stuff, and the mental state alone of getting a “fresh start” can definitely work with us as opposed to against us… but then we ruin it all by talking about our New Year Resolutions, that let’s face it… doesn’t last past the second week of January. Now if this approach works for you, that’s great! Keep on doing what you’re doing, but if it doesn’t… here’s a new approach you can try that’s been working like magic for me for the past year:
A Master Plan is a ‘a comprehensive or far-reaching plan of action.’
Yes, you read that right “far-reaching”, meaning it’s not bound by 365 days. I started writing a master plan for myself after being inspired by Elon Musk’s Master Plan for Tesla and SpaceX. This is important because our resolution usually fails not because it’s not good enough, but because we expect too much from ourself, and on top of that we expect to get it in a short period of time. Whether it’s loosing weight or starting that new business you always wanted to start… we don’t put a plan behind it and then make it worse by giving ourself a harsh deadline too. Let me ask you a question, which one would you rather have:
- Lose/Gain 10 lbs in 60 days. Or…
- Lose/Gain 0.5 lbs every week until we’re at our goal weight.
Now without getting into the details and doing the math of which is better, option 2 is what a master plan is all about. In fact, in a master plan, you would even remove the “every week” part from it and now it’s a better plan. You might be shocked and ask… “how is loosing 0.5 lbs going to help?”, and again the answer is “far-reaching”. You’re trying to determine what you want to achieve in the long haul and figure out what you need to do everyday to get you one step closer. Now that we get the idea of what a master plan is, let’s look at how we can write one, and yes you need to type or write it on a one page sheet and print it. It needs to feel real and tangible.
1. Make it Personal
Start by titling your document with your name and “Master Plan” like “Adam’s Master Plan”. This might seem unnecessary or silly, but the second you put your name there, you feel more entitled to it, it feels more real. Make sure to also put today’s date so you have an idea of when you set out to achieve the listed goals.
2. Choose what you will value
The first paragraph should be a summary of what you value most in your life. I like starting the intro by writing something I accomplished in the past that I’m proud of… this is a reminder to be grateful for where you are today. Follow that by stating what you want to accomplish, in other words “what you most value”, in the order of importance. Is it Health? Your Passion? Hobbies? Business? You want it to be specific but put it in one word. Bolden these words and dedicate a paragraph to explain.
3. The Details
This is the main part of your master plan. Spend some time to rule out the details of what it is you will be doing. This is really important, you don’t want to use things like “I wish…” or “I hope…” in here, things need to be solid. Clarify in a few sentences for each paragraph, one paragraph for every bolded value, and write down what you will do to achieve them.
4. Summarizing your Master Plan
For the last paragraph, put a conclusion on what you will be achieving, and again… try to stay away from setting harsh deadlines by saying “start my business in 2 months”. Here, you want to also summarize each paragraph in one short sentence in bullet points. This should help you get down to the core of what you will do and achieve.
5. Choose a day of the week to review it
This is the most important part of the master plan. You don’t want to write this document, print it and then throw it in the corner of the room only to find it 6 months later and wonder what it is. You wrote it, so you will take action on it. So set aside a day of the week to go over your master plan, in a quiet place, preferably by yourself. This is your time to strategize and decide what small actions you need to take to meet the big objectives in your master plan.
So who do you share it with?
This is also a good point, who do you share this important master plan that will outline what you will be achieving with. Friends? Family? Mentors? Although there’s not one answer, I personally share my plan with business partners and close friends, because they help remind me of what I need to do. Don’t share it with anyone who you think would make negative comments about your master plan. This is a plan that only suits you… what you have on there is most important to you.
Does it work?
It does. There are multiple reasons why this works. One is that it’s written and tangible, which is much more powerful than having it be a thought in our head. Another reason is that we identify exactly what it is that we want (a decision which is pretty hard to make on a day to day basis). But most importantly, we think about it subconsciously and take actions towards it… before you know it, you’ll look at it and realize that you’re accomplishing things you said you would.
Let me know how it works out for you.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year! 🙏🎉