How to Build a 6-Month Roadmap
The most effective way to achieve your goals
French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
This quote might be overrated, but it’s no less true. Building a roadmap is the single most effective way to achieve your goals. It’s all at once structuring and encouraging.
For years, I worked without a real roadmap. I had some goals in mind, but it turns out they were evolving over time. Some appeared, some disappeared, some became more or less important, but I never really changed my focus. I just kept working on what seemed important to me. It was not that bad, but I was missing a kind of overall view about where I wanted to go and which goals I wanted to reach through all this work.
This is why I decided to build a roadmap. It has led to a deep change of perspective in my work. Now, I know where I want to go, and exactly what I need to do, day after day, to get closer to my goals.
A roadmap is divided into three parts:
- All your goals, specifically detailed, so you know what you want and when you want to achieve it
- What you have to do, day after day, week after week, and month after month, to get closer to these goals, so you know what you have to do and when you have to do it
- A tracking chart, or some bullet points for each week, so you can track your progress and gain insight into what works and what doesn’t work.
Determine your goals
First of all, you need to know what your goals are. It’s a two-steps process.
The first step requires diving into some introspection, so you get to know yourself, stop lying to yourself, and find out what really sparks your interest. This is not something you can do in 10 minutes or even one day. This process takes time, because things need time to appear, unfold, and get in order in your mind. However, you can still start building your roadmap now, as you can adapt it along the way.
To help you with this first step, let me recommend two articles I wrote previously:
- Feeling Lost? Ask Yourself One Simple Question — A trick to figuring life out
- Don’t Live One More Day Without Having Written Your Bucket List — It might very well change your life
Begin the climb
Okay, now you know what you want. The goal now is to take one step after another.
Let me warn you, though. You want something that you’ve never had. So you’ll need to do things you’ve never done. You’ll have to work hard. But it’s all worth it.
Good news, you’ve already done the toughest part, as the first step is always the hardest — you did it already when finding out what your goals were and deciding you wanted to reach them.
Now, let’s build your plan through 4 steps:
- Open a blank page on your word processing software, or on Google Doc, so you can have access to it from anywhere. I recommend you do it on your computer, and not on paper, as you’ll probably want to add information along time, plus record your progress.
- Write a title, such as “6-month plan” to keep it simple, and date six months apart, as you would have guessed. For instance, my most recent plan goes from January 30th to July 30th, 2020.
- Write the goals that you want to achieve in six months. Make sure to provide clear, reachable and numerical targets for each goal, so you have a specific reference to measure your progress. It can be making 500$ as a freelance writer, finding 3 new long-term clients, or reading 15 books. The only requirement is to link these goals with a number. Don’t set it too high, as it would be daunting, but don’t set it too low either.
- Then, write down, for each goal, how you’re going to achieve it. For example, you want to find 3 new long-term clients in the next six months, so you’ll have to send 10 emails a week. You want to read 15 books, so you’ll set a goal of reading 3 chapters a day. This “how-to” will help you organize your work-day, as you’ll know precisely what you’ll have to do while being able to focus all your energy on specific things.
Now, when you’ll sit in front of your laptop in the morning after coffee, or in the evening after your workday, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to do. Try to work with consistency, even if it’s only one hour a day, as it’s the best way to make progress. I am convinced that you’ll soon start seeing the first results — and there’s nothing more encouraging than that!
Keep track of your progress
Speaking of incentives, you need to keep track of your progress. It will be a very encouraging way to keep on with the hard work, as you’ll see black on white that you’re getting closer to what you want.
Keeping track is also a way to see what works and what doesn’t work in your strategy, so you can adapt along the way and maximize progress.
There are two main ways to do this. The first one is building a chart with numbers in it, that you can fill, for instance, every Monday morning, about the past week. The second one is to use weekly bullet points, almost as a journal.
Whatever the form, make sure to record numbers as well as a personal opinion on your work and your path.
Feel free to make this plan evolve over time. It’s your roadmap.
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