Expert Series: 7 StepsTo Create Your Best Year
By Alissa Finerman
The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.
You’re inspired, motivated, and ready to make a change in your life. You even have some New Year’s resolutions to prove it. Then the dust settles and you realize the term commitment involves the word commit. This requires that you take action. For many of us, there seems to be a disconnect between saying we are going to do something and actually doing it. Well this year it’s going to be different because you have an action plan. You have maps and systems for many things in your life such as your morning routine, getting to work, and making dinner. Similarly, you will need a roadmap to achieve your goals and enjoy personal victories.
While you may prefer to think about all the goals you want to achieve, this article is about moving into action.
Where should you start? A great place to start is exactly where you are.
My Living in Your Top 1% Action Plan will support you on your journey and be a great resource to use as a refresher during the year. This work sheet will be incliuded in, and bring together the key ideas from my upcoming book, Living In Your Top 1% (available February 2011). It’s most helpful to refer back to this worksheet every three months, or more frequently if needed. You will find that the areas in your life shift with time and need to be continuously evaluated. It is important to be mindful of these shifts and incorporate new insights into your plan. Just like the best companies adjust their strategies over time to keep pace with new developments in their markets, you will need to do the same to keep up with the changes in your life.
Instead of saying that you are going to do something, I encourage you to do it now. The action plan is most effective to execute when you are committed to make these practices a way of life. If you put in the time and follow through with these steps you will see results.
Here are three must-do guidelines for best results with your action plan:
1. Carve out at least thirty minutes of quiet time to focus on you.
2. Choose goals that are important to you and ones you honestly want to achieve. If the goal you set is not important to you, obstacles will push you off course.
3. Write everything down. When you put your words on paper, you will feel empowered and start to visualize where you are going.
ACTION STEPS to get rolling!
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
1. ASSESS THE CORE AREAS IN YOUR LIFE: When I work with clients I encourage them to break down their “life” into six areas: Career, Relationships, Healthy Living, Finances, Fun & Creativity, and Personal Growth. I ask them to rate each area on a scale of 1 to 10 for where they are today (10 represents that you are completely satisfied with the area). If you rated an area of 6, write down what the gap from a 6 to a 10 represents. Remember, you always have the option to rename an area in your blueprint or to add a new area.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS: Identify your top three strengths using the VIA Survey of Character strengths assessment. Strengths are your building blocks for success and confidence. Think about how you can use your strengths as you pursue your goals and work to overcome challenges.
3. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS: Identify and write down the most important goals in each area. There is no limit to how many goals you can have, so write down everything that comes into your mind. Think about the things that would have the greatest impact in your life and add the most value. What would you love to accomplish in the next six to twelve months? Would you love to change careers, get in the best shape of your life, or learn to play the piano? The only thing you need to do is to make sure it’s important to you.
4. FOCUS ON TIER ONE GOALS: Identify your tier one goals from the list of goals you just wrote down. You may have many goals but this action plan helps you focus on your tier one goals first. The key is to focus on goals that are important to you and will have the greatest impact on your life. Some of these may be goals that address a basic survival need such as finding a job and others may be pure pleasure such as planning a much needed vacation. Remember to consider how each goal you pursue will impact your ability to maintain balance in your life.
5. IDENTIFY CHALLENGES/SOLUTIONS: List the challenges for each of your tier one goals, and match each of these with as many possible solutions as you can design. Once you know what your challenges are, you can focus on solutions to overcome them.
6. TAKE SMALL STEPS: For each tier one goal selected, brainstorm and write down the essential small steps to help you get started on your journey. When you complete the first few steps on your list, write down the next group that needs to get done. Continue with this process and you will start to build confidence as you make progress.
7. SET A TARGET DATE: Include specific target dates to complete each goal. You’re always better off when you have a specific date to achieve. If you do not hit your target date, do not get discouraged. The focus should be on making a quick adjustment and figuring out a new target date. Setting a date is a helpful way to hold yourself accountable.
Now is the time to set the tone for 2011. You need to make a conscious effort to develop a sustainable action plan you can practice throughout the year. The emphasis should be on continually making progress. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve.
Go ahead and make this your best year yet! You can learn more about the nine rituals to live in your top 1% in my new book, Living In Your Top 1%, available on Amazon mid-February 2011.
Believe in yourself!
Alissa Finnerman Bio:
Alissa Finerman is an author, speaker and motivational coach. She loves to help clients achieve their goals and experience top 1% moments. She is known for her clarity, energy, and ability to redefine your potential. She bridges her experiences as a professional tennis player, Wall Street professional, and motivational coach to inspire others to take that small step forward. She works with individual clients and speaks to corporations about goal setting and reaching your potential.
Alissa holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley. She received her coach training from New York University.
Alissa lives in Santa Monica, California.
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