If you’ve narrowed your goals and assessed what you are and aren’t willing to give up to achieve them, then it’s time to transform your personal formula for balance and success into a real plan. After all, the whole journey-to-change thing only happens if you can turn your thoughts into action. It’s like bringing a conceptual reality, something you’ve imagined yourself, into the actual here-and-now. Having a concrete plan also helps you accelerate action, hopefully achieving your goals sooner.
Here are four steps to enact your formula for balance and success:
1. Commit: The physical act of writing down your goals is a form of commitment. Write them down in something like a journal, planner, or on post-it notes. Wherever you record your goals or a reminder of your goals, make sure you can see it regularly. For example, I had my word or intention for the year stamped into a ring. The year before, I had it on a sweatshirt. Solidify it and make it real by sharing it — both with yourself and others.
2. Break Down & Embed: break your goals down to their smallest component parts and embed them into your existing rhythms and rituals. Maybe you have a great exercise practice already, but your goal is to improve your spiritual practice. Use your existing routine as an anchor. For instance, you might attach a meditation practice to your workout.
3. Create New Rhythms & Rituals: as it relates to your goal, create a placeholder that helps you achieve the next component part. For instance, create a daily closing-down routine that involves checking emails or doing research — the wrap-up stuff that sets you up for the next day. Then, once a week, add twenty minutes to that time to assess your progress towards your goal and make any changes necessary.
4. Refine: don’t become so attached to your goals or your plans that you refuse to refine your action plan. In fact, you should actively make refinement a part of the plan. Schedule time to reassess and make changes. This gives you permission and holds you accountable. For example, during refinement, you might decide that a component part of your goals needs to be made even smaller.
No matter where you are in the process of change, if you ever need to reinvigorate your progress, cycle back through the steps above. It's not a one-and-done process by any means. Achieving balance and success is a choice you make again and again. In some cases, it’s a choice you turn down one day but return to the next. Be patient but persistent with yourself and you’ll achieve incredible things!