Despite what it looks like when I write novels, I am a planner. I like to know where I’m going, how I’m getting there, and what I’ll be doing once I get there. Unfortunately, most of life doesn’t operate that way and I’ve had to adjust to not knowing a lot of what’s going to happen. It’s okay. I’ve gotten used to it. Doesn’t mean I like it, but here we are. The thing about plans is that they don’t usually go the way you intend them to anyway.
For most people, planning is an essential step to achieving any sort of goal. You can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where that is. Logically, the first step is to set a goal. I talked a few weeks ago about the things I want to do before I turn 30. Those are my goals, so at least I have set them out, but how do I go about achieving them? I got step one done!
Step Two: Create a Plan
Sure, it sounds simple, but there’s a reason goals go unfinished all the time. Aside from your goal being achievable, the plan you create must also be achievable. It isn’t something you can do in one fell swoop, most likely. Want to learn how to quilt? It’s going to take time, tutorials, equipment. Want to finish that novel and get it published? Finish writing, edit, find agents, send out query letters.
I want to go to Europe within the next two years. What’s it going to take? Vacation time, money, choosing a location, deciding if anyone will want to come with me or if this will be a solo trip (I’m not opposed to either, but as soon as you add in another person, things become infinitely more complicated).
You have to be able to create a plan you can follow relatively easily. Otherwise, there’s no point in planning at all.
Step Three: Actually Following the Plan!
Did you know you had to follow the plan to achieve the goal? Yes! Yet another simple thing that throws many people off track. It’s so easy to get distracted and fall off the wagon. I tend to be one of those people who get excited about things easily and if I don’t do the thing right that second, I will quickly lose interest a few days later. Call it short attention span, call it being a Gemini, I don’t know, but it’s just how I am. It’s much harder to hype myself up again once excitement has died down. This makes it hard for me to stick to plans, especially long plans that don’t happen immediately. I am impatient. I want things done right away. But I also realize that good things take time.
Trust me when I say I know how hard it is to actually do these three things. They sound so easy but if they were, people would be getting stuff done left and right. You need self-discipline (or at least chocolate as a reward!). But all(most) all goals are achievable if you keep going. In the immortal words of Spongebob Squarepants,