All things are created twice. A house is first created in an architect’s mind, and then it’s built in reality. A vacation is first dreamed about and then plane tickets are booked.
So it is with a successful life. First you decide what you want to accomplish with your life, and then you go about building it in the way you’d like.
“Most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives.” – Jim Rohn
Following are seven important questions for you to reflect on that will help you build your own personal annual (and life) plan. The answers to them will give you important clues to how to structure your annual plan.
Question #1 What gives you energy?
Don’t ask yourself what you’re good at. We’re all good at things that we hate doing. I’m interested in the activities make you feel strong when you do them. What do you do that, when you lay in bed at the end of the day make you feel excited? Joyful? Magnificent?
Every single person in this world has at least one unique genius; something that they’re uniquely good at that makes them feel strong. For more information, try completing this free DISC assessment that comes with a summary of your natural areas of strength and weakness (CLICK HERE).
It’s really important that you know what your natural strengths are. So, write down all the activities you do that really make you feel energized.
Question #2 What depletes your energy?
Most of us are good at two or three things, and bad at lots of other things. The more time you spend in your areas of weakness, the less productive you are, and the more exhausted you’ll be at the end of every day.
Successful people come in all shapes, sizes, and personality styles, but they all have one thing in common. They know what they’re bad at and they know what they’re good at. And they learn to do more of what they’re good at and less of what they’re bad at. Not complicated is it?
Question #3 What’s missing in your life?
Think of two key categories: your work and personal life. Maybe you have more categories you’d like to include. If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change about your life?
What missing ingredient would make your life 25% better immediately?
Bear in mind that there are unchangeable realities we must all face. But most of what makes us unhappy is within our control to change. What are yours?
Question #4 What activities do you regularly engage in that feel like a waste of your time?
Are there mundane tasks at work that you do that someone else could do just as well? Tasks that you should be delegating so you can do more high return jobs?
Are there committees that you should resign from? Volunteer activities that you no longer have passion for, but you continue to do? Other commitments that have run their course and need to end?
We’re great at making ‘to-do’ lists, but we need to also make ‘stop-doing’ lists.
Make a list of things you should drop out of.
Question #5 What is causing you the greatest unhappiness at the moment?
It probably won’t take you long to discover what this is. Often the answer to this question will come to your mind in an instant. You know immediately what would make a 50% difference in your life.
Name it. Write it down.
We’ll include this in your plan as something to change.
Question #6 Is there an impossible roadblock that is overwhelming you or has you stuck?
If there’s something you’ve been working to overcome for more than a year, you’re probably not going to get there on your own.
If you’ve been working on time management, or weight control, or alcohol consumption, or getting past a toxic relationship and you feel stuck, write it down.
The first step is to put a name to it. What needs to change? Once you’ve named it, you can begin to make plans to get outside help.
Depending on what the issue is, outside help can look be a personal trainer, a professional coach, a therapist, a nutritionist, or a friend to have coffee with on a regular basis.
If it isn’t working after a year, you need some help to get yourself ‘unstuck.’
Question #7 What about your current path could cause you regret in 20 years if left unchanged?
Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Imagine you are 20 years older than you are today. You’re surveying the last (large) part of your life and taking stock. In this thought experiment, nothing has changed about how you’re living your life today.
You’re still a smoker, you’re still overweight, you’re still struggling with anger management. You’re still spending every penny you make. Whatever your problem is, you’re still dealing with it. Nothing has changed.
Now, imagine how this has played out in your life. What does your life look like 20 years in the future?
Are you okay with having a life that looks like this? I’m not saying you shouldn’t be. It’s your life. I’m just suggesting you ‘play the tape to the end’ and ask yourself the question.
We’re great at climbing ladders quickly and efficiently. But sometimes you have to sit back and ask yourself, “Is my ladder against the right building?”
In other words, are you putting energy into doing the things that really matter to you?
Answer these questions to help find out:
- What gives you energy?
- What depletes your energy?
- What’s missing in your life?
- What activities do you regularly engage in that feel like a waste of your time?
- What is causing you the greatest unhappiness at the moment?
- Is there an impossible roadblock that is overwhelming you or has you stuck?
- What about your current path could cause you regret in 20 years if left unchanged?