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An Action Plan for All You Want

Michelle Larson

by Monica Peace

I have a fundamental belief that everyone has a dream. Most of us have let our dreams sit on a shelf, collecting dust. I once heard that the greatest loss in the graveyard, is not that of the lives of those that lay there, but of the dreams not pursued. I enjoy helping individuals reconnect with their dreams and showing them steps to achieve them as part of their journey toward an exceptional life.

Take a moment of reflection to list the priorities in your life. These could be things like faith, family, wealth, health, education, etc.

Review your list and star those things you are truly committed to. For example, if you say that being debt free is a priority, evaluate your choices around earning, spending and saving money. Do you use credit cards? Live within a budget? Make planned decisions or impulsive ones about spending? How you answer these questions will determine your commitment level.  If you find that perhaps you’re not living within a budget or using credit cards, then debt freedom is more likely to be something you’re interested in versus committed to.

A great question to ask yourself is “am I interested in XYZ” or “am I committed to XYZ” and spend some time to self reflect on how your behaviors support that statement.

Jeff Olson in “The Slight Edge” talks about the importance of daily decisions. It is those daily decisions, accumulated over time, on how we spend money, how we eat, how we treat others, that manifest into our financial state, our fitness state, our relationship state. For example, eating french fries today, may or may not affect your weight today; however the choice of eating french fries multiple times a week over time will affect your weight and health. It is important to understand the long-term impacts of our daily choices.

You face two things every day: your “fear” and your “dreams”. You get to choose which you pursue. Typically everything we want in life is on the other side of our fears. Examples of how fear sometimes shows up: procrastination, excuses, perfectionism, avoidance.

A great book to help you identify and overcome your self-created obstacles is “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. Below is an excerpt from his book on some action steps.

1. Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to the solution. Eliminate “impossible”, “won’t work” , “can’t do”, “no use trying”, from your thinking and speaking vocabularies.
2. Don’t let tradition paralyze your mind. Be receptive to new ideas. Be experimental. Try new approaches. Be progressive in everything you do.
3. Ask yourself daily. “How can I do better?” there is no limit to self-improvement. When you ask yourself, “How can I do better?” sound answers will appear. Try it and see.
4. Ask yourself, “How can I do more?” Capacity is a state of mind. Asking yourself this question puts your mind to work to find intelligent shortcuts. The success combination in business is: Do what you do better (improve the quality of your output) and Do more of what you do (increase the quantity of your output).
5. Practice asking and listening. Ask and listen and you’ll obtain raw material for reaching sound decisions. Remember: Big people monopolize the listening; small people monopolize the talking.
6. Stretch your mind. Get stimulated. Associate with people who can help you think of new ideas, new ways of doing things. Mix with the people of different occupational and social interests.

Remember, if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting. Another way that I have both personally grown and fueled some of my dreams is through finding an accountability partner. For you, this partner can be an individual who may or may not be a friend, but who is willing to serve as a source for sharing ideas and helping you expand your thinking.  My accountability partner and I meet once a week and use an agenda of key priorities and thought ideation to help each other expand our thinking and work toward our goals and dreams.

Lastly, I would encourage you not to underestimate the importance of planning. I use the following guideline:
Spend 15 minutes planning each day
Spend 30 minutes planning each week
Spend 1 hour planning each month
Spend 1 - 2 days planning each year

Identifying clear action steps to support your goals and dreams will help keep your priorities at the forefront and ensure your days, weeks, months aren’t easily given away to other’s priorities. Remember, where there is a will there is a way and every dream is one worth pursuing.  Incorporating a few daily disciplines over time will help you turn your dreams into realities.

“The future depends on what we do in the present”. 
- Ghandi