I think most people think I’m ‘just’ a music teacher, I ‘just’ teach away in my house day in day out, I’ve no challenges or expectations, no aspirations or career trajectory.
There are two ways to look at that. Yes, I can sit back and happily teach from my house day in day out with no challenges, expectations, aspirations, or career trajectory and let it be easy. But that’s not how I was raised!
The other way to look at it is that even if you are in a lovely cushy job, or have nobody to answer to, you get off your ass and answer to yourself! I make sure to challenge myself, and set my own goals and expectations. THAT is how I was raised.
About 3 years ago I began making plans. Someone told me about someone they knew who used a planning method for achieving aims. It was third hand knowledge but I took from it what I liked and went my own way with it.
I start by making a plan for 3 years time and from that I make a plan for 2 and 1 years time. Once I do that I can see if my 3 year plan is actually achievable and what it may take to get there. I’m skipping a LOT of steps here but you’ll get the drift.
Next, I make 6 month, 3 month, and 1 month plans. Lastly, I make a plan for my week. At this stage I am taking small steps every day to get where I want to be in 3 years time. You could take it further and aim for 5 or 10 years time too.
So how do you go about making a real plan?
I break it into categories first. All you need to do it think about your life or lifestyle and break it down. Don’t forget that life is not only about work so if your aim is to work less and holiday more then you can still use this method to make that happen. If you’re in a relationship, you can choose to do this together. Below are some sample categories but you can come up with your own. You will find that they overlap once you start to break them down.
It’s one thing to make plans, it’s another to follow them. I check on my plans all the time, I have a method of colour-coding items so that I know what stage of being done they are. I am fiercely competitive, with myself mostly, so I can’t stand to see things not ticked off at the end of a week/month/year and I make sure to get them done.
If you’re not as motivated as you would like, or as competitive as that, find someone who would like to follow the same planning method and decide to take on the challenge together. They don’t even have to have the same aims or interests, they just need to have the same urge to achieve and progress and you have all you need to have in common already.
If you are setting yourself aims for your week, month, or year and are achieving them on a daily basis you may find that your goals weren’t that crazy afterall and who knows maybe you’ll raise the bar and aim higher. On the other hand you may find that yourself struggling, in which case I advise you don’t give up, all you need to do is move the goalposts a little. Maybe stretch out your aim another year and make sure it’s achievable.
Make sure your aims are achievable in the time you’re giving yourself. You will know pretty soon if you can’t make your weekly or monthly aims. You don’t need to start making yourself feel like a failure so don’t be afraid to re-adjust. This is all about taking action and feeling like you’re fulfilling your potential so there’s no room for guilt in there.
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
Before you know it you’ll be (cliché warning!) making your dreams come true!