Part of our mission at the Grafton Neutral Ground Martial Arts Academy is to see our students grow and improve their lives outside of their martial arts practices. This means providing our students with the necessary guidance and skills to make plans and achieve any of the goals they have now and will make in the future. All of this starts with learning how to effectively make plans and carry them out in day-to-day life.
Drafting and Developing a Plan
We are going to look at two separate areas: drafting and developing a plan, and setting that plan in motion. To help you get started, try reviewing any of the following life areas that you might want to make plans for and see long-term change:
Career plans – What level do you want to reach in your career? What field do you want to enter in to?
Public service plans – If you want to make the world a better place, then how? Who do you want to help and where?
Recreational plans – What would you like to start doing for fun? What excites you that you don’t yet know how to do?
Fitness plans – Do you have athletic or fitness goals you’ve always wanted to achieve? A certain physical look? Are there any health practices you want to integrate into your life?
Emotional plans – Is there an aspect of your mindset or behavior that holds you back or makes life harder than it should be? This can range from depression, low motivation, anxiety, grief, or anything else that you would like to seek help for.
Creative plans – Do you want to develop a creative outlet and way of expressing yourself?
Family plans – Do you want to start a family? Or improve relationships between you and your family members? Is there something you’d like to do as a family more often?
Educational plans – Is there anything that you are interested in learning about? A new language? History? Astronomy?
Financial plans – How much do you want to be earning/saving a year? How can you achieve this with your current career goals?
Building on the above list, once you have identified an area in your life that you wish to develop a plan for, you will need to create a vision of your goal destination. This is the big picture of what you will have once you successfully complete your goal. It could be the house you’ve always dreamed of, an overseas adventure, finishing a humanitarian mission, good grades in school, or a degree from a good university. The sky’s the limit.
Try asking the question “where do I want to be in one year? 3 years? 10 years?” This sets the direction for you to move in.
Be Clear and Precise
Research and write down exactly what you will need to do for your plan, including equipment and what you will need to learn along the way. Roughly decide how long it will take you from start to finish and be realistic with your time frame based on how much available time and resources you have to put towards it.
Now, break any long-term goals up into smaller segments based on specific landmark achievements that you will need to reach inside of the overall plan.
With all of this information planned and organized, you will be able to develop a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule of activities and tasks that focus on achieving the various milestones that make up your long-term plan.
We recommend taking a look at our Getting It Done: How to Use Your Time to Achieve All of Your Goals blog post for more on planning and time management. After all of your planning is complete, the next stage is getting things moving.
Setting a Plan in Motion
Once you have a clear understanding of your plan and what is required, you are going to need to begin committing to it. This for many people is the hard part, however there are some useful tricks that we can all employ in order to stay on track to reaching our goals.
Start Off with Small Steps
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so to begin with, split your tasks and activities into small pieces that are easy to schedule into your routine and achieve. If your goal is fitness related, start off with a few days of gentle exercises before picking up the heavy weights. If you are starting a blog, try first thinking of a website name and topic ideas before you try and build your entire blog site in one go. Starting off gently with small achievements is a great way to build confidence without becoming overwhelmed and quitting.
Track Your Progress and Growth
Diary, diary, diary! A progress diary or checklist is the easiest thing to fill out at the end of each day or week because we can tend to forget about where we started from and become disheartened when things become challenging. Tracking your progress gives you clear information about how well you are doing and it can also give you a good idea on how long it will take for you to finally fulfill your goal and plan.
Celebrate Your Success
Every time you reach an important milestone in your journey, celebrate it, because it takes a lot of hard work to stick to a plan and reach a goal. You should plan these celebrations beforehand so that you can look forward to, say, going to your favorite restaurant, going away for a weekend holiday, or giving yourself a little cash prize to spend on whatever you feel like without feeling guilty. Use this as an opportunity to look back at what you have accomplished and be proud of what you are doing by treating yourself to something that you deserve.
Build A Community
Making plans and achieving goals are easier when you can share your experience and progress with others who are in the same boat. When you start out, tell your friends and family about your plans, and ask if any of them would like to join you. They might not do the exact same thing as you, but a conversation about your plan can inspire them to make their own, and you can keep each other updated, motivated, and supported to keep on going until the job is done and you have turned your vision into reality.