By Izabelle Azevedo
This always happens. December comes up and we set goals. We make promises to ourselves, our dreams and our future. And then…it all goes inside an imaginary drawer to get dusty. Other things come up. We tell ourselves we’re going to do this and change that, but never sit down to put a date on it and set a plan. Life goes on. And those resolutions? Well, let’s take them to the next new year with us.
I’m a big advocate for start dates, deadlines and planning. That’s how I’ve been living my life for over a decade. From opening a business (or a few) to moving to another country (twice), the goals that I became serious and intentional about — that I set a deadline and made plans for — they worked. The ones that didn’t, well… that’s a post for another time because it had nothing to do with planning. I want to show you my approach to turn my dreams into actions. To make things happen. I’ll sum it up, but if you want to get the full scoop, you can find it here (it’s free).
Let’s start with the obvious: A list.
Ok. I want you to get a pen and paper to start a list: What are the things you want to accomplish in life? Trips you want to make? Things you want to buy? Do you want to change your career? Move to another country? Buy a house? Become fluent in a new language or learn how to play drums? Lose 10 pounds? Think about your goals both short-term and long-term. Write them down and make that list.
Do you ever categorize your goals? Try categorizing them as “personal,” “professional” or “quality of life” (or whatever you want to name it). See how you’re doing in each category. Quality of life often gets left behind, but we gotta take care of ourselves to be able to accomplish everything else. This is more to check how you’re doing, it’s important to have goals in these three areas.
Clarity. Clarity. Clarity.
Now that you have a list, I want you to take a look at each goal and ask yourself: Why is this important to me and what difference will it make in my life? This is simply to prevent you from getting your dreams mixed up with someone else’s, so you can really invest in what truly matters to you.
Set a date, sister!
As I said, I’m a big advocate for start dates and deadlines. You know why? Because “next week” can easily become “next year” and “next year” can become, let’s say… never. So take a look at your list of goals and set dates to start the project or get it done. You can add “summer 2019” for that trip to Italy, “by 2020” to buy your home, or “March 2019” to start those Spanish classes. It doesn’t matter what it is, set that date. Note: You need to be aware of your priorities when doing this.
Last, but not least: Plan and take action!
This is my favorite part! I’m a big planner, so I actually have fun with this. Once you set dates for your goals, you need to make a plan. What will you need in order to make that trip to Italy next summer? How much money? How many days? When do you need to buy the tickets and book hotels? Same with buying a home, if you need to get your credit score a little higher, how could you do that? Where are you going to look for homes? How much do you need to save for the down payment, and how much is that monthly?
Setting a date and planning is how I take my ideas and goals out my head and make them happen. If you know when you want to start or get a project done, you tend not to forget about it. And if you plan for it, your chances to actually make progress become much higher. Just writing down your resolutions and never looking back at them is seriously how dreams fade away. So for 2019, and the years to come, use those five steps to build your “Dream list” and turn your dreams into actions.
Izabelle Azevedo is a Life Changer, Planner & Strategist, and founder of The Lifestyle Manifesto where she helps women live by choice, create and build the life of their dreams. Follow her on @itsmissizabelle