Faced with a major project or challenge? You probably have a general idea of where you want to go, but you’ll need a strategy, a plan of steps to take in order to reach that objective.
Planning is an investment. To plan wisely and well takes time, effort, patience‚ good research, and counsel. But a well-formed plan will pay for itself many times over.
There are many ways to create a strategy, but here are a few tried-and-proven principles that you might want to try:
1. Define your long-term objectives.
What exactly do you hope to achieve? Spell each one out on paper in concrete, concise terms. For the greatest chance of success, narrow your focus to one or two primary objectives. You can take on more or diversify later, as resources permit.
2. Set short-term goals to reach your long-term objectives.
In order to reach your long-term objectives, you will need steppingstones along the way. These should be smaller goals that together will get you to the final destination of your long-term objectives. They should be detailed and specific, concrete and measurable. If a goal isn’t something that you’ll be able to tick off as done, if it can’t be quantified, then it’s not specific enough.
3. Breaking down your goals into bite-sized pieces is crucial.
The simpler and easier your goals are to reach, the better, because you’ll see more immediate progress. It’s easy to overestimate and shoot too high when setting your goals. It’s also wise to realize that reaching big objectives takes time. Having a number of smaller goals will help keep the motivation level high, because you’ll see more tangible progress. And every time you tick off one of your smaller goals, you’re that much closer to your long-term objective.
4. Identify any obstacles.
Once you have determined your long-term objectives and your short-term goals, you should take a look at any obstacles, or cons‚ or things that might stand in the way of achieving the results you’re after.
5. Formulate a strategy.
Once you have determined your long-term objectives and the short-term goals, you need a plan that includes specific tasks that will help you reach each of your short-term goals. Your plan must be realistic. A lofty plan may look impressive, but if it’s too complicated or difficult to implement, it will never get off the ground and therefore be ineffective.
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