Build a Roadmap to Get There.

It is so crazy to think that this week marks 10 weeks of content. 10 weeks of commitment to creating new and meaningful content. 10 weeks of suiting up and showing up to get this all going.

When we started, we created a loose outline of the content, deciding to leave room to adjust as we went. We wanted to know where we were going, and allowed ourselves space to work out the kinks as we were getting there. Which is a perfect segue to the content for this week.

As a recap, we spent the last 9 weeks on our Build Your Best Life Series, which included the following steps:

Step 1: Develop a deep and meaningful understanding of where we want to be.

Step 2: Develop a deep and meaningful understanding of where we are.

Which brings us to Step 3: Build a Roadmap to get there. This can be found in a number of forms, but most people create or sign on to a plan or program to reach their goals.

We’ve highlighted a number of things that are relevant to this step along the way, and this post is about trying to give concrete ideas of how to set up your own plan of action.

First, we cannot underscore the importance of documenting the plan. This is in line with the “fail to plan/plan to fail” concept. Further, writing it down challenges us to make it concrete – and to really consider the efficacy of the plan. Finally, writing it down makes it a LOT harder to lie to ourselves. Not writing it down leaves a lot of room for rationalization.

Be accountable with someone.Objective accountability is a cornerstone of consistent growth. Consider a coach, mentor, sponsor, counselor, etc. Being accountable with someone who is not a friend or family member can ensure we get objective feedback. People close to us are sometimes afraid to hurt our feelings…or we can be defensive with them because of the emotional attachment.

Consistently review your SMART goals. Planning should be a series of smaller goals that lead to a larger goal. Remember that goal setting really is the formulation of a hypothesis, subject to being adjusted when the evidence suggests it should.

Focus on the process and not the outcome. Focus on one day, one week at a time. Getting too far in the future, or falling into too much reflection of the past, can divert us from being present and accountable in the now.

Be prepared for detours. The process of sustaining change is more like preparing for a marathon than a sprint. We many times integrate change behaviors in fits and spurts. It is important to acknowledge setbacks and get right back on track.

Set appropriate rewards along the way. One key question: does our reward move us toward our goal. We have a tendency to lean into rewards that move us away from our goals. Planning for a cheat meal or allowing a splurge when we are saving money are two common examples. How can we work on rewards that are in line with the change we are working to make?

Consider reasonable timelines. What would happen if we made a commitment to change for a year rather than a few months? Most of us have spent years, or even a lifetime, in the habits we are trying to change. Expecting everything to change overnight is not realistic. Most of the time, we overestimate what can be accomplished in the short term.

The real danger of being hyper-focused in an end goal is that attaining the goal will likely be less rewarding than we think. As a result, it is important to not put all of our eggs in that basket.

We have a quote on our refrigerator that says, “You cannot fail if you do not quit.”

Make a plan. Expect detours. Make smaller goals and build in rewards that move you toward that goal. And….keep going. It is the journey that brings the transformation in the end.