When Melissa and I decided to build a tiny house, we were so excited by the idea that we wanted to jump right in. We did some basic, preliminary research, but not enough to know how much more needed to be done before getting started.
When we went to order the trailer (aka the foundation), we quickly learned how unprepared we were. The manufacturer asked us questions we had never considered, nor did we even know we needed to. While it certainly took the wind out of our sails, it was a wake-up call to the importance of planning.
In this world of immediate gratification, planning has taken a back seat to impulse. We want things now (or yesterday), and we don’t want to do a lot to get it.
There’s an important balance to be struck between planning and action. Taking things one small step at a time is an effective way to make great progress, particularly when something feels overwhelming or daunting, but you want those small steps to be intentional and thought out, and that’s where the planning comes in.
Let’s say you’re working to improve your financial health, for example. If you make payments to credit cards without considering your income or looking at the rate and balance of each card, you may end up paying more interest than you need to or damaging your credit score instead of improving it.
Planning on a smaller scale can strengthen your muscles for the big goals like marriage and children, educational pursuits, or fulfilling your life’s vision.
Now let’s take this idea further. Many years ago, I learned an exercise to make your vision a reality. This is some darn good planning! Give it a go:
- Describe, in writing, how you want your life or an aspect of your life to look. Be specific and include lots of detail.
- Next, write down three goals you’ll need to accomplish to help make that vision a reality.
- Next, write down three projects you’ll need to complete to accomplish those goals.
- Next, write down three tasks for each of the three projects (for a total of nine tasks) that you’d need to do to complete the projects.
- Finally, choose one task and get started!
You might think that taking the time to figure out the steps and determine the order will take you longer to fulfill your vision, but the opposite is true. Planning helps you make fewer wrong turns and results in less stumbling along.
So this week, ask yourself, are you playing the short game or the long game?
And until next week, keep taking those (planful!) steps to Live Out Loud.