It makes me remember back to January, 2000, when inside the first week of the month my plans were totally out of control and there was nothing I could do to change some of the things that had happened. John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans.” This past December as I planned my year ahead, I vowed to be more realistic and already I'm behind on the short-term goals for this month and every month. Am I discouraged? Disappointed is the more correct word for it. Once again, I forgot to allow for life. Giving up? No way!
SELF-FLAGELLATION IS NOT THE ANSWER
OK, so I didn't get it right in January. Rather than blaming myself, I prefer to use some techniques I've learned from motivational/inspirational tapes.
First, I just say, “Next.” What I just did didn't work, so I'll try to do better and plan better in February.
If that doesn't work for you, then I'd recommend using a technique I learned from listening to a Wayne Dyer tape set called “Real Magic.” Visualize whatever you've done that you think was wrong. It might just be a general lack of accomplishment. In this visualization, write whatever it is on an index card and tie it to a helium balloon. Then, in your mind, watch it float away getting farther and farther away until you no longer can see it. Now you can start over fresh without past mistakes weighing you down. Use this technique any time, any place when you regret having done something.
Then think about Col. Sanders, KFC founder. He was refused 1,009 times before a restaurant agreed to sell his chicken. Or think of Thomas Edison who did over 11,000 experiments before he got the light bulb right. Edison said he never made a mistake. He just learned what didn’t work! Successful people do not dwell on what doesn't work. They keep trying until they find the correct solution.
REVIEW YOUR SUCCESSES
Rearrange or change your plans. But before you start, look at what did work. What you accomplished probably would not have happened if you hadn't taken the time to put it into the plan in the first place. Look at both major and minor accomplishments. Look at new habits you may have formed.
When I did this, I was pleasantly surprised at what I had accomplished that has had a lasting effect on my future. This month, I have religiously reviewed my goals for the month every week. I do it the first thing on Monday because it gives me motivation to try harder and to reach further during the week. It really doesn't take that long, and it feels so good to put a check mark beside something that is done.
By doing this, I also have realized my over-expectations and gradually adjusted my plan to accommodate the changes that would be necessary for my monthly and yearly goals.
Preferably on Fridays, but sometimes Mondays, I also try to schedule the whole week ahead with Monday being the only day with a tight schedule. I use the term “tight” loosely because I do not have every minute accounted for. As a consultant, I never know when I will receive a call that requires my immediate attention. I also have started planning the next day's agenda as the last thing I do each day. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to start each day with a plan already in place. I really do believe this has saved me time.
I also have realized that my daily goals are becoming more realistic and my prioritizing ability is getting better. I used to put a lot of extra stuff on my daily task list “just in case,” but I would never get to them. Now I realize that is all a waste of time. If I actually accomplish what I have on the list for the day, then I always can start on the next day's plans.
I also have learned that by doing my planning weekly that as the month goes on some things just have to be bumped one or even two months depending upon their importance to where I am in my plan. Just because you originally thought you could do more in a certain period of time doesn't negate or diminish the importance of what you did accomplish. In fact, what you did accomplish may be more valuable than what you didn't!
I like to have a wall calendar with the whole year on it. I use sticky notes to mark certain repeated deadlines. Being able to see the whole year gives you a better perspective on the speed of your progress.
At the end of each month, evaluate your progress on your yearly plan. Note if you are ahead or behind schedule and make any necessary adjustments to next month. I like to plan loosely about three months out. In one or two month's time, you may see that you definitely need to adjust the yearly plan. In one month this year, I have seen that myself already.
Definitely do an in-depth quarterly review and make any adjustments. Mark a day on your planner at the end of March to do this. Make the changes you need to make, always keeping that yearly goal in mind. When you do the second quarter review at the end of June, decide if major changes need to be made to your primary yearly goal. Be sure to analyze well to determine if the changes are temporary or will continue. If you are ahead of schedule (boy, would I envy you!), carefully adjust your monthly and yearly goals keeping in mind that life might give you the option to return to your original plan.
By doing monthly reviews, you will know much more quickly if changes are in the offing. This keeps you on your toes and prepared to make necessary changes.
KEEP A CARROT IN FRONT OF YOU
Something in life will always happen to thwart your plans. That's a given. No matter if you are ahead or behind schedule, it is important to stay focused on what you seek. Here are some ideas to help you along:
1. Visualization is one of the most well known techniques to bringing achievement. Daily visualize what it is you want to achieve and see yourself achieving it. In this visualization, utilize as many of your five senses as you can. The more realistic the mental picture, the more likely and the sooner success will come.
2. Write your goal on index cards, look at them and visualize your goal as often as you can throughout the day. Post these cards all over your house, in your workroom, in your car, or wherever you will be sure to see them.
3. Write a very detailed description of exactly what you want and include in it the kind of person you want to be and have to be to achieve the success you pursue. Again, utilize your five senses. Make a cassette recording of what you have written. The last thing at night when you go to bed read what you have written. Then listen to the tape as you fall asleep at night. This will sink into your subconscious and will be amazingly effective.
At one point in my life, this was too effective. I had to stop doing it because too many things were happening too quickly!
4. Read your mission statement daily. If your mission statement is written correctly, it will remind you of why you are seeking your goal. You must have a good reason and an emotional attachment to the reason to succeed.
5. Pray for guidance to seek what is in accordance with the Divine plan. I have a prayer by Robert Schuller taped to my computer that reads, “O God, give me a vision, a mental picture of the person You want me to be, the projects You want me to pursue, the objectives You want me to manage toward actualization. Amen.”
Your plans will change on a regular basis. Planning will require time and work to continually update and modify as needed. Keep in mind that it is the plan that will bring your goal to fruition on schedule. If you want your goal so badly that your thoughts of it change from wanting to knowing it will happen, then success is yours! I know you can make it happen. Do you?
Kitty Stein, CWP, WCAA past board member, is a 26-year veteran of the drapery workroom industry. Having owned drapery workrooms as one person and as a company of nine, she is now president of Workroom Concepts a consulting firm offering educational resources to the industry on its Web site (www.workroomconcepts.com). Her experience in both the retail and wholesale window covering arenas has contributed to her success as a business consultant. A professional speaker and writer, she has authored several industry products including Order in the Workroom, The Price List, Workroom Specifications and Price Your Work with Confidence, available through D&WC.