Why Now Is The Time To Start Planning 2018

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As we enter the final two months of 2017, it is time to begin thinking about the year ahead and what you want to accomplish. Too many leave this thinking process until the final few days of the year, which means they rush the process instead of allowing time for ideas and thoughts to generate and develop and to really understand what they want to achieve in 2018. Many people never even bother to even try.

Over the years I have evolved a simple process that allows me two months to think about what I want to achieve and give myself enough time to allow thoughts and ideas to develop. It is surprising what ideas I have when I allow my brain time to think. Ideas pop up at the strangest of times and in the strangest of places. I could be sat down watching an old episode of BBC’s Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson could say something and boom! I have a brilliant idea. Or I could be writing away in a coffee shop, minding my own business while enjoying a cappuccino and suddenly another idea might come up.

Having my phone, computer or iPad with me at all times means I can capture those ideas and add them to my list anytime, whether it is on a bus, train, subway or even in a meeting. During the year, I collect these ideas in a simple list in my Someday | Maybe folder in my todo list manager. Then, in October, I start going through that list to see if anything I collected resonates with me and can be developed into something special in the following year.

I have fine tuned this process to help me focus on the things that are important. I now have a basic Evernote note that has five main sections. These are as follows:

Ideas:

This is where I go through my list and see if there is anything I would like to do next year. That could be a country I want to visit for a holiday, or a big purchase, like buy a new iMac. This is essentially where I put random thoughts and ideas. During this phase, the crazier the ideas the better, as the crazy ideas often lead to me doing things I had never thought of before.

What Would I Like To Change about Myself?

This is where I add thoughts about what I would like to change about myself. Perhaps I don’t save enough money, or I spend too much time doing unproductive things. It could also be something like give up smoking, drink less alcohol or read more books. Anything that you would like to change about yourself would get added under this heading.

What Would I Like To Change About My Lifestyle?

This is where you add things you would like to change in the way you live your life. For example, if you live with your parents and want to get your own place, you would add it here. Or it could be eating a healthy breakfast every day or get up at the same time every morning including weekends.

What Would I Like To Change About The Way I Work?

This one is a relatively recent addition to my list. Because the nature of work is changing so fast these days, new ways of getting work done are being created every day. Here is where you write ideas about how and where you would like to get your work done. It could mean you want to work for a remote company so you can work from home or the local coffee shop. You might decide to do your work using only a tablet computer rather than a laptop or you would like to learn how to use a different kind of software. Anything that involves changing the way you work today would go here.

How Can I Challenge Myself?

This one, to me, is the crucial one. This is the question that gave life to my YouTube channel, Medium blog and writing my first book. As human beings, we are hard-wired to fall into routines. Challenging ourselves is the best way I know of getting out of routine and a mediocre life into creating and achieving something new and exciting. Think of some of the things you are afraid of doing and if the idea of doing those things excites you, then add it here. Whatever you add, it needs to be challenging and more importantly exciting.

The key to this system working for you is spending the next six weeks thinking about it. You don’t need to think about it every day, but as and when new ideas come up, add them to the list. No matter how crazy you might think they are, you can always remove them later. The process of adding things to the lists will spark new, exciting and challenging ideas and one of those could very easily lead you to make a fortune or meeting your life partner. Just one of those crazy, seemingly stupid ideas might be the spark that changes your life forever.

 

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Above is the note I created in Evernote, it is easy to create in any note taking application. I recommend for the next six weeks you have this note saved in a place that is easy to access at any time. You want to be able to get to the list as quickly as possible so you can add your thoughts straight into your list. The next two months is not about sorting, editing or organising, it’s about collecting, developing and thinking.

I will post part two of this exercise towards the end of November so I can guide you on the next steps towards a fantastic 2018. But for now, you only have to think and develop. Good luck.

 

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