This is the fourth and final part of our Year-End and Annual Planning Week. In case you missed our first three posts, you can catch up here:
Okay, this post was supposed to be sent yesterday. But, I didn't know we were going to Tagaytay yesterday until the day before! And to add to my surprise, what was supposed to be a two-hour travel turned into six hours because of the heavy traffic.
Anyway, no matter how great or how great or how grand annual planning seems, it has two major drawbacks: First, while it gives you an idea of how your year will be like, it doesn't help you live the life you want one day at a time. Second, it only focuses on what you can achieve within a year. It doesn't go beyond that.
Today, we're going to address those two major drawbacks.
Putting a Structure Around Your Days
While your annual plan gives you an idea of what you should have accomplished by this time next year, it doesn't guide you in living the life you want one day at a time. Each of your days should be filled with excitement! You should live each day with purpose, with vibrancy, and with aliveness! That's why you should put a structure around each of your days! We call this exercise designing your perfect or ideal day.
While your annual plan gives you direction on what you need to accomplish for the whole year, the perfect day exercise gives you structure on how you can accomplish them day by day. Also, while your annual plan focuses on how you should feel at the end of the year, the perfect day exercise focuses on how you should feel at the end of each day. Lastly, while your annual plan focuses on vision, the perfect day exercise focuses on your emotions.
Remember, the more perfect days you live, the more likely it is that you are living the life you want.
If you've been following the blog for some time now (thank you!), chances are you already know how to design your perfect day. But if you've been following the blog only recently (thank you as well and welcome aboard!), you can read about how to design your perfect day here.
Creating Your Lifetime Goals
The second drawback of the annual plan is that it focuses only on goals and dreams that you can accomplish within a year. The problem with this is that it may limit you to dream only small dreams that can be achieved within that short time-period.
Big dreams usually take more than a year to accomplish. After all, everything worth while takes time. Also, only big dreams have the power to excite you, to inspire you, to expand your vision, and to stretch you. I really think that you can only live the life you want by dreaming big dreams and pursuing something far bigger than yourself. You can only live the life you want by not settling for small dreams.
Also, big dreams seem impractical and unrealistic. But, they only seem impractical and unrealistic in short periods of time. Think about Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, and other successful people. Their big dreams seemed impractical during the time they dreamt them. But, they still made them happen. However, it took them years to make them a reality.
But, of course, if you can make your big dreams a reality in just a year, good for you! I will never argue with results and you should always do what works for you.
You should write down the big dreams that you want to achieve in your lifetime. You should write down the big dreams that excite you, even when they seem impractical or unrealistic right now. Given enough time, you can figure out how to make them a reality.
Finally, there are only three criteria I have in writing down your lifetime goals and dreams:
- Your big dreams should be meaningful to you,
- Your big dreams should be meaningful to other people, and
- Your big dreams should excite you.
Reviewing Your Perfect Day, Your Annual Plan, and Your Lifetime Goals
Of course, you don't just write down your goals and dreams and forget about them. You should also review (and revise) them regularly! Also, your perfect day, your annual plan, and your lifetime goals should always be with you to remind you of what you need to accomplish to live the life you want.
To simplify things, here are how and when I review my plans:
Lifetime Goals: I review these at least once a year (every December) before I set my plans for the following year. It reminds me of the things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. If I can make some of them happen the following year or even take small steps to make them happen, I will write them down in my annual goals.
Annual Plan: I review this at least quarterly (that's why we have spaces for quarterly reviews in our annual planning template). But, because I also do my monthly planning, this gets reviewed every month (usually the last Sunday of the month). It reminds me of the things I need to act on on a monthly basis.
Monthly Plan: My monthly plan is just a to-do list for the month based on my annual plan. It gets reviewed every week (every Sunday) before I set my weekly plan.
Weekly Plan: My weekly plan is also just a to-do list for the week based on my monthly plan. It gets reviewed every night before I set my daily plan.
Daily Plan: My daily plan is also just a simple to-do list for the day based on my weekly plan. It gets reviewed after accomplishing a task during the day.
Perfect Day Design: I review my perfect day or my structure whenever I'm feeling burnt out. There just must be something I have or haven't done during the day that doesn't make me feel good about my day.
I must admit, I do a lot of planning. But I make sure I keep my plans very simple. I also make sure my plans are easily accessible. (I suggest you print them and bring them with you always). The most important thing will always be executing your plans. What use is there for a plan if you don't act on it? You should always, always take action!
Lastly, I'm going to share with you my lifetime goals just for your reference. Remember, you can always revise your lifetime goals. My lifetime goals are far from perfect. I just wrote them inside a Burger King chain. Also, as I achieve some of my lifetime goals, I will write new ones. And as I change, I know some of my dreams will change as well. So keep writing down those imperfect lifetime dreams of yours!
My Lifetime Goals and Dreams
If you will notice, I like starting with how I want to feel. When I designed my perfect day, I focused on how I want to feel about my day. When I wrote down my annual goals, I focused on what I want to accomplish next year to feel even better. Now, I'm focusing on how and what I want to feel at the end of my life. I really believe that if you feel great about the life you're living, then you must already be living the life you want. Also, your feelings are a simple check to know whether you're living the life you want or not.
At the end of my life, I want to feel that:
- I gave others hope
- I loved God
- I shone God’s light
- I gave my best to God
- I gave my best to my family
- I served the country
- I lived a full life
- I achieved my dreams - entrepreneurial and writing
- I experienced the world
- I made a difference
- I lived, I loved, and I mattered
- I inspired others to take action and to live the lives they want
- I inspired the world to redefine progress
- I helped others live the lives they want
Dreams for God
- Make God’s word reach all the ends of the earth
- Become the best person that I can be
- Use all my abilities, time, and effort for God
- Build a media empire for God (Blog, Social Media, Videos, Podcasts)
Dreams for My Family
- Have a simple, loving, supportive family
- Bring my parents to an adventure, to an experience of “life”
- Have all that we “need” as a family — a simple house, a simple car, a home, education, clothing, food
- Homeschool my kids with my wife
- Have a weekly date with my parents
- Have a weekly date with my wife
- Have a weekly date with each of my kids, to make them men or women after God’s own heart
- Bring my parents to the Holy Land
Dreams for My Work and Entrepreneurial Dreams
- Write a book inspiring the next generation to live the lives they want while making a difference in the world at the same time
- Provide jobs and have more partners, instead of employees
- Build my own media empire and training company inspiring World Changers and Difference Makers publishing:
- Blog posts
- Magazines and other publications
Dreams for My Health
- Develop a daily healthy routine including:
- Eating habits
- Resting habits
- Habits nourishing my mind, body, and soul
- Live until 100
Dreams for My Experience
- Travel to every country in the world
- Learn new languages and culture (and their best practices)
- Go on a book tour in the country and overseas
Dreams for Service
- Build a “community” for less-privileged kids
- Give others hope, equal opportunities, and freedom to make choices, to live the lives they want, and to make a difference as well
- Build “Charging the Lines Foundation" and support a community and a cause