1: How do we “develop a real plan for a better life?”

Trent Hamm tells us we start by selecting the areas of our lives on which we want to focus (step one), outline where we are currently (step two), where we want to be in five or ten years (step three), and brainstorm five to fifteen possible actions or projects that would move us from the current state to the desired state (step four).

Then, Trent tells us, we let it rest (step five).

What? Why don’t we take action now while all these ideas are fresh in our minds?

“The reason is that while this plan might be exciting, it’s also still fairly rough. It’s full of great ideas in the moment, but you shouldn’t commit your future to something you considered deeply only that day. Your plans will fall flat if you do that,” he warns.

Instead, we let our plan marinate. Percolate.  

Trent recommends letting it sit for 30 days. I’m more impatient, so I typically give it a week or maybe a couple of days.  

The benefit?

During this time, Trent writes, “I thought a lot about what I had written, and I revised the plan significantly, eliminating some unrealistic bits, adding some details, modifying the action steps, and so on… We might have a big revelation or two during that month, and that’s great. Just pull out your draft and jot down that idea, then put the whole thing away again.”

2: Step six involves setting aside another block of time to read and edit our first draft. We sit down with a pen in hand and read our plan. Whenever we see something that strikes us as not quite right, we edit it. We add new ideas and new sentences.

“That refinement is invaluable,” writes Trent. “It takes something that’s merely interesting and solid into something that really strikes a deep chord.”

3: Now, it’s time for step seven: the big finale.

We go through the list of all possible projects and actions we’ve written down and choose ten or so big things we can work on in the next year to move us toward our envisioned future. Note: the goal is to select the ten goals we are most excited about. We may or may not have a goal in each area of our life.

“Look for ones that really ring out to you as exciting and meaningful,” Trent suggests. “What ones really seem as though they’d produce great results? What ones seem like they’d be incredibly powerful to actually execute?”

When we’ve chosen ten or so, we make a nice, clear list of those actions.

“It’s a good idea to make sure these subscribe to the “SMART goal” rubric: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Is it very clear what we want to do? Can we easily measure our progress (an easy way to do this is to have the goal involve a number)? Is it something we can actually pull off in a year?”

Decide THIS year will be the year of those things.


Reflection: What are the ten specific actions or projects I am most excited about taking on this year?

Action: Journal about the above.

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