When was the last time you made plans for the future? Do you have a goal in mind for a year from today, five years, or even ten years?
Looking ahead to future achievements is exciting and helps us to stay motivated in our day-to-day lives. However, planning ahead can also leave us vulnerable to a common trap: too much planning and not enough doing.
We tend to look at the Future Version of Ourselves as some sort of superhuman. They will have accomplished everything we’re working on now and be ready to take on new challenges. But how will they be ready for these new projects if we don’t give ourselves a clear path to get from now to there?
Creating a Roadmap
Instead of leaving your future up to chance, create a clear roadmap to keep you on track. That means planning out manageable steps that you can take over time. It’s okay - even necessary - to dream big, but make sure that you have the stepping stones to achieve that dream.
For example, let’s say that your major goal is to become a public speaker and that you\re starting from scratch with no public speaking experience. It’s quite a jump to go from nothing to standing up on a stage in front of people.
Instead, think about what you need to do in between where you are now and your final goal. Do you want to take a public speaking course? Do you know what topics you want to talk about? Do you know many people already doing similar work whose brains you could pick?
Your step-by-step plan could therefore look something like this:
Step 1: Watch online TED talks and find your niche.
Step 2: Reach out to existing public speakers to ask questions.
Step 3: Follow those in charge of booking public speakers on social media and network online.
Step 4: Master public speaking skills through a course and practice with friends and family.
Step 5: Pitch yourself to established acquaintances within your chosen niche.
Step 6: Build a referral network and start marketing yourself publicly.
Building a Mindset
Having steps in place makes your goals much more concrete. You are now more likely to go where you want to go. Not only do they give you something to focus on in the short term, but they also bring your goals into the present.
Stop leaving your future achievements up to chance and start building them into your day-to-day life. That doesn’t mean things have to happen overnight… but success rarely happens by chance.
If you want something, plan it out and create manageable goals for yourself to get there. Bit by bit, every small achievement will build on the last until you’ve accomplished your loftiest goals almost without noticing!