Who Has a P.L.A.N. for the Year?

Notes-speakingHow’s your year going?

Before you answer, let me clarify. I’m not asking how your life is going or what’s got your attention at this point of 2015. I’m asking, “How all of 2015 is panning out for you?”

You might think, “All of 2015? It’s just February.”

That’s what I was afraid you might say.

It’s possible that some of you might actually respond with, “It’s progressing quite nicely. I am right where I planned to be at this point of the year.” Now you’re talking!

You are one of many people who carved out some time around the end of December or the first of January and looked ahead to 2015. You may have prefaced their work with prayer, asking God to direct their steps in 2015. Then you took some time to evaluate 2014 (what worked?, what didn’t?) and develop a plan to make the next year, better than than the last.

If that’s not you, let me ask a simple question: “What could your life look like if you had a plan to follow and keep you ‘on task’ toward some things you wanted to accomplish?”

There’s an old phrase that simply communicates the value of a plan: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” That’s your life if you don’t have a plan.

Can I share my plan with you? Some of my plan involves other people, so I can’t disclose ALL of it. But before I do, allow me to share the value of having a P.L.A.N.

Prayer-determined Targets
When I made my plans for 2015, I didn’t just pick random things I wanted to achieve. It took me about 20 days to work through a process of praying, writing and thinking. I labored over the things I would ask God to help me accomplish this year. I wanted them to be in line with who He created me to be and my areas of responsibility as a husband, father and follower of Jesus Christ.

Long-term view
One of the best components of having a plan is the joy of looking at the whole year with anticipation. The dates assigned to many items on my plan date well into 2015. Some of them need weekly attention now, while others will get my attention later in the year. I can get excited about them because I know when they will be unfolding and can start building towards those dates. It also helps guide my prayer life as I constantly ask God to direct my steps in those different areas.

Action Items
Each “target” or goal has clear action items that I can give attention to throughout my day, week, month and year. I have a system where I keep these where I can see them daily and think about what my next actions are. The list is active. It’s not a stagnant list of “to-do” items, but it’s constantly changing as life changes and ideas for success in those areas come to mind.

Next-Level Thinking
When I have a plan for our year, I find myself living with a greater sense of purpose and direction. I’m not wandering around hoping for some great outcome. I’m not relishing in the past thriving on personal pride at all I accomplished. And, I’m not wasting the days God has given me to live. I challenge myself to do my best and leverage the results for God’s glory, not mine.

So….what are my targets or goals for 2015? (Again, this is not a complete list as some are personal to individuals in my life.)

1) Complete my plan by January 30, 2015
2) Read 8 books by December 31, 2015
3) Write a Children’s Book by February 28, 2015
4) Train and Run another Half-Marathon, TBD based on race
5) Release my next book on October 19, 2015
6) Complete the college selection experience with my high school Junior

In the next post, I will share an update and the value of being flexible with your plan.