by S.A. Prince
Merry Christmas Eve! It’s almost time to pour the eggnog, bake the ham, and get ready to violently rip wrapping paper off of boxes in the hope of uncovering the surprises we’ve waited all year for. Oh yes, it is the most wonderful time of year, and even if your culture doesn’t celebrate Christmas (maybe you do Kwanzaa or Hanukkah), the time you get to spend with your loved ones is priceless.
Many of you have done countless tasks to prepare for one moment, to see the mile-wide smile and unyielding joy of your loved one. With the raise of the hand, who’s run themselves ragged? While those beautiful and happy faces are something you’ve longed to see, now that you’re older it’s nearly impossible to get lost in the holidays as you did in your youth. As a matter-of-fact, most of us forget about ourselves, and our own well-being.
In all the commotion of preparing for the holidays, there is some serious down time post-celebration, and this time is underutilized. Not having to go to work for a couple days or for a couple weeks is clutch. It’s the perfect opportunity to recharge your battery, whether that be from work, the holiday hangover, or both. And while I do hope you get some much needed rest and relaxation, and tender love and care, if you spend an hour or two in the manner I am about to suggest to you, then your next year can be your best year.
The war philosopher Sun Tzu once said, “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”
For the purposes of this article the general is you, and the battle is your life’s progress, and whether or not you are further along in your goals at this point next year than you are now. It’s time to give yourself the gift of meticulous planning during your holiday downtime.
Start off by picking one thing. What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish? Don’t hold back. Go BIG. I don’t know what that is for you, but whatever it is, write it down on a sheet of paper. You will attack your goal in four stages consisting of three month periods (depending on your goal, your time, and other personal factors, you can do this faster time period).
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn speaks on our ideas and our motivation to make them a reality, breaking this motivation into three stages. We feel inspired and motivated during these times: Dreaming, Planning, and Implementing (he says Dreaming, but I like Implementing better). We will look at our stages based on these elements.
In the first three months (or your preferred time period), this is your preparation time. This is when you figure out how much this is going to cost you in both money and time. You also look at who it is that has done this before you, and has done it successfully. Write them letters, or send them e-mails. Set up a time in the next three months where you can drive out, or jump on a plane to talk to them, even if it is only for an hour meeting. Figure out the steps you will need to take to accomplish this. Will you need to apply for certifications, or take classes? If so, begin that process in these three months.
In the second three months (or your preferred time period), it’s time to begin to move on some of the steps that we need to take if you haven’t already begun. Find the office space or the building that you’ll need to buy-lease. Find the homes in the price range you’d like to purchase. Get in contact with distributors, and begin to work with their salesmen. Once you’ve made a decision based on the steps you need to take, you need to move on it getting together all the things you’ll need in order to implement your idea.
In the third three months (or your preferred time period), it’s time to implement your idea. Open the business, buy the office space, buy the home you’re going to rent out, begin your periodical, start selling your products on Amazon, and delve into the stock market. Now that we’ve spent six months in preparation, we are ready to attack.
The last three months (or your preferred time period). Rohn doesn’t say anything further than implementation, but I’d say that there’s another moment of motivation in the process of making an idea a reality, and that is in the review stage. That’s this time next year. The last three months is where you need to review the progress you’ve achieved in the past three months and make plans on how to move going forward.
I urge you to remember something my mentor, the owner of a half-billion dollar company told me. Plans are good, but revisions are better. The German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke reiterates this sentiment when he was noted saying, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” Over the next year you will come across many difficulties. There are time you need to press through, and there are other times where you’ll need to revise. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Now, take the time to meticulously plan. I wish you the best in your endeavors over the next year.
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.