“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
So said Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
And you probably read that quote a hundred times already.
But now what? It doesn’t really give you any clue on to HOW to plan to achieve your goals.
Since I left my 9 to 5 job to run 2 businesses at the same time, the number and scale of the goals I’ve been setting have been growing. And so have the stakes with them.
No need to say that I NEED a tried and true system that maximizes my chances to achieve my goals.
For 2 years now, I’ve been relying on a simple method to achieve my goals: planning them on 90 days (actually, the PROJO planner, that I created and that I use as my main organization tool is based on this 90 days method!).
In this post, I’m sharing the advantages I find in planning my goals on 90 days, and how to use this method to achieve your own goals.
Why planning goals on 90 days?
It’s short and long enough at the same time
90 days is the right timeframe to achieve your goals: it’s short enough to boost your motivation and encourage you to take action. And it’s long enough to get ambitious on what you’d like to achieve and have some time ahead of you to get things done.
By planning my goals on 90 days, I put just the right amount of pressure on myself to keep working on achieving them: I know I can do a lot in 90 days if I put my mind into it. But I also know that days go by at a crazy pace and that I need to take action everyday to move towards my goals if I want to achieve them.
Having a 90 days time frame to achieve my goals simply encourages me to take action.
Planning on 90 days allow you to benefit from that momentum we all get when we start working on something new and exciting. And yet gives you time to actually achieve your goal. It’s just the perfect time frame to keep your motivation and ambition high and balanced.
It maximizes your chances to plan right
You probably noticed that even though we make plans, they often get disrupted by unexpected events. That’s what I call uncertainty.
Thing is, uncertainty is not linear: it grows as you plan further in the future.
A lot can happen in 6 month or a year. Circumstances can change a lot, and it’s hard to predict how they will evolve. But when you look ahead 3 months from now, the chances that a disruptive event or a radical change in your path happens are lower.
Planning goals on 90 days make it easier to plan your goals and make sure that the circumstances will stay out of your way as much as possible.
Planning your goals on 90 days keep yourself accountable.
To meet your goals on 90 days, you’ll need to work on your goal almost everyday if you want to achieve it.
What’s your focus of the week? What can you do this week to get closer to your goals?
[Weekly spread in the PROJO planner printable version]
I personally try to ask myself one question everyday: “What can I do today to get closer to my goals?”. It helps me keep my goals in mind, and take action to achieve them on a daily basis.
It doesn’t have to be big things (and most of the time it’s not). Sometime it’s just tackling all the other tasks that are keeping me busy to clear my schedule for the rest of the week. Or emailing someone for instance.
Asking yourself “What can I do today to make progress on my goal” will motivate you to take action, one day at a time. The tasks you’ll be tackling on a daily basis may be small and easy, but each of them will contribute to get you closer to your long term goals.
It makes big goals more achievable
Even though you have a bunch of BIG goals you’d like to achieve, it’s easier to focus on some of them for 90 days and move on to the next ones when you’re finished.
Planning on 90 days will force you to prioritize and to focus on just a few things at the same time.
The advantage of focusing on let’s say 3 goals at the same time are that you will achieve them faster: planning on 90 days will help you channel your efforts on just a few things and make progress faster than if you would have dispersed your energy on multiple goals
In the end, planning your goals on 90 days will make you feel more productive. You’ll be able to cross off some big steps every 90 days when you would have had to wait for months if you would have run everything at the same time.
Let’s imagine that you have this goal you want to achieve and decide on a strategy that you will pursue for 90 days as planned.
At some point, you realize that you’re not getting the results you expected and that the way you took is not the right one for you. Well, you only followed this path for 90 days and still have the rest of the year to work on a different strategy to achieve your goal by the end of the year.
This typically happened to me when I first thought of making a living out of blogging. The first strategy I pursued what to earn money through taking commission to write blog posts for various companies. I soon realised that it wasn’t for me at all: I just didn’t enjoy writing blog posts for others.
But it wasn’t like it took me a year to try this strategy. After 90 days, I draw conclusions of this experiences and decided to change my strategy for a one that would fit me better.
It’s easier to deal with failure when you plan your goals on 90 days. Because it simply leave you with time ahead of you to start fresh and try something different.
How to plan goals on 90 days?
Well it’s not skyrocket science.
It all goes down to the same as usual: prioritize and breaking big goals into smaller ones.
Review your current goals and ask yourself: which ones would have the most positive impact in your life right now?
Select 1 to 3 of them and break them down into smaller steps: list all the steps you need to complete to achieve it. If your goals are really big and you know they won’t fit the 90 days time frame, take one of the big step you need to achieve as your goal for the next 90 days. Break it again until you reach the point where you have manageable tasks on your list.
Once you’re done, plan spread all the listed tasks on the next 3 months.
Make sure to review your plan every week to include some of your scheduled tasks in your to-do. It will help you keep your goals in sight and move towards your goals on a daily basis.
As for the tools you can use to plan on 90 days, you can basically use the method in any kind of planner, bullet journal or project management app (such as Asana or Trello for instance).
But if you’re new to goal setting and don’t really know how to get organized to achieve them, you can count on the PROJO planners to help you with that!
What is your best strategy to achieve your goals?
Hey! I’m Claire.
I’m a freelance innovation consultant, and founder of Minimal.Plan.
I believe that moving towards your goals one day at a time can help you live a more intentional and happy life.
That’s why I share planning, time management and motivation tips on this blog, and design tools to help you get organized to conquer your goals!