The euphoria of new year parties is long over. Real life has set in. And we are all back to routine life. We might have made half hearted attempts at getting back to our pending plans. Some of us might have also gotten serious and chalked ambitious plans for self-improvement. But then real life takes over, immediate work gets precedence and skill improvement plans lay forgotten or ignored. So, I am here to help you get back or stay on track with reality check that I spoke about last time.
It takes a lot of effort to stick to a path. Let’s look at working out for instance. The most common reason why we shirk a workout routine is the effort it takes to make it every single day. We are too lazy to even begin since we are scared of that regular commitment and that we might fail in it. But, you may also have noticed, once we move past that fear and start working out regularly, we reap the brilliant results of that hard work. And, over the years, I have realized that we may fail – even many times – but giving up is not an option. If we gave up every time we failed, mankind wouldn’t have made any progress. I strongly believe that the only way to achieve a goal is to keep at it despite obstructions and obstacles. So, no matter what your progress has been in the last few weeks, it is never too late to get back on track.
Let me put together a quick guide to help you pick up pieces and be on your way again. Go back to the plan you made for developing skills you want to have this year and try and put it through this list of actions:
Analyze it: In your zeal to achieve a great deal, you might have overshot reality when you made the first list at the beginning of this month. Go back and look for what did not work and what worked. In practical terms. Be hard on yourself and take out all goals and timelines that seem unrealistic in the slightest. There will be time later to step up your efforts once you are into the basic routine. After analysis, make a list of things you want to achieve in the near future.
Revamp it: Now that your routine is set in the new year, redo your plan and see how well you can fit it into your life. Set realistic goals. Start small and make incremental progress. Schedule some time out everyday for developing your skill.
Pursue it: Skill development can happen through various resources. Plan them around your routine. You could finish reading material during travel. Or listen to audio tapes. Sign up for courses, if required, and finish a module every weekend. When you feel prepared, take up a real project for yourself to practice it. You may want to write stories to get better at writing. Undertake market surveys to hone your research skills. Try and fit in the tasks required into every possible opportunity in your daily life.
Let me share how I dealt with my impossible set of tasks. I am someone who wants to read every blog I come across, note down all the lists of books you should read in this lifetime, catch up with everything thats there about social media, keep noting insane number of ideas for blog posts and generally have a lot of things that I want to do. As a result, my to-do list is never ending! And then the frustration builds and the feeling of being forever incompetent. I had to get out of this vicious circle.
The first thing that I did, of course, was to analyze my plan or to-do list. I brutally erased the long list of bookmarked blogs and lists of must read books. They were unrealistic goals. Lets just accept that in this era of information explosion, there is more information that you can catch up with. So, do we give up? No! I analyzed the rest of it and zeroed in on the possible and necessary items.
And then I revamped my plan to make it work better. It just made sense to tone down my ambitions to be able to pursue them actively. I have a longer to-do list which covers everything that needs to be done. And then I have a smaller one that preferably has no more than 4 items to be dealt with on that particular day. So instead of worrying about all the pending things, I just have those things to focus on and it seems a lot easier to finish them.
And I do this as I pursue it actively. I open links that I can read right then. I have stopped adding them to bookmarks for later consumption. It just doesn’t work! If I stray too much, I politely bring myself back to the task at hand and continue reading what’s pertinent to my current research and let go of the rest as material too much for this life. I never open any list of must read recommendations. They only add to my anxiety. I have enrolled myself in courses online. But sometimes the pace is too fast to catch up. So I download the videos and other study material before the final date of the course and cover one module per weekend. I have cut down on the number of social media sites I am going to catch up with and have about 3 most important ones I read regularly.
No matter how busy we are or how many things we want to catch up with, a little planning and a little push in the right direction can work wonders. I hope my own example has added value to how you could go about revamping and executing your own plans. Drop me a line if you need help to make your own plans. I’d love to hear from you!
Suggested activity: Reassess your plan and zero in on 3 things that you would like to achieve this week. It could be finding a book you’d like to read or finishing the on you are currently reading. Or maybe find courses in your city or online that can help you develop a particular skill you want.