Look Behind to Plan Ahead


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How is your five-year plan progressing? How about your New Year’s resolution? By now, some of us may not even remember what our New Year’s resolution was. You know, sadly there are many resolution or dreams that never become reality. Research from the University of Scranton showed that only 8% of Americans successfully achieve their New Year’s resolution. So if you’ve already forgotten what your resolution was, you’re certainly not alone.

So, why do so many plans and pledges fail? John Maxwell, in a recent blog, suggested a solution. As he puts it, “Making resolutions or goals that are disconnected from your current habits and recent experience often doesn’t work.” Very simply, if you never examine your past habits, your future experience will rarely change.

Here are a few steps John suggests that you can take to evaluate your past. I’ll share them along with some of my own thoughts.

First, jot down significant points from the past.  Grab your calendar, your journal, your notepad, and a cup of coffee. Now begin by writing down special events or recurring meetings including the ones you cancelled on a regular basis. Then record major decision points, accomplishments, or failures as well as the events that led up to them. Finally, note the various tasks that you completed or never got round to doing along with your daily chores.

After you’ve jotted those down, evaluate your list. The best way to evaluate what you’ve written down is by asking questions. What shouldn’t be on this list? Is there something missing from this calendar? What caused the greatest change in who I am and what I do? What did I do that helped empower other people? What do I need to be more intentional in my life? These types of questions will begin to unlock your experiences. So come up with a  good list of questions and be bold and honest with yourself when you answer them.

Finally, make future plans according to your evaluation. If you have repeatedly cancelled your workout sessions, deciding to hit the gym every Friday is probably pointless. However, understanding why you cancelled them gives you the insight necessary to effect change to your daily habits. That knowledge empowers your resolution to get in shape by Thanksgiving. If you want to quit a bad habit, you need to examine when and where your previous attempts to quit failed. By examining those situations closely, you can will understand how to move forward.

By evaluating your past, especially in written form, you are better prepared to plan for your future.

Thanks for checking out my blog. I pray this has encouraged and empowered you as you continue to discover your personal Divine Design. Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments below. Thanks again and have a great day!