I Need More Life In My Life

Month 2: Lessons on planning ahead

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Ok, where did June go? There’s still a week until July but this month has flown by. I don’t feel I’ve made a huge amount of progress but I have learnt a lot, particularly around doing research, getting specific and planning ahead.

Understand what needs to happen for your goals to be completed

Last week I was in Devon and I had hoped to tick stargazing off my list. I was pretty excited to realise that of 20 certified Dark Sky Reserves (specifically protected public or private land with exceptional quality of starry nights) in the world, there are 8 in the UK. One of those eight was in Exmoor National Park, which was about an hour’s drive from where I was staying.

What I hadn’t considered was the full moon which was due on the first day we stargazed. Further research also told me summer isn’t the ideal time to stargaze as the sky stays brighter for longer.

We still sat out on the beach over several evenings to see the sky. Although there were a few stars, the moon’s brightness made it difficult to see much else. It made me question, did we really stargaze if we didn’t have the clearest view? Technically yes I suppose, but I still feel a bit cheated.

So lesson number one; decide what needs to happen for you to know you’ve achieved your goal. Is it enough to sit outside even if you don’t see stars or do you need to buy a telescope, see some constellations and get the picture as proof?

Think about the end goal and work back from there

Continuing the thought above, define what your end goal is first and work back from there. If you know what conditions need to be met, then you have advance warning of what to consider, work around or plan for.

Had I researched this far enough in advance, I might have chosen to stay in Devon another time when the moon was less bright. Or maybe I wouldn’t have changed anything but would have known to plan a second trip another time. Once the goal is defined, do your research and make an informed plan of how and when is best to achieve it.

Have a clearly structured, manageable overall plan

Speaking of plans, make sure it’s clear and manageable and accounts for changes in routine. I know this is important but I’m still working on taking my own advice with this one. With 30 goals to juggle, it’s easy to get overwhelmed (and I do at times). If you’re like me and jump straight in, know that having a considered overall plan will help in the long run.

In last month’s INMLIML blog, I wrote about my inconsistency around running in particular. My running routine has improved but several other long term goals also need consistent attention. At the moment, I’m only focussing on one, two or a few things at a time. While I have a plan for specific goals, there’s no overview of how working towards all the goals will work together… yet.

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