Creating a Plan
Stephen Covey, a motivational speaker and the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has said that you need to set goals with the end in mind. In other words, you need to look at what you want in your life and set goals in that context. If you do this, you will set goals that you really do want to achieve.
Visualize what you want. Do you really want to live off-grid? Do you want to have a more self-sufficient lifestyle? Do you want to escape from the nine-to-five rat race? Do you want a simpler, more environmentally friendly life? Do you really want it?
Here are some steps to help you turn your desire of living off-grid into a reality.
Begin with a Dream
All personal goals begin with a dream and a desire. You want to get out of debt. You want to live a simpler life. You want to be able to spend more time with your family. You want to be sure your children are growing up in a safe environment. You want to be able to see the stars at night. Think about your dream. Visualize your dream. And visualize yourself in the dream.
Now you have the dream and you can picture yourself living it. Your next step is to figure out how you can implement the idea. Get a notepad and start jotting down all of the ways you can realize the dream. Do you need to get out of debt? Do you need to increase your skill sets? Do you need to become more physically fit?
Once you’ve finished writing down your ideas, prioritize them. What really has to come first before you do anything else? Put that one at the top of the list. Then go through the list and prioritize the rest of the ideas. When you have finished prioritizing, go back to the top of the list and set a goal of when you want to have that first priority completed. You can actually set goals for the first three priorities. Set realistic goals, but goals that will make you work hard to achieve them. Set these goals as long term (six months or more), medium term (three to six months), and short term (in a matter of weeks).
Make Your Goals Personal
It’s important to have family goals and you should have your family come together to discuss their ideas about living off-grid. But to begin with, you need to concentrate on your own personal goals, especially the goals in the areas where you have to make changes. Whether you need to curtail your spending habits, lose weight, or gain control of your finances, you are the only one who can decide whether your goal is important enough to make you want to change your habits. You are the one who will decide to take the first step. You will be your best cheerleader.
Write Your Goals Down
Visualization is a powerful tool. Many athletes say they use visualization when they have to accomplish a difficult task. One Olympics-winning pole-vaulter said he would always visualize himself jumping three feet higher than he needed, and he would always do well. You need to visualize yourself completing your goals. Take the time to write down your goals, but do more than just jot down a sentence. Take the time to describe how you will feel when those goals are accomplished. Take the time to write down how you will feel when you’ve lost the extra 25 pounds or when you’ve received the notice in the mail that lets you know your mortgage is paid and you own your home free and clear. Write about how important the accomplishment of these goals is to you.
Be Specific with Your Goals
When you are specific with your goals, you are letting your mind know that you are serious. “I will get out of debt” is a nice goal, but “I will have no credit card debt and all of my other payments will be up to date in six months” is much more specific and quantified. Think about the details of your goals. Write down exactly what you want and when you want it. Don’t be vague—be as specific as possible.
Make sure that each of your goals has a specific deadline for its completion. Mark those dates on your calendar, so you clearly see how many days you have left to accomplish your task. If the goal is a long-term goal, set up some shorter-term benchmark dates to see how you are doing. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds in six months, have short-term goals of 5 pounds a month. This will help keep your goal manageable and will give you opportunities to succeed.
Visualize Your Goals
Have you ever seen a movie or a cartoon where someone is lost in the desert and they think they see an oasis and struggle toward it? Often, it happens when they have just about given up, then it appears on the horizon. It gives them enough renewed hope to access some inner strength when they didn’t think they had any left and to move forward.
You need the same kind of motivation to access your inner strength. You need visual reminders of not only your goals, but your rewards. Use a screen saver on your computer with a picture of the off-grid home of your dreams, or the outfit you want to purchase once you’ve lost the 30 pounds. Have a calendar in your office with photos of gardening. Have something out in the open, whether it’s your computer screen or on your refrigerator door, that reminds you of what you are trying to accomplish and why you are trying to accomplish it.
Decide today that you are going to accomplish your goals, and have faith that you will do it. Don’t allow self-doubt to pull you back. Know that you can do this! You have the knowledge, you have the willpower, and you have the determination. You can and will succeed. Have faith and a positive attitude. The power of positive thinking is amazing! It will help you get to where you want to be.
You have your dreams, you have your goals, and now you need to think about your strategy. Strategy encompasses the tactics you will use to achieve your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to lose weight, one strategy might be to make sure there are no snack foods in your house. Another strategy might be to park the car farther away from the office or the store, so you have to exercise a little more each day. When you plan your strategy, think about your goals and ask yourself, “How am I going to accomplish this?”
Just as you did with your goals, write down your strategies and incorporate them into your life. Soon you will have reached your goals and will move on to realize your dreams.
Remember, you can accomplish whatever you set out to do. It’s within your reach—you just need to take the first step.