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Key strategies to plan and achieve your dreams

Plan the things you want to be grateful for in the future and make them come true.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. This article was updated on November 22, 2019

Instead of being 'stressed out' about setting your resolutions this year, you should be reflecting on your accomplished goals, that is, on the new things you learned, the people you met to (now) set new goals that will lead you to a better year than the last.


Or is it that you feel stagnant and while everyone advances and everything changes, you remain the same? If so, it is because you have probably never done a personal strategic planning of your year.

All successful people have some kind of end-of-the-year ritual or habit.

As a businessman and entrepreneur, I know that planning is of the utmost importance for our companies. Every year I meet with my partners and work teams to carry out an annual strategic planning of each company and reflect a little on the achievements. But it was only a few years ago that it occurred to me to do the same for my personal life.

Strategic planning is defined as a systematic process for developing and implementing plans to achieve specific goals or objectives.

It was originally developed for military affairs and later migrated to business and corporate. I have applied strategic planning in my companies for several years, however, it was only recently that I began to apply it in my personal life and the results have been extraordinary.

Here are three strategies I use to plan for and achieve a successful year.

1. Personal strategic planning

Every year my wife and I select one or two days from the last weeks of the year that ends or the first weeks of the year that begins and we block it in our schedules to dedicate time to carry out our annual strategic planning.

If you do not have a partner you can do it alone and if you have children it can be a great opportunity to make them participate in the plans they have as a family for the following year.

Planning will be developed around three large areas that we will call life perspectives: personal, family and professional.

Once these perspectives are clear and we intentionally dedicate the necessary time, we will use two tools to develop this strategic planning: The Yearbook and the Balance Score Card.

2. The yearbook

John C. Maxwell, leadership guru and author of numerous books on personal development and success says:

“I set myself up for success by pausing and reflecting each time the end of the year approaches. I believe that an analyzed reflection can turn experience into vision. I analyze what I did in the year to have a vision of what I should do the next ”.

The yearbook is an excellent tool to reflect on what we did in the year. It has three main objectives.

1. Put in black and white our achievements, the new places we went or the new people we met.

2. Reflect on what did and did not work for us, as well as what were the lessons learned.

3. And finally, it should also function as a thank you journal. You should list the things or activities for which you feel grateful that have happened during the year.

There is a large body of research showing that being grateful has a measurable effect on achieving our goals as well as keeping you positive. It is proven that you cannot be grateful and stressed at the same time.

Therefore, the exercise will consist of the following: In a spreadsheet create three sections that correspond to the three perspectives of life.

Within each one you will include the following subcategories. From a personal perspective, you should include health and sports, hobbies, travel, tastes and preferences.

In the family perspective there should be the nuclear and the extended, and finally, in the professional perspective you will include the subcategories of work, finances, savings, growth and entrepreneurship.

The objective of this yearbook is for you to list the most important things that happened to you in the year within these categories or the things for which you are most grateful. For example, in the family perspective you could put: "our second child was born" or "we got engaged and will be married next year."

In the personal perspective you can put: "I completed my first 10k" or "I was able to change cars". And from the professional perspective, you should list things like: "They increased my salary or I am saving 10% of my monthly income or I took a certification within my company or I started my first business."

The more specific and extensive you are, the better. You can remove or add categories, but start with these and adjust them as it suits you best.

Keep saving each of these yearbooks and at the end of each year, check not only the current year but also the previous years. It will completely eliminate the feeling of stagnation and it will give you great satisfaction to see how you are achieving things no matter how small they may seem.

3. Balance Score Card

The Balance Score Card or BSC, is a tool developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton , both Harvard Business School professors, to manage the vision and strategy of companies through indicators that allow measuring and evaluating performance in different areas of the business. deal.

But nobody says that it should only apply to business. It is also an excellent tool to apply in your personal life because it allows you to set goals and measure what you are doing to reach them.

The great success of the BSC is using a methodology similar to the method for setting goals called SMART, which is an acronym for e cific S, edible M, A lcanzable, R ealista and a T ime defined.

What you have to do is the following: take the table that you previously used for the Yearbook, and where you defined the subcategories within the perspectives of life.

Within each subcategory, you must list five objectives that you would like to achieve during the year. If you get too many, set at least two important goals. Create three columns on the right side with the titles: Indicators, Goals and Initiatives.

The exercise consists in that for each subcategory within life perspectives you must have at least two objectives, which you must be able to measure with an indicator, you must set a specific goal for either short, medium or long term and finally an initiative in the form of a verb leads you to take action or a due date.

Let's look at an example. In my perspective of Family Life , within the Nuclear Family subcategory, I aim to spend more quality time with my wife (if you have children, you know what I mean), the indicator is the number of outings as a couple, the goal is to go out at least twice a month alone to the movies or to dinner, and the initiative would be: book a trip to dinner this week.

Another example would be like this: In my Personal Life perspective, within the Hobbies subcategory, one of my goals is to increase my annual reading. The indicator is the number of books read in the year. My goal is to read at least 5 books and the initiative is to read at least 20 minutes every day before going to sleep starting next Monday.

How can you tell when dividing a big goal into small goals becomes much more achievable, reading 5 books may sound overwhelming, but reading 20 minutes every day I assure you not, also surely you already do, but reading Facebook before bed .

I invite you to this year not only dedicate yourself to planning your company for success, but also your personal life. We need to have a clear vision of the goals we want to reach and why we want to reach them.

Successful people are always one step ahead and that means planning the things you want to be grateful for and excited to have accomplished within a year.

If you already have the habit of planning, tell me how you do it. And if you liked the strategies that I use, I invite you to download the template that I use to do my annual planning for free .

If you are interested in knowing more about entrepreneurship, leadership and business, I invite you to continue reading more articles like this one at Entrepreneur.com or by visiting my blog Lideremprendedor.com .