Why Create a 90-Day Plan?

What is the purpose of creating a 90-day plan?

In my book, I talk about choosing one idea to work on over a 30-day period. That’s a good time frame to test out my 5-step process, especially if you’re doing this on your own.

But I’ve chosen to use 90 days when I work with my clients. Here’s why:

  1. 90 days, or 3 months, is a time frame commonly used by businesses to break down their fiscal year and create sales or financial goals for each quarter. You can use this time frame for personal goals as well to make them more manageable.
  2. 90 days helps you to develop new habits. It has been said that it takes 21 days to break a habit or create a new one. Studies have shown that it can actually take longer than that, so 90 days gives you more time to reinforce these new habits.
  3. 90 days also allows you to see progress. Depending on your goal, you may not see much happen after 30 days. But by constantly working at something over 90 days – doing one small task everyday to keep you focused – you will really begin to see your ideas or goals coming to life. Whether you’ve completely achieved your goal or not, seeing the progress you’ve made at the end of 90 days gives you something celebrate.

So, what can you accomplish in 90 days?

If you’re ready to create your 90-day plan, you can download my worksheets to help you get started. And if you need someone to help you stay on track with your plan and keep you accountable, I would love to work with you!

3 Important Questions

There are three important questions you need to keep in mind as you work towards achieving your idea or goal:

1. WHY?

To help you to clarify your purpose, ask yourself: “Why do I want to achieve this particular idea or goal? Why is it important to me?”

If you feel stuck or notice yourself drifting off course, why aren’t things going as planned? Maybe you’re avoiding certain tasks. If so, why?

2. WHY NOT?

As you do regular check-ins, or Reality Checks, you may discover that you haven’t done something you planned to do. Ask yourself, “why not?”

Identifying the reasons behind any setbacks can help you make course corrections so you can continue moving forward.

3. HOW?

Once you’ve formed a clear picture of your idea or goal, you might be wondering, “How am I going to make it happen? How am I going to overcome any obstacles along the way?”

(Well… by creating an action plan!)

Asking yourself these three important questions will give you the best chance of successfully achieving your idea or goal.

Looking at the Big Picture

Before you get into the details of creating your action plan, take a look at the big picture to identify the idea or goal you want to achieve.

Figure out what you want to change in your business, career or personal life.

Have you tried to do something in the past, but were unsuccessful? Why not try again?

Are you living the life you dream of? What do you want your life to look like? This process is about living your life by design, not by default.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself outside your comfort zone.

Once you’ve identified your idea or goal, you need a starting point and a destination.

Your starting point is where you are now. Knowing this will help you to set reasonable expectations for yourself.

Your destination is where you want to be. If you don’t know your destination, you’ll drift around aimlessly. You can’t create an action plan if you don’t know where you’re going.

Together, these two things will determine how far you need to go to get where you want to be. They will also help you to decide if your idea or goal is realistic.

What Does an Action Plan Look Like?

In a previous post, I talked about five steps that are the framework for your action plan. But what does an action plan look like?

I’ve created a series of 10 worksheets to help you build your action plan. You can download them for free.

Your action plan is where you set up your tasks, budget and schedule to achieve your idea or goal. It can get more complicated than that, but this is a good place to start.

To keep things simple for now, I would recommend starting with the following four worksheets:

The first one, called THINKING SMART, is where you will define your idea or goal so you know exactly what it is you want to achieve.

The second worksheet you’ll need is the CALL TO ACTION. List all of the tasks you need to do to achieve your desired outcome.

The BUDGET is the third worksheet I recommend using to identify any costs involved.

And finally, the fourth worksheet is the WEEKLY TASK SCHEDULE. Take all of the tasks you listed on the Call to Action and put them in your schedule - one task per day - to keep you moving forward.

You can also check out my book for a step-by-step guide to creating your action plan.

5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

I want to share a five-step process with you. This process is about turning your ideas into reality; it's about goal achievement, not just setting goals; and basically, it's about getting stuff done. These 5 steps are the framework for your action plan.

So... here we go!

STEP 1 - Begin with the End in Mind

The first step is about defining your idea or goal. What is the specific outcome you want to achieve? Why is it important to you?

STEP 2 - Success is in the Details

Step 2 is where you start planning how you will achieve the specific outcome you identified in Step 1. Break down the work into manageable tasks, set a budget and create a schedule.

STEP 3 - Take Action  

Gather your resources and get to work! Maybe you need some people to help you achieve your idea or goal. Build your team, choose an accountability partner and then start putting your plan into action.

STEP 4 - Keep It on Track  

Prevent yourself from drifting off course by doing regular check-ins or Reality Checks. These help you to monitor your progress and stay on track.

STEP 5 - Celebrate Your Success! 

Whether you've achieved your desired outcome or not, you need to celebrate! Celebrating reminds you that you've accomplished something and provides motivation for future projects. Take some time to acknowledge the work you've done.

If you would like to know more about this process, you can purchase a copy of my book which is available through my website. You can also connect with me on my website and I would be happy to answer any questions you have!

A Business About Ideas

This post was originally published on July 1, 2015.

I have to admit that I haven’t always been the type of person to act on my ideas. I would dream about running my own business, but I didn’t have the guts to do it. I was happy to work for someone else and put my dream on the backburner. Just the thought of preparing a business plan was enough to overwhelm me. I spent many years working in jobs where I needed to react quickly, but they didn't give me much experience with planning ahead. For example, I worked in a homeless shelter where I frequently had to take a reactive approach to situations, breaking up fights and dealing with conflict on a regular basis. I quickly learned how to think on my feet. It was chaotic and sometimes it felt like every time I turned around, there would be another fire to put out (on occasion, it was an actual fire).

When I lost my job, it gave me a chance to slow down and think about what I wanted to do next with my life. I knew that I couldn’t keep working in jobs where I was reacting to problems over and over again. It was exhausting. There had to be a better way of doing things. I needed a career that would allow me to think ahead and create a plan to get things done. This was when I discovered project management – a system of organizing thoughts and ideas, planning how to do things efficiently, and bringing ideas to life. It was a different mindset for me. It was proactive – the opposite of what I was used to.

I decided to use the project management process to put my idea in motion – I was finally going to start my own business. I wanted to educate small business owners about how to create an action plan with project management. As I developed templates and teaching materials, my business idea started to come together. I began doing short presentations to networking groups and after a while, someone asked me to teach them how to create an action plan for their business. They knew a few other people who would be interested in learning as well. This opportunity turned into a 3-hour workshop for 8 people… and then a second workshop for 5 more people. I was onto something!

My business has now grown into a few different services. If you are ready to make changes in your business, career or personal life, I would love to help you create your action plan. Let’s start turning your ideas into reality!