January is planning season. Business owners, in particular, love to use this time to reflect on the past year, evaluate our losses, celebrate our wins, and plan how we are going to do it all differently in the coming year.

I love planning. In fact, it is a key component of the work I do with my clients. As Winston Churchill said: “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

A plan without action based on that plan renders it moot, though, doesn’t it?

You’d think this would be obvious, and I think it is for most of us, at least intellectually. Why, then, do some plan, but then fail to execute on the plan, no matter how compelling their goals?

I have often wondered how many of us use “planning” as a distraction from doing—a way of putting off the hard stuff for one more day, week or even months.

The longer we research, analyze, chart, graph and consult others, the longer we protect ourselves from the possibility of failure. The deeper we immerse ourselves in the planning process, the longer we are safe. We can focus on all the possibilities without fear of failure. We can fantasize about how great it’s all going to be when we finally get around to executing. Fantasies allow us to experience the feelings we desire without all that nasty risk. That’s why they are so popular.

Is it possible some of us, sometimes, perhaps on an unconscious level, use planning as a means of procrastination? I think so.

It this stings a bit, then maybe there is some truth in it for you as well.

So, am I saying to throw out your plan with the painful truth? Absolutely not!

What I AM saying is, if you love to plan, research and analyze to the point of paralysis, and you feel reluctant to leave the comfort of “one day” and “what if” for the challenge of “now” and “let’s do it!” then maybe you need to take a deeper look at why.

What is holding you back from taking intentional action on your plan? Is it…

·Fear of being seen?

·Fear of failure?

·Fear of looking stupid?

·Fear of loss?

·Fear of judgment (other people’s and your own worst critic)?

·Or something else?

Until you tackle your fears head-on you likely will stay stuck in the planning season, never experiencing, to any degree, the joys of the learning season, the growth season, or the glory season. How sad would that be?! To deprive the world of your awesomeness all because you can’t get out of your own head long enough to show up for others?

If you are ready to move on and move into action, here are five tips to get you started:

1.Add deadlines. No plan is complete without deadlines attached. Outlines and to-do lists are not enough. For every step of your plan (not just the big finale), set a deadline and then stick to it. Deadlines are the secret weapon of those who are excellent at execution. My clients will tell you my catch phrase is: “It if doesn’t get on the calendar, it doesn’t get done. If it does get on the calendar, it definitely gets done.”

2.Start small. Don’t focus on the monumental task before you, just take the first, small step. After you take that one, take another, and so on and so forth. What is the VERY first thing you need to do to implement the most desired goal? Is it to call someone? To write something down? To send a message? Most people struggle with implementation because they rush past the first very important steps, or they don’t break the actions items down in small, achievable chunks.

3.Involve other people. The more people involved and counting on you, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable to continue making progress toward your goal. Other people may be able to help you by offering sound advice, connecting you with others who can help, or taking on some of the tasks. There are numerous ways people can help so don’t be afraid to ask.

4.Ask for support, guidance and accountability from a professional coach who has “been there, done that” and who can help you learn how to implement and hold yourself accountable. The best coaches are ones who believe in you while they are teaching you to believe in yourself!

5.Celebrate successes along the way. Get hooked on the satisfaction of accomplishing each little milestone along your journey. It will make the whole process of implementing your goals more fun. Don’t save all your joy for the “big payday;” spend it along the way.

If you would like my help to get off the dime and into action creating a business that supports the lifestyle of your dreams, I invite you, now, to schedule a consultation with me. It’s free, and it could lead to ideas you’ve never before considered. I can’t wait to meet you! Click here to schedule.

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