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Sticking to your Plan
Creating a plan is no easy task. It takes immeasurable amounts of time, energy, and focus.
But now you have finished creating your plan with a clear outline of what you want to do and an understanding of why you want to do it, way to go! You may be feeling excited and ready to implement it, or you may be feeling a bit stalled. Either way, that’s okay! Sticking to a plan can be incredibly challenging.
Why do we sometimes struggle with sticking to our plans? There can be many reasons, and a lot of those reasons may be unique to our personal circumstances. We may experience new and changing priorities either at work or at home, and our attention needs to be elsewhere. There may also be a lack of resources curbing our implementation plans, whether it be a lack of time, organizational support, or funding.
We may be feeling emotionally “stalled” as well. You may feel uncertain or doubtful about the plan that you created, and whether you will actually be able to implement it. Maybe that plan has some gaps and it isn’t clear where you need to start or what you need to do. Or maybe you are simply exhausted and don’t feel you have the energy or focus to move forward with the next steps.
All of these circumstances are normal and valid. It is completely common to encounter roadbumps and even some total stalls.
Once you’re ready to look at implementing your plan, here are some tips that will (hopefully!) help you stick with it:
- Review your plan regularly.
You may be getting stuck on something that is just not feasible. That’s okay! Your plan can be modified. Check for what is working and what isn’t and revise accordingly.
- Break your plan down.
Break down your plan into very small, achievable steps. You can even have stages within each step to really take those big ideas and make it something attainable.
- Set timelines.
You may want to work back from the day that you want your project to be fully implemented to ensure you have enough time for everything that you want to do. Having a timeframe for each step will help you stay focused on the task at hand.
- Write down your goals and make lists.
We often make lists in our minds, which may get lost among all the other brilliant ideas floating around in there. Write down your goals and to-do items and have them visually in front of you instead! Not only may your mind feel less crowded, but checking off items as you go and seeing what you have achieved can be very rewarding.
- Get a buddy.
Find someone who can help you stay accountable and on track. Maybe this person can also take on some pieces of the project that you don’t really need to worry about.
- Celebrate victories.
It doesn’t matter how big or small those victories are. Reward yourself and be proud to have finished another part of your plan.
- Practice selfcompassion.
Be kind to yourself. Take breaks. Give attention to other things that need your time and focus.
- Remember your why.
This is your project’s purpose. Why are you doing this project? What will happen if you don’t follow through? Is someone else impacted if it doesn’t happen? Use your “why” as a motivator to keep going.
Other Helpful Resources:
- Blog: Finding the Purpose in a Project
- Practicing SelfCare During Stressful Times
- Creating SMART Goals
Caroline Ostrom is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a Master of Education degree specializing in Counselling, as well as Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Education. Prior to joining the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Caroline’s professional experiences included crisis counselling, organizational counselling, academic support, EAP training development and learning facilitation. Caroline has been the Program Manager for Knowledge Mobilization, Opening Minds at the MHCC since 2019, and is passionate about teaching and supporting others as they create valuable change in the mental health and addictions sectors.