Preparing for the 90-Day Challenge

by Mark on March 22, 2010

On last Tuesday, I announced The 90-Day Challenge. The purpose is to challenge myself and others to make some kind of radical shift in the 2nd three months of 2010. The challenge officially begins April 1 and ends June 30. I am using the time until then to prepare and plan in order to really hit the ground running.

This process is purely experimental. I have never tried anything quite like it before. I am trying to use what I have learned in bits and pieces and use this knowledge more systematically. No matter what happens, I will learn something, so it will be worthwhile.

I have broken the process down into a basic framework that I will be applying.

A Basis Framework for the 90-Day Challenge

  1. Clarify your dream. Create a long-term vision for your life. Your vision doesn’t have a deadline or specific numeric objectives. Your vision is like a movie of your life. You decide on what you really want for your life. Your vision provides a direction and a reference point that aids you in deciding what actions to take to get there.
  2. Think backwards and forwards. Even if you are clear about your dream, the path that you will need to take to get there might not be nearly as clear. Try starting with your destination and working your way backwards, year by year. Try visualizing the path that you would have taken to get there. Then work forward and see if it still makes sense. The exact path will change as you go along, but this will help you get started in the right direction.
  3. Clearly define your 90-day goals. This is where you decide specifically what you want to accomplish in the next 90 days that will move you decisively in the direction of your vision. Your goals are well-defined if it is easy to determine whether or not they have been completed. A goal to lose weight is not well defined and could be an ounce or a hundred pounds, but a goal to lose 10 lbs. is very clear.
  4. Create a preliminary action plan. It is impossible to know beforehand everything you will need to do to achieve a difficult goal, but you can still brainstorm initial ideas. As you begin to take action, you will continue to learn and be able to revise your plan as you go along.
  5. Put the plan into action. The best plan is completely useless if it isn’t put into action. This is often the most challenging part. Sometimes it is because the plan isn’t as good as we hoped and just isn’t working, but often it is because it requires overcoming old habits. Consistent action is absolutely critical to achieving challenging goals.
  6. Adapt the plan as you go along. Your initial plan will most likely need numerous revisions. There is usually a learning process involved with achieving difficult goals. As you progress along the path to your goal, you will learn more about what is required to keep progressing. This is why it is not important to know exactly how you will achieve a goal initially. Have faith that you can learn what you need to know along the way. You didn’t give up on learning how to walk or learning how to talk, so don’t give up on this either.

That’s it at a basic level.

The most important thing isn’t to get the plan perfect, because it can’t be done.

The important thing is to think, act, and repeat.

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