Let's face it, if you do that kind of thing, you're lucky to dash off a few nebulous pledges on the morning of January 1st, much less 3 months out.
Leadership expert John Maxwell in his book Thinking for a Change says his yearly planning process is actually a 15-month exercise.
In other words, he doesn't look 12 months into the future, he peers 15 months down the road.
This makes a lot of sense, especially when you realize that very few things in life fit nicely into rigid time frames. Here are two reasons to consider a 15-month calendar.
1. It allows you to look farther out into the future, projecting not only what you hope to accomplish, but what resources you will need to make it all happen. That could trigger a lot of spending and saving decisions.
2. It forces you to ask some questions that you otherwise might not consider, and doing so can help kick-start your creativity. You can't solve a problem you don't even know exists, but the longer calendar helps you envision problems and challenges long before they have a chance to develop.
So, under the 15-month plan, think of October 1st is an early New Year's day. Set your resolutions today. Start thinking today about what you want 2011 to look like, where you want to lead your team or organization, what goals you want to accomplish.
Starting today actually gives you a head start on your "New Year's" resolutions. You can join the gym early or start that diet early and lose some of that weight even before January. How great is that?
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