This is the second of two special guest blog posts from Ariane Trélaün of Do Your Thing.biz. Missed the first post? Click here to read "Your 2017 Plan: Why You Need One."
Around this time last year, I was talking with an astrologer the other day (true story), and she said that for her and others in her field, the new year of 2016 is not really starting until February. That would be on account of that planet Mercury turning retrograde, doncha know. For three weeks. Starting January 5. So basically the whole month. This year, it's almost the same story: Mercury went retrograde on December 1 of 2016, and only just started moving forward again on January 8th. It won't be back to its normal self until January 27th!
For astrologers and others who follow this line of thinking, Mercury turning retrograde means that communication goes askew, it’s a bad time to launch, it’s a good time to be mindful of your words, maybe slow down, incubate. Wait. So if you haven’t made your plan, you’re feeling stuck, like you need more time, the cosmos is saying, Cool. And if you’re done but feel like you’ve having a hard time getting off the ground, Mercury is saying, I feel you.
Let’s use this holding pattern, take this little pause and consider this:
Your chances of success really improve if you take the time, while you’re planning, to bombproof that shit.
And that means anticipating what could go wrong, what could derail you, what could make it impossible to hit your marks according to your beautiful plan.
I know, right? Sounds like a bit of a bummer when you’re basking in the glow of your pretty, ambitious plan for 2016 to ruminate on all the things that could go wrong, but seriously: you’ll benefit. OF COURSE, you should visualize success. Take time to do what Susan Hyatt calls pre-capping, talking as if all that you dream of has already come to pass. Imagine, express, the best case scenario. YES!
AND then, to help you get there, anticipate what could get in the way of that rosy future scenario. Strengthen your plan by making sure your bag of tricks includes exactly what you’ll need to clear those obstacles.
Tara Gentile calls this obstacle-anticipation process a pre-mortem. It’s a super-useful way to make sure that you’ve both got your eyes on the horizon and feet on the ground. You basically ensure that you can sail over whatever hurdles present themselves by knowing exactly which hurdles, how high, how often, might show up in your path.
Let’s say your goal is to eat better, healthier at home, cook more. What’s likely to go wrong with that? Speaking for myself, I can anticipate that it’s likely I’ll get tired, bored/uninspired, run out of time, get home late from work and just grab whatever’s at hand. If I really, really want to stick to that plan, then I need to ensure I have what I need, including inspiration and time, to counter those snags. So here’s a couple of tricks I’m proposing to myself:
Sign up for a healthy meal service. There are TONS of these available right now – delivery subscriptions like Blue Apron, for example, which delivers fixins’ & instructions for three meals at a time, others like Munchery that deliver prepared meals. It doesn’t have to be every single night of the week; knowing I have back-up can help, as does the novelty.
Make a new habit of cooking ahead. Real Simple magazine has a great spread in their January issue on make-ahead cooking you can accomplish in a two-hour weekend window to help you get through the week. Super useful!
Find and plan tasty slow cooker meals. I have a friend who is basically the Queen of slow-cooker recipes, so I’m leaning on her for tips and cheerleading.
What could go wrong with your plan, whatever is is? And what measures do you need to put in place to deal with those hurdles? Build them in. And then, please, start slow. Do what the astrologers are doing and act like the year’s not beginning in earnest until nearly February. Start slow, go long. It doesn’t all have to get done by January 31st. Your plan’s a long game, right? You got this.