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 | By Dan Cellucci

Proactive planning sets us up for success

If you’re like me, between the whirlwind that is the month of May, the volume of school activities that kick into high gear and the longing for the summertime change of pace, I reach this time of year and find myself needing to step back, take stock and take a breath.

This can be the perfect time to also take stock in our work – whether that’s in ministry, at home or another area of your life – and do some intentional planning that will help us focus, sustain motivation and set ourselves up for success in the months ahead.

Connect back to the big picture.

Whether you’ve been in your role for a few months or many years, it’s helpful to remind yourself of the “why.” Why are you serving in this role at this time? What keeps you coming back day after day? If you imagined your role in its ideal and all the possibilities of what it could be, what difference could it make? Connecting back to the big picture helps remind you of your purpose: discerning God’s call for you, assessing your energy and clarifying the gifts you uniquely bring to the table.

Setting goals.

Once you have recommitted to the “why,” set no more than 5-6 goals that will help you attend to the most important aspects of your work over the next year. These should be big enough that they will take 6-12 months to complete, and important enough that not doing them would mean you’re not fulfilling your role. Ask yourself: “Is this something I can measure? Am I motivated to accomplish them? Is it realistic and actually attainable? Is this the most relevant thing I need to be doing in my role? Is there an end date? What would it take to track this throughout the year?” Investing the time in writing goals will do wonders for your focus and energy throughout the year.

Prepare to put your plan in action.

Creating simple strategies to hold yourself accountable to a plan will help you execute it. Once your goals are set, consider printing them out and posting them where you can see them every day. Discuss them with your supervisor or peers so they can support your efforts and schedule regular check-ins with them to assess progress. Identify key milestones, anticipate pitfalls, and name values that will help you persevere when things get hard.

Whether you are still regaining your footing after a busy season or already picturing your much-needed summer vacation, having goals lends natural prioritization to your work. Your energy will also get a boost when you know you are spending time on the things that matter most.

Dan Cellucci is the CEO of the Catholic Leadership Institute.

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