Once a year – normally during the Christmas holidays – I sit down for half a day to review the previous year, to adjust my dreams according to the current situation, and to plan how I can realize these long term goals. My planning horizon for this strategic planning is about 5 to 10 years into the future. This is the very big picture of my life!
To visualize my dreams, I use a simple table with the following columns:
Area of Life: This is a description of the area of my life that I am thinking about. Just to give you an idea what I am talking about, here are some examples: family, job, education, health, languages, sport, culture, finance, etc.
Dream: I try to put my dreams that are related to the respective area of my life into words. While doing this, I think about the next 5 to maximum 10 years. Examples are: “become my own boss”, “finish a marathon”, or “visit all seven continents”.
Current Situation: To define the starting position for every dream, I write down the current situation. In case of the dream “visit all continents” I have been to Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America so far.
Measures: In this column, I develop measures to close the gap from the current situation to the dream. As far as possible, I break the measures down to years to have achievable milestones. In the “visit all seven continents” context, I have to assign trips to Antarctica, Australia, and South America to the upcoming years.
While defining these dreams and measures to achieve the dreams, I try to integrate my findings from the success and the fun journal to focus on goals that are supported by my skills and talents or that will create a relevant fun factor.
In addition, I maintain something like a waiting list for dreams and ideas that come to my mind during the year and that I would like to integrate into my strategic planning during the next cycle.
How I continue with the results of the strategic planning will be described in the “Tactical planning”.