Reinvent The Future Archives - Ricky Reemer

Category Archives for Reinvent The Future

How to Make a New Year Plan That Actually Works

If you want your new year plans to stick, a faint hearted and unstructured attempt won’t cut it. A focused and structured enquiry into where you really are and where you’re really going, will. 

When I was 17 I was sitting in my back garden at the beginning of the new year. It must’ve been freezing so I’m not sure why! But there I was... I wanted to change my life. I’d just left school and it had been an utter disaster. 5 years of living hell! I had an instinctive urge and I followed it. I wanted to organise my brain, analyse my my problems, think about my ideas, reflect on my friendships. I’d never done anything like that before but the idea gripped me. I bought a notebook and sat in a cafe for an entire day, just thinking and writing. I discovered that day the power of writing down my thoughts. I found I could think clearly for the first time in my life. With a pen and paper I could trap the important thoughts on a page, isolate them, prioritise them and delve deeply into them. It took me places. I made my first ever new year plan and it changed my life forever. It was so successful that I’ve done it ever since, gradually perfecting the process. I’ll share with you how I do it today…

There are 5 steps:

  1. Make time and space
  2. Think about who you are becoming
  3. List and prioritise your goals
  4. Plan each goal intelligently
  5. Decide on your habits

Make time and space

It takes time to make a good plan. It just does. That first time I took a day, today I take a week. I book a little holiday somewhere every January and just think through my life. You don’t need to be as extreme as me, but you do need to give it some serious headspace! A half-hearted attempt is pointless. I’ve found there’s something particularly effective in changing your environment. That first time a local cafe was good enough… this January I flew to Tenerife! Something happens to us when we get away. I can’t explain it fully, but it opens us up somehow. Being somewhere new releases all sorts of inner restrictions and constraints at a very subconscious level and this makes fertile ground for transformational planning. If you can’t get away though, do whatever you can to make genuine time and space. This process will demand a full day of uninterrupted focus at the absolute minimum. 

Think about who you are becoming

Before you start thinking about what you want to achieve, take a moment to realise where you are, who you are, what’s been going on for you this last year and who you are now becoming. What’s important to you now? How are you going to show up in your life? What will you no longer tolerate? What sort of contribution do you want to make in the world? Take stock, contemplate and write.

List and prioritise your goals

Make a list of the big, important things you want to achieve this year - in life and in work - and then number them in order of priority. They should be clear and compelling goals, outcomes, results. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many and don’t dream up impossible ones either. Just get real with yourself about what’s actually important at this point in your life.

Plan each goal intelligently

  1. Think (and write if necessary): Thinking about your goals is hard, but the further you can delve into your mind the more intelligent your actions will be. It can help to write about and around your goal before actually planning it. Look at your goal and ask yourself “what is this really all about?”. Send that question into your mind as you would a web search… and write down what comes back. 
  2. Get clear on the end game: Before making any plans, it’s crucial you have the end game right. So close your eyes and visualise what this will be like when it’s done. Forget about how you’re going to get there, just see the end game and write down a few bullet points that describe it. When you read it back it should energise, motivate and compel you. 
  3. Consider your resources: What resources do you have available to help with this? What things and people can you draw on to support you? List them.
  4. Make an action plan: Now, carefully think through the things you are going to have to do in order to achieve your goal. Take your time and do your best. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the perfect plan; you will learn as you go. But you should end up with a ordered list of things to do. When you’re done, check the list against your end game… does it get you there?

Decide on your habits

Imagine this plan you’re making is a magnificent house. If the goals are the floors, then the habits are the structural foundations. You must have strong foundations, and the right foundations, if you are to successfully erect your magnificent house, floor by floor. There are two types of habit: new positive behaviours you want to promote, and old negative behaviours you want to restrict. Let’s say one of your goals is to further your education in world history. And let’s say you spend an unhealthy amount of time browsing the internet looking at useless nonsense (not talking about me, of course!). You may want two new habits: 1) restrict pointless web browsing, and 2) promote regular reading. Generally speaking, you should have habits that support your mind (e.g. reading), your body (e.g. running) and your soul (e.g. meditating). You don’t want too many habits, though, or it will become overwhelming... so choose wisely.

Good luck with your planning… and let me know how you get on in the comments!

The First 4 Steps To Transform Your Life

Making the decision to transform your life is the most thrilling, exhilarating and downright terrifying thing you’ll ever do...

Just thinking about it will bring your darkest fears and your deepest desires to the surface, all at the same time in hot and wild mix of emotion. And, of course, most people can’t handle that. So while many flirt with the idea of massive change few ever really do it. But some do. Some manage to summon enough strength to make the stomach-churning decisions that change the course of their lives forever. And those people never look back. Because however difficult the process may be it always beats that awful dread. That deep knowing that something isn’t right. That inner conflict that rages silently when you know you’re going against your own soul. So, whilst life-changing decisions are indeed tough and gruelling, there is nothing more fulfilling, nothing more worthwhile, than living your life with true conviction and genuine purpose.

To truly change your life, to live your purpose, to overcome those self-sabotaging patterns, to believe in yourself, to cut out what doesn’t serve you, to go for your heart’s desires... we’re talking about an enormous endeavour which requires grit, time and a wicked strategy. But as a wise man once said, “well begun is half done”… and so this article is about how to take those first few steps on solid ground. So that you don’t fall at the first hurdle. So, I’ll cover each step and then provide a series of questions which you can answer in your journal. If you answer each question sincerely, you’ll have everything you need to take the first steps towards transforming your life… successfully.

There are 4 steps:

  1. Stop ignoring the problem and figure out what’s really wrong
  2. Get crystal clear on what it is you truly desire in life
  3. Figure out what and who you should use to help you change things
  4. Take significant action

Stop ignoring the problem and figure out what’s really wrong

We human beings have an amazing ability to lie… to ourselves. Ever stayed in a relationship far too long? Even though you knew it was doomed did you lie to yourself that there was a chance? Ever stayed in a job far too long? Even though you knew it went against your very soul did you lie to yourself that it was for the best? Ever been overweight for far too long? Even though you knew it was dragging you into a pit of despair did you lie to yourself that you weren’t that fat? The truth is that life is tough… it’s really bloody difficult. And very often we’re just trying to stay afloat. We just haven’t the capacity to deal with our demons. We can’t justify the time and focus required, given everything else that’s going on. It’s just too much! And so denial sets in and the years go by. They fly by. And whilst we’re trying to stay afloat on the surface, underneath an ocean of trapped emotion boils. Because we know. We know because a dark and dreadful feeling lurks. A feeling deep deep down that something is just not right. A feeling that we cannot seem to get rid of. A feeling that we cannot explain to people. A feeling that only we know about. This is the feeling that comes when you go against your own soul. And while it may cause anxiety and depression, it’s actually your friend. Because it’s trying to wake you up. It’s trying to show you that things aren’t right and that you need to make a change. It’s trying to steer you towards happiness… but you can’t see that when you’re resisting and blocking it. But luckily for you it will lurk, fester and provoke you until things get bad enough that you are forced to listen, forced to investigate, forced to act. And that moment is called a tipping point. The moment at which you decide you have to do something. The moment you decide you can’t go another day like this. For me it happened one night in bed in the early hours. I remember sitting bolt upright, wide awake, throwing off the covers and making a pact with myself. I was going to change things and change them big. I didn’t know how, I just knew that it would be big. Because I had to. Nothing else mattered anymore. This was about my life and the fundamental direction of it. And that’s where it begins… the tipping point comes when the fear of screwing your life up becomes greater than the fear of disrupting the status quo. So we must stop ignoring the problem and figure out what’s really wrong. What’s the thing deep deep down that’s ruining your life? What has to change?

In your journal answer the following questions:

  1. Describe the big problem in your life?
  2. How is this situation affecting the rest of your life? What impact does it have on your work, your finances, your relationships, your body, your mental and emotional state? Get into as detail about how this is affecting you. Tell it like it really is.
  3. Why is it so important to finally get this resolved? If this doesn’t get sorted, what will your life look like 10 years from now? What will be the state of your work, your finances, your relationships, your body, your mental and emotional state, etc.?

Get crystal clear on what it is you truly desire in life

Just as you know deep deep down what’s wrong, you also know deep deep down what’s right. Just beyond the darkness there is a light. It’s what you truly desire, what you long for. Perhaps you have a vision. Perhaps you’ve secretly had it for a long time but just never explored or expressed it. Whatever it is will be terrifying and exhilarating to think about... because of what it might mean. Because of what people might think. Or because of what you might have to do, or change, or break, or become. But you must investigate. You simply must. You must spend time and energy exploring your heart’s desire because it will lead you out of the darkness and save your life. Don’t concern yourself at this stage with what it might mean, what the implications might be, or how you might go about doing it... just explore and discover and clarify what it is you really want. Paint the picture clearly in your mind and write about it.

In your journal answer the following questions:

  1. Describe the outcome you really want in detail. How will it look? How will it feel? What will it be like?
  2. Why is this so important to you? What is the purpose of pursuing this outcome?
  3. When it’s done, when you have your outcome, how will it affect the other areas of your life? What impact will it have on your work, your finances, your relationships, your body, your mental and emotional state? Get into as much detail about how this will affect the rest of your life.

Figure out what and who you should use to help you change things

“Be careful whose advice you buy”.... I always remember that line from Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen song. And it’s never truer than when you’re taking the first steps toward transforming your life. Unfortunately, those closest to you may not be able to support you in your transformation. This is because you may not be able to fully articulate what’s going on for you… yet. Because you’re still in that early-stage hot and wild mix of emotion you may scare them. They may worry about you. They may think you’re doing the wrong thing. And worse still, you might end up believing them. Other people can’t see or understand what’s happening deep down in your soul. Only you can. Only you know just how important this really is. But... there are those who’ve been there before you. There are those who’ve stood at their own precepise, who’ve lept forth and who’ve lived to tell the tale. Indeed there are many. And whilst the world is full of charlatans, it is also full of inner heros. People who understand what it is to follow their heart’s desires and who will gladly support you in your transformation. Finding the right person, the right method, the right book or the right programme is a watershed moment. It’s like a light bulb switching on. Suddenly you can see a way forward. There’s a huge rush of exhilaration as you realise you’ve stumbled across something truly priceless. So, let your gut be your barometre and seek out support. What and who can help you navigate towards your outcome… towards your new vision… towards your new life?

In your journal answer the following questions:

  1. What might you have to research and learn about in order to achieve your outcome?
  2. What and who can you draw on to support you in pursuing your outcome?

Take significant action

In the end it’s indecision that’ll get you. You can face up to your big problem, you can get clear on what it is you truly want, you can seek out the best help… but if you do nothing, nothing will happen. It’s incredibly sad, but this is why so many people fail. They get all the way up to the edge but just won’t step over. Because it’s scary. Because the fear of the unknown is so incredibly powerful. Will the rope hold? Will you panic? Will you fall to your death? But remember: the tipping point comes when the fear of screwing your life up becomes greater than the fear of disrupting the status quo. Really, the question is can you afford to stay where you are? Can you really live with the consequences of failing to act? There’s very little anyone can do for you here… you either will or you won’t. But unless you have that difficult conversation, or you write that business plan, or you enroll in that course, or you commit to that diet, or you quit that job, or whatever it is… you will stay at the edge and that dark and haunting feeling with remain there with you. But... you can take small steps, so long as they are real steps. The path to achieving your outcome will likely contain key milestones or stages. For example, if your outcome is to run your own business there are various stages to that... like writing a business plan, and organising finance, and getting your first client, and quitting your job, and so on. And those milestones should come in a logical sequence. And so your first significant action towards transformation should get you to at least the first milestone.

In your journal answer the following questions:

  1. What are the key milestones toward your outcome?
  2. What action can you take that will take you to the next milestone?
  3. When will you do this?

And so there you have it… a solid method to begin what may be biggest project of your life.  I wish you well on your journey. Know that many have gone before you and that the world is full of inner heros. There are people and methods and all manner of things out there to support you. Just stop ignoring the problem and figure out what’s really wrong. Then get crystal clear on what it is you truly desire. Then figure out what and who you can use to help you. And then take significant action. If you do all that you’ll be well on your way towards transforming your life.