7 For some people this practical level makes the challenge manageable For

7 for some people this practical level makes the

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7
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For some people, this practical level makes the challenge manageable. For others, it might make the challenge seem too modest. If you’re in this latter group, it’s worth remembering that initial, focused change can give way to yet other specific changes. Students often report back that their initial small steps eventually led to a much larger cascade of changes in behaviors, perceptions, and outcomes. Implementation There are a few other common features of successful planning and personal development that we’d like to highlight. To help motivate themselves, many students find it helpful to include a description of the benefits of executing the plan (how things will be better for them if they can achieve their goal) as well as the costs of not executing the plan (how things will be worse for them if they don’t achieve their goal). Writing this out in some form often helps students clarify why this is worth pursuing. The resulting motivation can increase the likelihood of success. Some students also have found it helpful to share their plans for action with at least one trusted friend, family member or mentor. “Going public” with a plan can help ensure that you follow through, as that person will be asking about it. Another practice that can be effective is a “pre-mortem exercise.” This involves looking into the future and imagining that a plan has failed or that a goal has not been achieved. The idea is to stimulate thinking ahead of time about what might cause a plan to fail. Accordingly, some students address the question “Assume I have failed to achieve my goal—what’s the most likely reason why that would have happened?” Thinking the answers through can help modify the plan. In some cases, students realize they are being too complex or ambitious. In other cases, this exercise illuminates something new about what’s really driving behavior – something that the action plan/initial in-depth analysis did not address. It’s not necessary to write about a pre-mortem exercise in your worksheet, but it’s definitely worth thinking about after initially sketching your plan. What’s the most likely reason you might fail to achieve your goal? And is there something you can adjust about your plan that would limit the likelihood of failure? Final thoughts Candid analysis of one’s strengths and weaknesses isn’t easy. And growth doesn’t necessarily come quickly or without setbacks. But many of the best leaders show high levels of self-awareness and are able to leverage this awareness into continually improving. This helps them set themselves up to succeed. The purpose of this project is to help you get closer to achieving the long-term goals that will most fulfill you. We sincerely hope you find the effort personally worthwhile! 8
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