How to Set an Action Plan for Transitions
6 min read | Note: Take what serves/resonates with you. Leave behind the rest. Do the work.
September is coming. You know what that means.
Transitions in school, work and feels.
I too am feeling a lot right now. Because I work mostly with university students, I’m hosting more workshops and taking on new clients. And… I’m also planning on starting school FT for a coaching diploma (maybe more on that later).
If my life was a video game, this is me upleveling onto the next new realm.
The skills and knowledge that I’ve acquired will be tested. And I’m looking forward to the challenge, to see how I respond. I know I’ll do well. At the same time, I’m definitely feeling the stress, anxiety, and a little overwhelmed. What are these emotions trying to tell me? What do I need to reset to presence, joy, and full engagement?. A few things: certainty, planning, and preparation.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this way about September so in this blog post, I share with you my step-by-step process in building an action plan for these types of transitions. I encourage you to set aside 30-40 minutes to follow along the following questions + journal prompts. If you can’t do this right now, make time for it later today, schedule it into your calendar, and come back. (See you later!)
The 3-Step(ish) Action Plan
1. Reset priorities, intentions, and outcomes
A) BRAINDUMP. Imagine that it’s December. You feel phenomenal and super content with yourself. What did you experience or accomplish in the past 4 months that is making you feel this way? List them out for a full minute or two.
Write them down. Yes, right now.
The first handful of points will determine your priorities for this new season. B) Write down your top 3 intentions with your top 3 priorities in mind. Intentions are not goals. Intentions are more of an attitude to how you approach something.
Priorities: Full engagement in school/work, solidified routines + discipline, joyful relationships
- Don’t try to do EVERYTHING. Focus on the most important few projects/activities for school + work.
- Say yes to liberating discipline and activate enthusiasm when routine gets mundane.
- Devote social/emotional energy to the handful of relationships that bring me life-affirming joy and presence.
While living in an “intention-only” realm would be nice because you could rarely fuck up or fail, we need to be realistic that we do live in a society of results. Intending to make money but not actually making money will be problematic. We need both intention and results; not get stuck in either one and hold space for both. We can try to avoid goals with the illusion that intentions are the only things that matter. But impact matters. Let’s not obsess over a specific destination, but we still need to have an idea of where we want to go in order to start moving forward.
Instead of asking "what are your goals?" C) let me ask: what would your intentions in action look like?
- Apply new learnings to maintain n 1:1 clients and facilitate n corporate workshops.
- Sleep/wake up earlier and work an hour before school so that I can take a full day of active rest every week.
- Make 1-2 good friends in my industry.
2. Identify potential obstacles and create proactive preventions.
This is the part that most people miss. They make plans to achieve something. But they don’t make plans to overcome the obstacles. Life will always throw lemons at you. Things will rarely go the way you plan. Shit will come up, and oftentimes, it will be your own mental/behavioral patterns. While we might not be able to control some life happenings like our dog suddenly getting sick or our landlords demanding more money, a lot of the obstacles we face are self-made and those, we can learn to manage.
A) What are 3-5 potential obstacles that may prevent you from staying aligned with your intentions + sticking to your priorities? In other words - what distractions frequently throw you off track? What do you spend too much time/energy on that isn’t bringing you joy or growth?
- Overtime on social media: for personal + business
- Netflix/screen-time as a feelings-avoidance tool
- Event-planning on monthly workshops
- Lingering thoughts/emotions about past relationships
B) Cool, now what 3-5 systems or boundaries can you set in order to best prevent these distractions or obstacles?
- Limit phone usage to < 14 hrs / week.
- Address unpleasant emotions with energy management every morning/evening.
- Systematize steps for planning monthly workshops.
- Say yes to the relationship I truly desire, say no to everything less and continue to practice joyful solitude. Don’t settle, Ji.
C) What 3-5 actions do you need to take in order to stay accountable to your priorities and boundaries?
- Set a reminder on Quality Time for 30 min of Instagram usage/day.
- Schedule in 2 screen-free days per week: Sundays and Thursdays.
- Do an 80/20 analysis on event-planning efforts.
- Stic k to no online dating. NONE.
3. Communicate needs and boundaries to relevant people
A) Which 5 people (or groups of people) will be affected by your priorities + boundaries this season? How will it affect them?
B) What do you need to communicate with them early on in order to be transparent about your engagement in these relationships?
- Parents - I can help with chores on the weekends, but I need to focus on school/work throughout the week.
- New collaboration or charity speaking requests - I’ll respectfully decline as I can’t take on any more at the moment, due to my current priorities.
- Close friends - I can’t check in with you as often as I do now, but I’d like to catch up with you once or maybe twice a week. Could you check in on me once in a while? It might be a stressful time and I could possibly use the emotional support.
- Teachers - I plan on applying the most important lessons from this course in my coaching business. Grades aren’t important to me so I may put in less effort into assignments that I feel are less relevant to my work.
- Clients - I’m planning on starting school, so I won’t be able to hold as much space for you outside of our weekly sessions. So please show up to our sessions with your full presence and engagement in order to make the most out of them.
Transitions can be scary.
Our security-wired brains can freak out with emotions. Especially when our day-to-day becomes quite different, it is our responsibility to rebuild a sense of security and groundedness within ourselves and to communicate our needs with the important people in our lives. Otherwise, we will enter new chapters with scattered, anxious brains and live in constant stress and anxiety. And that sounds terrible.
- Do the exercise. Set aside 30-40 minutes to take out a journal or a digital notebook and do the exercise. (1ABC, 2ABC, 3AB)
- Reach out to the relevant people and communicate what’s necessary.
- If this transition will demand more focus/energy from you, come to the energy management workshop on September 4th.
- For a more feely exercise on transitions, check out 4 Questions to Ask Yourself During Transitions.
As always, move through the knowing-doing gap.
Best of luck to you and to me!
(And I only say that now because luck comes after effort.)
P.S.S. I’ll be writing fewer blog posts every month (ie. less than 4) due to a shift in my priorities (see what I did there??) but don’t worry, I’ll still be around, aiming for 2 per month.