How to Create an Anxiety-Free 3-Month Plan
Often in my experience with clients, I encounter folks who want to create change in their lives and don’t know how to begin. People say things like “I know I want to be happier, but I don’t know where to start” or “I’m tired of feeling stuck, but I don’t know how to make things different.” There are many reasons why we may feel unfulfilled in our lives, and the process of moving into action can be overwhelming.
Making changes can feel scary. There’s the worry about commitment. Resistance to change itself. Anxiety about whether we can actually change. Underlying all of this might be fear - fear of failure, of disappointing ourselves or someone else, or fear of what it will mean for us to actually change. We may wonder if we are able to sustain the changes once we put them in place. It’s okay to acknowledge the feelings you have about creating change in your life. They are part of the process.
When we are spinning our wheels and not knowing where to start in order to move forward, creating a plan can be a helpful practice and can cut through some of the anxiety around beginning the process. A plan can also provide us with direction toward where we want to go and what we want to shift and expand in our lives. While there are questions that can’t be answered until we are engaging the process, we can make a framework to guide us.
Here is an anxiety-free 3-month plan that I use to work with clients who are struggling with taking steps to create change:
Choose your top 3 priorities
What are 3 areas of your life you’d like to focus on right now to shift or expand? It’s best if they are actually important to you and not those you feel you should be working on. These might be areas where you have desires for long-term change, such as health or creativity. The most important thing is that they are areas where you’d most like to feel more fulfilled.
Identify 3 goals for each priority
What is it that you want to achieve in each area in the next 3 months? Try to get as specific as you can. For example, if you chose health as a priority, think about what specifically you want to shift and how that might be measurable. This can help you frame things more clearly. Instead of just choosing “improve my health” as a goal, you might choose specific goals around weight-loss, changing your diet, or reaching a fitness milestone such as running a marathon.
Create 3 action steps for each goal
For each goal you’ve chosen in each priority area, choose 3 action steps to do within the 3-month period. Approach the action steps as concrete ways you can be making changes in your life on an ongoing basis. Give yourself permission to adjust the action steps as needed - if you find yourself having a hard time completing an action step, consider whether it is actually a goal and break it down into smaller steps.
You may find that once you are actively engaged in a process of creating change in your life, the momentum gives you more motivation and focus, and helps lower feelings of anxiety and overwhelm about moving forward.
Some other things to consider throughout your process:
Integrate into your schedule/routine
Find ways to integrate action steps into your daily routine, and schedule them as you need.
Feeling connected to your goals and priorities on a daily basis can help you feel more empowered.
Document your progress
Keep a journal about your progress and your feelings about it.
What are your fears and hopes about your plan?
What would make this process successful for you?
What kind of support do you need along the way?
Get support if you need
Identify folks you trust who can support you in your process and offer encouragement or resources.
This can be a friend, family member, accountability partner, coach, or therapist.
Remember to be kind to yourself.
Celebrate your progress.
Trust your process.
You got this.
If you want some guidance around creating meaningful goals, check out this post.
If you need support and tools for creating a 3-month plan and moving forward with your goals, let’s connect over a coaching session.