Future Narrative Checklist

While preparing for a live presentation January 8th, 2013 called Goal Setting and Achieving For Real Estate Entrepreneurs™ I created the following additional checklist as a resource.

The idea behind the checklist is to give you a formal process for determining what your future goals are, then to list out all the activities that you’d need to do to achieve those goals and then to schedule those activities on a calendar. Am I naive enough to think that your schedule will exactly match what you need to do to achieve your goals? No. The exercise is an extension of the Psycho-Cybernetics principle of “Theatre Of The Mind”. The process strengthens your ability to do that.

  • Take your goals and, in your mind, go out to 1 year in the future where some of your goals will have been achieved.
  • From the future, write down (by hand – do not type) a Brainstorm List of all the things that you think you’ll need to have done to get to that spot. It should be a big, disorganized list filled with both big picture things and small details. The big picture stuff will be a placeholder for expanding into the detailed, smaller pieces. Write down the detailed, smaller pieces too. Capture everything you can think of. If at any time during the entire process you think of anything to add, come back and add it to the end of the list. If there are things on the list that you don’t know how to do, create an item to “learn how to do XYZ” or “research how to do XYZ”.
    • Only after you think you’ve finished with your list and if you have a copy of my Real Estate Investing Systems book and use it to trigger any items that you might have missed.
  • Grab 12 sheets of paper (one for each month). Starting with this month, write the names of the months and year across the top of each page. You may also want to number them 1 through 12 in the upper right hand corner to make keeping them in order easier as you flip through them in the next step. I’ll refer to these 12 sheets as your Monthly To Do Lists.
  • Using your Brainstorm List of everything you need to do, start to transfer the items from your Brainstorm List to the individual pages of the Monthly To Do Lists. You will almost definitely have items that appear in all 12 months. For example, if you’re looking to buy houses, the detailed steps for analyzing properties will likely appear in all months. That’s what you want. Single line through each of the items from your Brainstorm List as you move it from the Brainstorm List to the individual pages of the Monthly To Do Lists as if you were crossing of things to do on your things to do list.
  • Take each page of your Monthly To Do Lists and transfer the items that you need to do to a calendar for that month. In other words, decide when you’ll actually sit down and do the item. Don’t over-think this. You can adjust your schedule later. You can adjust for things that you over-estimate or under-estimate time on it. Part of the benefit of this exercise is that you start thinking about what is involved with each step, how much time it will take, how many times you’ll need to do it to achieve your goals, how often and other important details.
  • You can type this part in your favorite word processor. Once you’ve scheduled out your year and you can see how to achieve your goals, you will be writing a letter to:
    • me or
    • Someone else you respect and care about or are seeking approval from
    • Someone who will hold you in the most positive light and expect the best and most out of you
  • You are going to document (from a year in the future) the story of how you achieved your goal. You will be narrating it in the past tense.
    • Tell me about your challenges and what you had to do to overcome them.
    • Tell me about what was easy.
    • Tell me about what was surprising and unexpected.
    • Tell me how much work you did
    • Tell me how great you felt doing the work
    • Tell me about the times you thought about quitting (if you did) and how you persisted and overcame it.
    • Tell me about what you would recommend to someone else trying to do the same thing. Be encouraging.
  • Submit your narrative to have it printed either at your local printer, copy shop or to Amazon Create Space or Lulu (self publishing). You’re not trying to sell copies, you’re firming up the story and making commitments to it.
  • Adjust your Future Narrative as you make better distinctions about the path to achieving your goals.

See also…