Andreea Sandu.

Listen to the audio or read below for the transcript. This episode is 20 minutes long.


Happy Tuesday, lovely! I’m Andreea, your host here on The Introvert That Could Podcast. Every episode is a mix of tips on productivity, time management, and how to move forward when you’re stuck, with a sprinkle of motivation and a side of relevant personal stories. I want you to have all the tools and support you need to face the challenges of being an introvert and take action, because without action, there are no results. Let’s dive in!

Welcome to episode 5! This episode is coming to you against all odds. A few days ago, my laptop fell into the dogs water bowl and it didn’t even start for a good while. Now it’s on, but behaving poorly and the fan is veeery loud, and every minute it’s still alive is a miracle. So if you are listening to this, it means that I made it through the scripting, recording, and uploading without having to buy another laptop. Yey. 

The topic for today is planning 2020. Ideally, have a notepad handy and if during the episode you need to pause and think, do that. It’s fine if you need more time or you have to split the planning in a few different sessions. Really, I think planning your future deserves more than 15 minutes.  

I want to start by talking about my approach. 

I used to be a fan of SMART goals. SMART stands Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. It still works fine for short term goals, but I stopped using this system for long term goals, including 1 year goals. My main problem is with the letter R, Realistic. Why would someone set realistic goals? Why aim so low? We need to dream bigger than realistic. 

If you only go for Realistic, the furthest you’ll get is two steps forward. It’s like playing a game with no challenges. Who enjoys playing games where you won’t level up? No one. It’s boring. No sense of satisfaction. It keeps you thinking inside the box, and you will always create something that’s similar to what you already have. If you want something completely new, it will, by definition, not be realistic. It’s outside the box, in the big unknown, where you don’t even know what’s realistic.  

But if you go for a big, ridiculous goal (the new R can stand for Ridiculous) and do your best to get as close as you can, you will then get 15 steps ahead, instead of your 2 realistic ones, in the same amount of time.  

A good example for this is Alin. After he ran a sub 3h marathon, 2h 56 to be more specific, his target was 2:45. Most people who are not athletes, after reaching a sub 3 set the goal of either keeping that time or maybe shave 1 or 2 minutes off. Definitely not jump to 2:45. He eventually ran London in 2h 51, 5 minutes better than his PB even if he didn’t reach the set goal. It was partly bad luck, as he lost 3 minutes stopping for toilets, and many things can happen on race day. But he trained as someone who can run 2:45 and believed it’s possible 100% of the time.  

The only 2 rules when playing the game this way are these: 

  1. Do not get attached to the goal. Enjoy the process, the journey, the craziness of the game, and don’t consider it a fail if you don’t reach the final destination.  
  2. Believe that it’s possible. Maybe not in the timeframe you predicted, maybe not how you imagined it will get done. But it’s possible for you. Not believing in the outcome will generate thoughts, that will trigger actions that will result in not achieving the goal, providing you with proof for your disbelief. This is the no1 reason people don’t get results, they don’t believe in them. 

Great. Now, let’s start this with Step 0. 

Step 0 – Looking back at 2019 

I want you to take 10-15-30 minutes, a whole day if you want to celebrate the year that’s ending. Look back at everything that happened. A great way to do this is to look at the pictures in your phone. They can remind you of many more things than you can remember. Events, things you stopped to appreciate and take pictures of, precious moments with other people or your pets, what got you excited or inspired.  

And once you’ve done that, answer the following questions: 

  1. What did you accomplish? What would your top 3 be? You know, even if I have bigger accomplishments on my list, one of my top 3 is this podcast. Seems like a small thing, but the fact that I launched it without second guessing myself, without doubts or fear, without caring what people might think and acted quickly on my idea, all this shows the amount of personal growth I achieved this year and this is what I want to celebrate.   
  2. What did you learn and how did you grow? Remember, you either succeed or learn, never fail. 
  3. Could you have predicted a year ago where you are today? This is a very interesting question and for me the answer is a definite No. There were many events and decisions that changed the course of my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  
  4. What would you say to yourself a year ago? Something I wish I had done, and it’s my best advice for you too, is to dream the dreams that you want, not what other people suggest. When I set goals for myself last year, I was very inspired by others so I copied what others wished for. For example, many entrepreneurs in their first years dream of making 100k in 12 months. And I thought that should be my goal too, and as time passed I realized it’s not what I want at the moment. Maybe in a couple of years, but right now, it doesn’t fit with my model of life and business. 

As I said, take as much time as you want to answer these questions, and then come back for Step 1. 

Step 1 – Decide what you want 

Don’t you think this is a hard question to answer? What do you want? When all we do our entire lives is build limitations, answering what we want is scary because it might not fit the picture. Here’s what I want you to do. 

Close your eyes. 

Take a few breaths.  

And allow your imagination to run wild. Imagine your ideal life: 

  • Where are you? 
  • Who are you with? 
  • How do you look? 
  • What are you wearing? 
  • Where do you live? 
  • What do you do for work? 
  • What do you do for fun? 
  • How much money do you have? 
  • How would an ideal day look like? 

If you want to do this as a guided meditation, I’m sure you can find something on the internet, happy to help if you need me to, but my best tip is to do this when you’re relaxed. Pause if you need to and come back when you’re ready. 

How different is what you imagined compared to what you are living now? If you really allowed yourself to go crazy, probably very different. I can understand why you wouldn’t allow yourself to dream big, because you would be disappointed if things don’t happen. 

But remember, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. How you live your life is more important than a random moment in the future when something might or might not happen. 

OK, so you probably have a lot of ideas in your mind now, and I’ll break your wings by saying you need to pick one and only one to work on. I don’t think there’s something wrong with picking more goals, but plan one at a time. And once you have a routine and wheels are in motion, feel free to add another goal. 

But now, let’s stick to one. As example, I’ll use one of my goals, which is growing the podcast audience to 1000 downloads per episode in 2020. This is where you define your goal in a more specific way, as specific as you can of course, because you might not have enough information to make it super specific.  

And now that you decided, there’s something I want you to do that most people skip: 

Commit! Get excited! Decide you’re doing this. This is not just something that you randomly thought about, you really want this to happen.  

Step 2 – The foundation work 

There will be tough times ahead while working towards your goal. That’s for sure. So what do you do when your motivation is low? You have to somehow brings yourself back to this moment and have some tools and ideas ready to be used.  

Get that notepad, pause the audio and answer the following questions: 

  1. Why do you want to achieve this goal? This is that big motivation that can lift you up when feeling down. Why are you doing this? 
  2. What would it make possible for you? How would your life change? 
  3. How would it affect other people? Can it positively impact others too? This is a tricky one, but it can be very, very powerful. One of the 6 human needs that’s required for feeling fulfilled is contribution. Humans are happy when they give. When I think about the podcast, I think of those people that can get value out of it and can get super motivated from an episode and that might just change their lives. A large audience might also mean more people buying my services, which means a better life for my family and bigger donations to the causes I support.  
  4. Who do you need to become to achieve your goal? To get something you don’t have, you need to do something you don’t do yet. To do something new, you need new behaviours, new thoughts, a new routine, a new attitude. So how would you define that? In my case, I need to be focused and consistent. I have to deliver on time every week, keep my promises, offer huge amount of value, give people a reason to listen to me, stay authentic, be an example of what I’m talking about, invest in personal development, learn new concepts and practice my coaching. That’s a lot, right? You wouldn’t think that recording a podcast involves thig huge list, but the result itself, that mp3 file, is nothing compared to the background work I need to do on myself! If this work doesn’t happen, the episode doesn’t happen. If you’re not really sure how to answer this, is there someone out there that has this result in their life already and you can learn from and study them – how they behave, how they think.  
  5. What could stop you and what can you do about it? What can get in your way? This is an important question to answer because these things might actually happen, so it would be so great to have a plan in place already. There’s that big one that’s a problem for me at the moment for sure, which is time! So I really need to stop and plan better, batch many episodes when I can, schedule everything in my calendar to know when and what is happening and create doable to-do lists for myself. So what might be a problem for you and how can you fix it? What or who can be your support system? 
  6. What do you need to think and how do you need to feel to take the actions you need to take? Your thoughts trigger your feelings. Your feelings trigger your actions. Your actions build your life. Most times, to work towards your goals you need to feel excited, inspired, motivated, and you need to believe in your goal. So what can you do to be in that state of mind for as long as you can? How you feel will impact how much you enjoy the journey and if you will eventually reach the destination.  Seriously, think about it. I remember someone who told me she wants to lose weight but she thinks it’s too hard. What do you think that thought created? Nothing, no action, no change. Watch your thoughts, they are the initiators of everything in your life.  

Step 3. The plan 

So now we finally get to the point that most people would jump to without laying the foundation. Making a plan, finding the action steps.  

This is where you break down your big project into manageable chunks. And then you break the chunks down into tasks, and you add them to your calendar. 

Going back to my example, here’s what I’ll do for my podcast: 

  1. Brainstorm 20 ideas; it’s ok if I change my mind about some of them, but at least I’m prepared; this can be done in a 2h session; 
  2. Write the scripts for the first 4; I need about 8 hours for this, so I may split it in 2-3 hours chunks 
  3. Record the first 4; I get tired after an episode, so I’ll record these over 2 days, 1 hour at a time 
  4. Schedule the blog posts with the transcripts; 4 x 1h 
  5. Schedule the emails that go out every week 4x1h 
  6. Prepare 8 social media posts based on the episodes, 2h 
  7. Schedule the next batch 

Now that I know what I need to do and how long it takes me, I go to my calendar and put these in, where there’s space for them.  

And as you can see, I’m only looking one month ahead. At the end of the month, I’ll reevaluate. Some things change and that’s ok. Plus, you might not be able to see the whole picture, especially if it’s something you haven’t done before. If I didn’t know how to podcast, I would have to first plan some research, order the equipment, learn how to podcast.  

Not knowing how to do something is sometimes a big stopper, but think about it this way. Is someone else out there doing it? Then it’s possible and you can figure it out. Research what you need to research and learn what you need to learn. And then come back to planning. It’s ok if you can only see one or two steps ahead. This doesn’t have to stop you. 

And that’s kind of it. As always, I hope this was useful and feel free to reach out to me if something’s not clear, I’d love to help. Before I go, I want to let you know that the podcast is taking a 2 week break, as should you. I want to completely disconnect for a few days, to give myself time to think and create. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and I’ll catch you in 2020! 

This was it for this episode, but if you want to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or find me on Facebook and Instagram. But the best thing you can do is sign up for the Life Lesson Letter, the weekly email I send out every Thursday with new content and insider-only freebies and details. Sign up now and you’ll get instant access to all available goodies, including the latest PDF “From overwhelm to taking action: 6 steps to find more time in your day, declutter your to-do list and get things done“. Just go to

Thanks so much for being here and I’ll catch you on the next one! Have an amazing day

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