Planning Tool – Stop, Start, Continue. Part 1.

The start of a new year is such a hopeful time. Promises, dreams and resolutions abound. It’s also a time for reflection- when we can look back over the past year to work out what new things we want to do and what things we want to leave behind us in the past.

Inner Creative Planning Tool: Stop Start Continue. Part 1One of my favourite ways of getting to the quick of this is to use the Stop, Start, Continue tool. It’s very simple and can be useful in any context – from creating a personal vision for the year, finding ways to be more creative, or setting fitness goals, to holding a team building session, or reviewing your business plan. Basically, you can use it for anything that you would like to change or a problem that needs picking apart.

So what is the Stop, Start, Continue tool? And how does it work?

Essentially, it requires you to ask 3 questions:

  • What do I want to stop?
  • What do I want to start?
  • What do I want to continue?

You might only be able to think of one answer to each question. That’s fine. It’s good to have a focus. More likely, you’ll have lots. To make things more manageable, list the top 3 to 5 responses to these questions.

I build on these 3 questions for you to get more value by turning the reflection and analysis into an action plan. But before we get into that, let’s go back to the beginning.

First, pick your topic.
Are you reflecting on the past year? Do you want to reach a goal or make changes in a particular aspect of your life, e.g. your health and fitness, your career, or being more creative? Are you reviewing your business plan, team or a specific product? Perhaps, you are looking to improve an aspect of your business operations e.g. sales, marketing, customer service? Basically, you need a starting point to focus your questions on.

If you’re not sure, or you want to make changes across a number of areas, list all of the areas that you would like change. Pick one topic area to start (it could be the biggest, most urgent, the smallest, the easiest, or the least overwhelming topic you have listed). Use the questions in the tool to pick apart that topic and work out your actions (we’ll go into this detail in the next blog). Once you are finished with that topic then return to the list, pick another topic, and apply the tool again. Continue to work your way down the list in a similar fashion (you may choose to spread this exercise over a day, week or longer time-frame).

Alternatively, you could start by choosing a broad topic area (e.g. the year ahead, your business). Use the Stop, Start, Continue tool to help unpick the action areas where you need to focus your attention and/or will get you the best results. Reapply the tool if you want to drill down into a particular topic.

In the next blog, we’ll expand on these STOP, START and CONTINUE questions so that you can start working on your new ideas and make some changes. Dreams are nice but turning them into reality is always better :-).

If you are interested in reflecting further on the past year (and getting your creative juices flowing at the same time) then please sign up for Inner Creative’s Visioning Inspiration List. You will receive the FREE Reflections Workbook that uses Word Mandalas for you to write and draw in as you wish, as well as other tips and updates on visioning, vision boards and workshops. (A mandala is an ancient art form of developing patterns and shapes within a circle. It can be used for self-expression, relaxation and reflection.)

So in what areas are you looking to make changes and work out what you want to STOP, START and CONTINUE?

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