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Living Off Grid Guide

Creating and Executing a Plan

(Stephen built a vardo or gypsy wagon by hand)

Before we get into building your off grid lifestyle, I want to talk to you about making a plan, and how to follow through to succeed.

 

The Secret

The Secret

Ever since I was a kid, I knew that after high school, I would go to college and after college I would get married and by the time I was 30 I would have a wife and kids.  The universe gave me just that.  I got married two weeks before I turned 30, adopted my wife’s baby and we got pregnant on our honey moon.  I just wish I was more specific with my vision of the future and had spent more time on the details.  Things may have gone a lot smoother if I had.

I have learned that the universe will provide you opportunities for your wishes to come true.  All you have to do is look for the opportunities and be ready and willing to take them when they come.  One thing to keep in mind is that the universe does not work on your time frame, so you have to be patient.  So far, from what I have seen, the bigger the wish the longer it takes.

Have a Clear Picture

Milky Way on a clear night

The first step when you are developing your plan is knowing where you are trying to get, or what you are trying to accomplish.  Write down what you want your new life-style to look like.  Be specific and as detailed as possible.  These details will help you visualize the future you want, and help you with your sub-goals later in the planning process.  For example, in your new life-style, do you work?  Where do you work?  How long is your commute?  What does your house look like?  How many stories is it?  Do you have a basement or an attic?  Is it stucco or does it have siding?  What color is it?  Does it have a porch?  What animals do you have?  Do you live a forest?  Do you live on the beach?  Do live in a prairie?  The better you can paint the picture of your future the more real it becomes.

 

Have a Strong WhyStrong Why

Soul search for your “why” or your purpose for reaching this goal.  It is important to know why you are doing something.  If you don’t, then you will likely loose motivation and not complete your goal.  A technique I like to use is, ask yourself “Why?” five or more times until you get to the root of your decision making.  Here is an example of my Five Why’s.

“Why do you want to live off the grid?”

“So I can learn how to grow my own food and be less dependent on society?”

“Why?”

“So I can save money and protect my family?”

“Why?”

“So I can provide for them better?”

“Why?”

“Because I love them?”

“Why?”

“Because I they are the most important thing in my life.”

“Why?”

“Because that is what is means to be a great father.”

You get the idea.  My purpose for living off the grid is to be the best father I can to my children and the best husband to my wife.  By knowing what your why is, you’ll be able to re-motivate yourself whenever you loose your drive.

 

Find a Cheerleader

Cheer Leaders

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to have someone or a group of people encouraging you.  If you have a close friend to talk to about your struggles, they can help be a sounding board for you and help give you the support you need to keep going.  Another great way to stay motivated is to have a small group of people, like a master mind, or a forum that are following your progress.  They can hold you accountable for your goals, and give you encouragement when you need it.

 

Create Measurable Milestones

MilestoneNow that you have a clear picture, a strong “why” and someone to back you up you need to think about the how.  How are you going to get from where you are now to where you want to be?  What things do you need?  How can you get those things?  This is where you need to create measurable steps, goals and/or milestones.  Think of each of these steps from the perspective of the big picture.  For example, if you want to be living in the sticks, raise your own livestock and grow your own crops, then you’ll need to search for a place that fits your needs, buy it and move in.  You will need money to buy it.  You will need to learn about the livestock, purchase it, and house it.  Etc.

 

Break It Down

ElephantThis always reminds me of the quote, “Don’t break off more than you can chew” and the riddle, “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer is, “One bite at a time.”

During this stage of planning you will take the above list of steps and break them down into smaller tasks.  Each of these smaller tasks should accomplish something small or work to eliminate a road block.  This will give you a clear roadmap from where you are to your first milestone, and from your first milestone to each consecutive one on your way to your goal.  You may only want to break down the tasks for the second milestone after you have accomplished the first.  Depending on how involved each milestone is.

 

Create Deadlines

CalendarAssigning a time frame for each task and a deadline for each milestone will help you stay on pace.  It creates a sense of urgency and helps you stay focused and working hard towards your goal.  After you have a deadline in place schedule or set aside time from now until your deadline to compete each of the tasks.

Keep in mind that you are not always going to make all of your deadlines.  That is OK, just redo your schedule and create a new deadline.  This is important, because if you leave this step out, you will undoubtedly procrastinate indefinitely.

 

Visualize the Steps

Gantt ChartCreate a visual aid or checklist so you can see what you are working on now, and how it relates to the big picture.  Things like a Gantt chart or a flow chart are nice for this.  This helps each of the small steps contribute the overall goal.

 

Get Started

Punch fear in the face!To many times people’s goals are not attained, because they didn’t start.  There are many excuses that we use to delay the starting of a project.  Almost all of them are caused by subconscious fear.  Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of work, fear of opposition, or fear of success.  Punch that fear in the face and start now!  NOW is the best time to start.

 

Take Action Everyday!

Take action everyday!  Your goal won’t get accomplished if you don’t work on it.  All it takes is a little work each day.  Before you know it, you will have worked on it for a week, a month, a year, etc and you will complete what ever it is.


Track Your Progress

ChecklistTrack your progress.  Seeing what you have accomplished will give you encouragement to continue.  It also gives you an excuse to take a small break and celebrate each completed step or little success.  This little celebration will help you remain positive and give you the encouragement you need to complete the next step.

 

The Trick to Success

Don’t stop or quit until you accomplish your goal.  The only way to fail is to quit trying.  Out stubborn the obstacles and never surrender.  I know you can do it, just don’t give up!

 

What things have you done to help make your goals become reality?  What have you done to help you create a successful plan?  Please leave a comment and let me know.

 

References
http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Effective-Action-Plan

http://stress.about.com/od/healthylifestylechoices/ht/How-To-Make-A-Life-Plan-First-Steps.htm

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Header image - "Farm in Upper Hanover by Montgomery County Planning Commission"