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Happy New Year!!! I’m excited! Are you excited? Last year was a year of extensive planning and one of the reasons I started Mademoiselle Scientist. Last year in this post I talked about planning for success and using the myIDP tool. This year my goal is to use that information to turn my plans into action.

After the holidays are over you may find yourself back to your normal non-holiday season self and wonder, now what? There are many people around you talking about New Years Resolutions, Strategies for Success and Ways to Shed Holiday Pounds. After hearing people talk about this you may wonder how can this help me? Some of these resources are great, but overwhelming when you do not know where to start.

Since the holidays are over and the weather has been below zero for the past few weeks I have been working on fine tuning my plans. The cold air was refreshing and motivated me to refresh myself. By the end of the post I hope that you feel refreshed and ready to turn your plans into action.

Grab your list of plans that you created using the myIDP tool, planner or notebook. If you need time to write your plans for 2014 take a moment before reading further. Now, that we have our plans, here are my #9 Ways to Turn Your Plans into Action.

#9 Ways to Turn Your Plans into Action:

1. Be Specific and Set dates:
The #1 way to turn your plans into actions is to be specific and set dates. We all know the beginning of the year is hectic. Getting in the groove takes time. Setting specific goals with dates helps you be accountable for your goals.

2. Create an Action Item List:
A few years ago when I was a Director of a group we always created action item lists at the end of the meeting. By the next meeting each member completed their action items. If the action item was not completed by the assigned deadline a penalty was added. For example, you can set a penalty for yourself to keep you on track with your action item list.

3. Reward Yourself:
Just like you can create a penalty for yourself you should reward yourself. Completing an item on your action list, especially when it was difficult is an accomplishment. Remember it is okay to reward yourself!

4. Analyze your health and Diet:
Are you always tired, have a bad attitude or have low energy throughout the day? If so, now is a time to eat healthier and add exercise to your routine. When I feel frustrated, stressed or have many projects going on I take a moment to exercise. Exercise not only helps you stay in shape, it increases your energy level, which then increases your performance. Try it! I use the Nike Training Club App on my iPhone to exercise.

5. Take a Break or Power nap:
Most of the time when we get overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed we need a break. Breaks and/or power naps are a great way to recharge and get focused. Take at least a 20-minute break and at least one power nap a day. You will feel more productive and get things done.

6. Develop a hobby:
If you do not want to take a power nap and want to take a break, take time to develop a hobby. You can take 20 minutes out of your day for your hobby as a way to relax. For example, I enjoy doing DIY projects and on the weekends I make it a mission to work on at least one project. DIYs are fun and a good way to unleash your creative side.

7. Learn something new:
If you are bored or need a change, learn something new. There are many free resources available on the Internet and the library. You can take courses on Coursera.org or Edx.org.

8. Read books:
I love going to the library and seeing what books they have in stock. Reading books can help you relax and unwind after a hard day. Check out Elkement’s Reading List. I will share my reading list soon.

9. Self-Mentor and/or find a new mentor:
Another way you can turn your plans into actions is by self-mentoring or find a new mentor. Many times we feel unproductive when we need help. There are many resources on the Internet and my goal is to make this blog a resource for you. If you are looking for a mentor and do not have one currently check out the Science Mentor’s blog post about Self-Mentoring.

What tip was your favorite? Share your top tip in the comment section below.

Stay tuned for more posts about Academics, Careers, Lifestyle, Science and much more!

Again Welcome to 2014: A Year to Turn your Plans into Action!