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6 Rules for Planning for a Major Milestone (Like Graduation or a Career Shift)
This time of year is ripe with warm weather and many of us coming off the back of some major life transitions. In you or your family it may look like a recent high school or college graduation, weddings, or just the celebratory period after an intense winter and spring.
Even if you don’t personally know someone who just graduated, this can still be a big time for shifts, and laying down our brain maps over where we want to move in the coming months.
Frequently the hotter months of the year involve slowdowns, and a period of reassessment, whatever stage we’re at in life.
Whether it’s moving on to post-college life or into a new cycle of your business or career — even retirement — these are all graduations and milestones of sorts. A milestone is about entering a new phase. But we know that for most folks, psychologically and otherwise, a shift, transition or commitment to a new direction means excitement, but also often anxiety. It takes a huge amount of energy to allow change to happen! To manage all that this kind of major shift can bring up for you, it helps to prepare by doing some strategic planning.
Just by looking at things from the big picture, you’ll feel more prepared and at ease as to step into the future. The digital Momentum Planners were designed to give you a structure to do this kind of capture, organizing, in order to make the right decisions and see the path forward. (For those who are tech fans or minimalists, the Momentum app offers access to the same methodology and design, for your mobile or desktop.)
Looking to the Future After a Major Milestone
The new and unknown can be shiny and thrilling, and completing any major lifephase is a big accomplishment. Nonetheless, what comes next can be a daunting prospect. For many of us, the path forward may not be clear as yet, which requires a huge amount of trust in our place in the universe, that things will work out well — and also, it requires us to actually do some planning.
Here are our team’s tips on how to start the milestone planning process.
1. Take Some Time to Reflect
Before you decide to jump immediately into your next move, take time to think about what you actually want! That pause button (which you can almost always press when you need to, though often we’re not told this!) can be hugely beneficial.
The biggest things to consider when making any kind of big transition — or moving through and after a milestone — are your passions, your strengths, and what makes you the most happy. Reflect on the time you spent over the last few years, in college, in your job, or in your business, and think about what skills and lessons you learned. Knowing that this period before and after a major milestone is often a time of uncertainty and confusion helps you give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up — and to manage those emotions in a healthy way, without leading to burnout.
2. Figure Out Your Living Situation
When entering a new phase, one of the most basic parts of life that need to be considered strategically is your living situation.
Do you prefer to stay living where you are, if possible? Will you have to pay rent or a mortgage? Is there another place in the world that would make most sense for your next step, in terms of either career moves or proximity to friends or loved ones?
If you’re graduating college or university, some might consider moving back home with family (if that’s a possibility for you). Most important is understanding your financial options and constraints. Will you be able to afford to live on your own? What about roommates? Consider the expenses that come with living independently, such as rent, groceries, and utilities.
Figuring out your living situation is a cornerstone of any future plans. A living situation doesn’t have to be forever, but it does have to work for the interim period as you transition.
3. Establish a Budget
Now that you’ve made some calculations about what your living or housing options are, it’s time to establish a budget. You heard us. Whether you’re a business mogul and CEO who knows how to balance the books in their sleep, or this is the first time you have to live without the help of your parents or financial aid, it’s important to be realistic.
Identify how much money you have coming in and going out each month. You can use amazing digital financial tools like YNAB or Mint to track your spending and savings. You can also track some of these decisions and your financial goals in the Momentum app or your digital Momentum Planner. 🤑
4. Start Networking
It’s never too early or too late to start networking. If you think about it, you most likely already have a pretty established network, between friends and family and the people you’ve met in life thus far.
Networking not only helps you get a foot in the door for opportunities, it also facilitates your professional growth and personal development in other aspects of life.
If you want to level up your game in this regard, try attending job fairs or industry events to meet people in your field, or field of interest if you haven’t yet started a career. These kinds of events can easily be scheduled in the Momentum App’s Weekly Planner.
If you’re a graduating student, connecting with professors and alumni who have connections to job opportunities is another great move. For parents, you might think about who in your social circles could be a good contact for potential job opportunities for your graduate.
Whatever your position in life, and regardless of your next planned move, try tapping into social media and following leaders and influencers to learn more about the going standard in your target industry.🎯
5. Think About Your Long-Term Goals
Now that you’ve started reflecting and planning, thought about your living situation, established a budget, and started networking, it’s time to take a step back and reflect on your long-term goals. Ask yourself questions like:
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? In 10 years?
What are the steps to get there?
What education or experience do you need to reach that goal?
Once you’ve mapped out some of these ideas, you’ll find that the steps or chunks on the path to your goals fit well into the Momentum Planning Method. A larger-sized goal might fit best into the Yearly Planning View, while smaller-sized steps will get placed at the Quarterly, Monthly or Weekly level.
You’ll find that once you’re armed with a clear vision of what you want your future to look like, and a roadmap to getting there, it will be much easier to take calculated steps forward. Momentum is a great tool for both making and working your plan.
While it’s OK if this vision changes in the years ahead, laying out a path for your long-term goals will give your post-milestone or post-graduation journey a clearer direction. 🗺️🧭
6. Don't Forget to Celebrate
The feeling of crossing the finish line after a milestone, like finishing a major project, ought to be a rush. As Charlie says in Start Finishing, coming to the end of a phase or project usually entails some mix of ecstasy, relief, surprise, and pride.
We're different people on the other side of a major experience, like college, starting a business, or completing another phase of our careers. Rather than just running forward to the next thing as if life were a joyless obstacle course, try out basking in your success.
We'd strongly suggest making this a communal type of celebrating. A dinner with your loved ones, a party, a trip with family or friends will mark this moment in your memory.
Celebrating what you've managed to pull off might be just the boost you need in order to move gracefully towards the next step.
Final Thoughts on Big Transitions
Transitioning through a major life milestone can be a bit intense — and it’s important to take care of yourself, even while laying the groundwork for your future. Be sure to build some self-care projects and routines into your days and weeks, to give yourself adequate fuel for the journey ahead. As the saying goes, “this is a marathon, not a sprint.”
After pausing to reflect, deciding on your living situation, budgeting and thinking about your long-term goals, you should feel much more at ease and empowered as you approach this dive into a new phase of your life.
How has this transition season been for you? Let us know in the comments any particular approaches you take in the moment of big shifts or at major milestones in life.