Do you have a ritual for setting intentions for the new year? If you’ve been following for awhile, you’ll know I’m not a huge fan of resolution or even goals without an action plan. That’s why I’m a huge fan of frameworks and habits which help turn intentions, ideas, and dreams into action plans.
Those who have already read my book ‘Creative Calling’ will already be familiar with the IDEA framework. It serves as the foundation for the book and outlines a step-by-step process for achieving success in any area of your life. It can be a useful took to focus and start building action steps towards turning your vision & goals into reality.
What Is the IDEA Framework?
If you’re not familiar with the framework, here’s the gist:
IDEA stands for Imagine, Design, Execute, and Amplify. It is a way to think about the creative process and can be applied to anything, whether you are in the earliest stages and experimenting with some new ideas, or you are deep in a project.
IDEA is simultaneously a framework to create any successful project and a tool for creating the life you want. In large and small ways alike, it will allow you to manifest your creative inspirations—and reinvent yourself in the process. I’ve found it to be very effective in my personal, professional and creative endeavors over the years, as have thousands of others who I’ve shared it with.
Let’s take a closer look at the framework and what it looks like in practice.
Step 1: Where are You?
Where are you in this season of your life? Are you re-imaginging your next chapter? Developing a plan and making space for a transition? Or perhaps you are ready to execute and start putting your plans into action or maybe you’ve been executing but you need community and support to start rallying behind your ideas.
Consider this breakdown to determine where you stand:
- Imagine what you want to create—without limitation.
- Design a strategy to make your dream a new reality.
- Execute your strategy and smash through obstacles.
- Amplify your vision to create the impact you seek.
Which word resonates with where you are right now and what you feel you need to focus on?
Step 2: Once You Have Your Word, Let’s Drill Into It
Once you have your word, apply another layer of the IDEA framework to it.
Let’s say your word is Design. You have a vision for what you want to do, now you need to build a plan to get there. Here’s how you can use the IDEA framework specifically within the a phase of the process.
- Imagine – Making your vision a reality takes action, right? Imagine your day, week, month. What habits or regular actions do you need to take to achieve your vision? Is it writing every day? Calling perspective clients? Forming relationships to help build connections? Try Lewis Howes perfect day exercise.
- Design – Deconstruct steps to make these ideas happen. Write down who can help you move your ideas forward, as well some that can support you
- Execute – Identify, gather, and start building what you need to make your plans come to life in the execute phase
- Amplify – Talk peers, friends, and mentors who can give you feedback, connect you to resources, and cheer you on
Step 3: Keep breaking down each phase into smaller phases as needed
The name of the game is action. If needed, you can keep using the IDEA framework to continue to break down each phase until the actions become doable on the weekly or daily basis. For example, the process can look like this:
DESIGN (Your phase selected in Step 1)
- Imagine (As noted in Step 2)
- Imagine (as noted in Step 3)
- Design …
Don’t get into analysis paralysis. Only use step 3 if you feel stuck and need smaller steps.
The reality is that life’s biggest breakthroughs don’t come overnight. People don’t just say ‘I want to learn a new language’ and speak it fluently the next day. It’s a process requiring tools, time and strategy. Regardless of how lofty your goal may be, remember to take it one day at a time by focusing on that one pivotal question: what’s the next, tangible step I can take to move ahead?
When I developed the IDEA framework for my book, I wanted it to be a robust, repeatable system for the creative process. It can help us create any successful project and create the life you want. In large and small ways alike, it will allow you to manifest your creative inspirations and reinvent yourself in the process.
That, paired with a solid foundation of support and resources, is the key to progress. Choosing to go about things in an incremented way – from ‘I’ to ‘D’ to ‘E’ to ‘A’ – breaks things down and reminds our ambitious characters to stay realistic in the face of daunting dreams. It makes things simpler, minimizing otherwise huge challenges into simple, daily actions.
A goal without a plan is just a dream. That’s why IDEA was created – to provide a tangible platform to turn those dreams into reality. Use the strategy to make the most of your time, whatever it is you’re aiming to accomplish.
If you want to read more on the topics of resolutions and goal setting, check out these posts:
- The Secret to Making Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
- Not Your Typical Goal Setting Session
- Why I don’t set resolutions + What I Do Instead
If you need a refresher on my book, try the Creative Calling Book Club, where a group of us study and discuss the book section by section.