By: Ken Austin
Imagine being told about a winning lottery ticket inside a box in a supermarket, all you have to do is find the product which contains it, open the box and it is yours.
You don't know the name of the product, you don not even know the colour of the box. How much effort would you put into finding it? You may agree that you would be facing an impossible task, but if the reward is worth the effort you would do it, right?
But, let us assume you have a twin, they have been assigned the same task - except they know what the product is called and exactly where to find it. Ready... set... GO. You tear through the supermarket like a bull in a china shop, ripping open boxes and spilling the contents on the floor. Your twin strolls casually to the correct section, picks up the box and claims their prize. Sorry, there was only one on the shelf. Better luck next time.
Isn't it great to have an advantage?
In this article we will discover the relevance of the example above, and how you can make life easier for yourself.
Do you wander around aimlessly, putting every ounce of effort into what seems like an impossible task? Are you tired of watching others speed effortlessly towards their goals while you seem to be getting nowhere?
Many people approach their goals with great enthusiasm but fail to achieve them regardless of how much effort they put in. They start off by taking the first step; setting the goal, but failing to realise the most important part of achieving their goals; planning.
A good plan acts like a road map, whenever you are lost on the way to your goal, you can return to your plan and refocus your efforts. A plan can help to keep you motivated when you reach an obstacle, whether it is a personal problem, another project or a distraction. If something enters your life and blows you off course, you can review your plan and get right back on track again.
Here are the important steps to planning your success:
1 - Start at the end: Set a goal
Once you have set your goal, you are ready to begin planning. Without a goal there can be no success. Ensure that the goal you have set is one you want to achieve because it is likely that you will be required to put in hard work in order to succeed. There will inevitably be distractions, however, a deep desire to achieve your goal will help keep you focused.
2 - The middle: Small steps
Now that you have set your goal, you need to work out what steps you will need to take in order to achieve it. Some people find it easiest to work backwards, while others start from the beginning. Write down each step you need to take, you will be able to refer back to your plan in order to monitor your progress.
3 - The beginning: Follow your plan
Once your plan works on paper, it is time to put it into action. With a plan you will be able to monitor your progress. Getting closer to the end goal will inspire you to keep going. Without a plan it would be impossible to monitor your progress, therefore you will not be able to see where your efforts have led you.
4 - Editing: Revise your plan if it is not working
The best route is not always from A to B, a slight detour via C could make life easier. If you were driving through an unfamiliar town from point A to point B and there was a fallen tree in the road, you would use a map to find another route. The same works with the plan.
How does this relate to the story above?
If you have no plan you may start off enthusiastic and full of energy, but in time you will find that your efforts are not paying off - ultimately you will lose heart and may even stop trying. With a plan, you will have a map which leads you directly to your goal... you will be able to follow it until your goal is achieved.