“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”Abraham Lincoln
The new year is a few months away.
And if you have any goals in mind or really, really want to be successful in the future, then this post will help you plan for success.
No matter how brilliant you are or how easy you think your goals are to achieve, you cannot really achieve success or make any improvement in your life unless you create an intentional plan and stick to it!
The clear distinction between successful and unsuccessful people is the ability to be consistent.
Consistency – that’s all it is!
It’s about showing up every day to make a tiny change in one area of your life.
And that small change every day adds up. It’s called the compound effect.
And although you can’t notice the change every day or every week, months or years from now, you will achieve success. And it will all be because you showed up every single day.
In this post, I want to cover how we can actually plan for success and achieve it!
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Why is it so hard to achieve success?
Before I start talking about how you can plan for the future, I want you to understand why it’s so hard to succeed.
Most of us fail at wanting to do something great because we are used to instant gratification.
- When we post a photo on Instagram, it gets a like or we earn a follow and we feel wonderful.
- When we get a new haircut, it feels fresh and exciting.
- When the new pumpkin spice latte is out after waiting for 11 whole months for it, it can make us feel ecstastic.
But most meaningful goals don’t have that instant gratification.
To build an online business from scratch and see results can take months, if not years.
To lose weight, it can take months of sticking to healthy diets and exercise before we start to notice feeling and looking great.
And this is the reason why we give up so easily because we don’t get a golden star immediately after showing up.
Why is planning important for success?
If your goal is to become an artist and you don’t do anything about it at all to move the needle every day, you’re not going to succeed.
Simply looking at art isn’t enough.
You have to get down and dirty by actually picking up a pencil and drawing.
But it’s easier said than done.
The only we can actually succeed at just about anything is to create a plan.
Plans help us stay accountable. They also help us remember what we need to do and when to do it.
What is effective planning?
Just creating a plan isn’t enough. It would help if you were super-specific.
This means, just saying you want to be an artist someday isn’t enough. You have to do a little more than that.
- Deciding what kind of artist you want to be
- Understanding why you want it.
- Getting materials to help you practice
- Taking lessons and courses to help you learn to become better at this practice
- Setting aside time every day to develop this skill
- Taking on projects and getting out of your comfort zone to improve your skills and become popular
Do you get my drift?
This is how you plan for success! Obviously, there is a little more that goes into planning. But this is the basis.
How do you plan for success? 13 easy steps!
1. Know what you want
Easier said than done, I know.
Most people, however, don’t really know what they want.
Because we are constantly surrounded by noise and other influences, our own voices get drowned.
And this can pose to be a real problem because for us to be successful, we really, really need to ask ourselves, “What do I want?”
So, take some quiet, undisturbed time for yourself. Go to a cafe or library and sit down with your thoughts.
Get out a notebook and answer the following questions,
- What have I always wanted to do?
- What do I see myself doing 5 years from now?
- What brings me unhindered joy?
- What is something people have said I do really well?
2. Let go of the past
We are not our past.
If we were, our whole lives would be set out for us, and there’d be no chance of changing.
The future is a mystery, and the present is a gift.
You can make of it what you will.
To start working toward a better future, you need to let go of the past conditioning inhibiting you from success.
3. Set personal goals
I already have a post on personal goal examples that will help improve your life. Setting goals is extremely personal because these goals determine who you want to be.
You can have different sets of goals catering to different areas of your life.
For instance, my spiritual goals are:
- To read something meaningful every single day
- To meditate for 5-10 minutes in the morning
But my social goals are:
- To talk to my loved ones and spend time with my pups every day
- To hang out every weekend with my friends, visit my dad or do something super fun with them
So, take your time setting your goals.
Some of them will be ongoing, but some goals may take some time to reach. And this is completely okay!
Pay attention to the “why” behind your goals because this will drive you to work toward them.
4. Break down your goals into mini-goals
For instance, if you want to start and launch your own company, a lot will go into it.
You will have to do a lot of research into what kind of company you want to start and then accordingly break it down into mini-goals.
Your goal may be broken down into the following:
- Do market research
- Write down a business plan
- Acquire funds for your business
- Start sourcing materials
- Go into production
- Get everything set up
- Handle taxes and legalities
Each mini-goal can be broken to further mini-goals to help make your goal less daunting.
5. Prioritize your goals
There are times when you will have to prioritize your goals because you won’t have the time to do both.
For instance, you may really want to work, but it might clash with your daughter’s recital.
This is why you need to prioritize your goals and know what is important to you and why.
Once you understand why you’re doing what you do, it will become easier to stick to your goals.
6. Write it down in a place you can see it every day
I write down my goals every morning when I wake up.
Even though I feel like I won’t forget to do my tasks, I still spend 5 minutes writing it all down.
It helps me stay accountable, and I can tick it off once I’ve finished my task giving me a huge surge of motivation and accomplishment.
This fuels me to stay energized and work on my remaining tasks.
7. Create a schedule
Now that you know what you want and why you want it, it’s time to get to the how and actually work toward your plan for success.
Creating a schedule helps you stay super focused and accountable.
When you’re just starting to work on your goal, keep it light and simple.
For instance, if your goal is to walk on the treadmill every day, don’t aim for 30 minutes a day if you’ve never done it.
You’re going to burn yourself out really fast!
Walk for 5 minutes every day and slowly work it up to 30 minutes by increasing the duration by 5 minutes every week.
This will help you build the habit.
At this point, you want to focus on building the habit so that it becomes ingrained in your daily routine.
8. Know where exactly you falter
This particular step requires some amount of self-awareness.
If you have tried multiple times in the past to quit drinking but were never able to, then there is some underlying reason that is making it hard for you to quit.
This means that you can’t go about it in the same way you have before.
You’ll have to tweak your plan or get support.
9. Be realistic about your goals
If you plan to learn to play the guitar, understand that this will not happen immediately.
Long-term goals take time to achieve.
Be prepared for setbacks.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t pick it up right away or are slow to learn.
Fall in love with the process and the journey instead of the destination. This way, you won’t be disappointed when you don’t get what you want immediately.
Make peace with the fact that things worth having take immense time and patience to achieve and focus on taking it one day at a time.
10. Show up every day
I have just started learning to play scales, flats, and sharps on the piano, and it’s not easy.
I screw up a lot when I’m trying to play my favorite songs. And I do get stuck. But once I’m done playing a song, I start it over again and again.
I show up every day for practice, and I can see the visible improvement in my playing. This gives me so much joy.
Don’t wait for inspiration to knock on your door.
You have to do what you gotta do to get where you want to be.
11. Pat yourself on the back every time you hit a mini-goal
Treat yourself to a little something every time you feel like you’ve made some amount of progress.
Reward yourself for your achievements.
It will help you stay excited, motivated, and focused on your goals.
The first month this website got 100 pageviews, I celebrated by going out with my friend for a hot chocolate! I even made my dogs a nice home-cooked meal.
You can also reward yourself for working on your goal for a specific time in a day.
For instance, if you practice your guitar for 45 minutes, you can do something relaxing like drinking a cup of mocha or watching a YouTube video by your favorite artist.
12. Revisit and tweak your plan often
Plans are definitely going to evolve as you keep working toward your goal. This is normal and nothing to be scared about.
Keep revisiting your goal every month, see what needs to be tweaked or edited, and move forward with them!
13. Track your progress monthly
Creating a plan for success isn’t enough.
You need to analyze your growth to see where you’re falling short and if you can make any improvements.
For instance, I noticed that I spend more time creating content than promoting it. So, I started adding more tasks related to promotion in my Monthly Goals to help me stay on top of things!
Likewise, revisit your goals and monitor how far you’ve come every single month.
See if your plan needs to be tweaked, or you need to shift things around to help you achieve your goals and try to work actively toward them.
Creating a plan for success is pretty straightforward.
But staying disciplined and actively committing to them isn’t.
This is where most people fail.
But if you truly want something hard enough and are keen on reaching your goal no matter what, you can do it!
Just start with a plan. And move forward from there.