Imagine you’ve got an amazing idea. You go out there and make a start on working on this idea with whatever comes to mind with no real thought, a makeshift strategy if you will, and before long you reach an inevitable plateau after putting in so much time and effort.
You go blank, and this blankness persists for a few days, weeks, even months, kind of like a chronic writer’s block. You then fall off and the buzz about the idea just fizzles out never to be looked at or considered again.
This is a common story among people that I know because most people do things without knowing what or why they do what they do. There’s no clear target, just a vague idea based natural desire. If you extrapolate this to major life outcomes, this lack of planning has led to failed marriages (or failed relationships – I speak for myself), failed businesses, no secure job after finishing from a higher education institution, or finding out the job you were over the moon over is actually a perpetual thorn in your side. You see, there are serious consequences for lack of planning in life.
These can all be avoided if you plan well and know exactly what you have to do to get where you want to be.
Make sure your plans are your own
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn
Most people have no idea who they are, why they’re alive especially people of my age. Some students I’ve spoken to say they barely did any research about their degrees or they’re investing £9000 a year to do a degree to complete mind-numbing assignments and exams, that give serious palpitations, for their parents’ sake. I mean, if someone else is planning your life of course you’re going to be set up for failure and probably end up in a place you don’t want to be when it’s all said and done.
Life is too short to be dilly-dallying with your dreams. If you focus on your own plans you they will be based on what you find meaningful which will make you more likely to be committed to finding fulfilment.
Don’t do things other people tell you to do if it doesn’t sit right with you – this will just lead to emotional, mental and spiritual suicide. Have a purpose and execute a well-researched plan. This will give your life direction and you’ll rest assured that you’ll be building the life you want and fits your personal ideals. In this way you can leave a legacy on your own terms.
Having a strong idea of what you want will help you to look in the right places and carry out the right actions to reach success
Success doesn’t just happen. It’s planned for. – Unknown
Deep, deep, deep reflection is needed here. If you want to reach your goal, you have to know exactly what you need to do, where you need to be and the people you need to meet. Once you have a strong idea based on your personality, the lifestyle you want and the people you want to be around for life then you can proceed to making a plan to make this a reality.
I’m not saying you have to write pages and page of notes. As long as you’re fully aware of what you want to see in your life, you can tailor your behaviour and your step to reaching your goal. This is of utmost importance, otherwise you’ll be wandering into ‘no-man’s land’ without any idea of the bullets which may be heading your way.
I know deep, deep, deep down I want to be a sports doctor, a fitness coach, a life coach and a motivational speaker (and maybe even an actor). So I make sure all of my actions are tailored to my ambitions. I created LME to work towards my motivational speaking and life coaching ambitions. I’m currently doing a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, signed up to complete a personal training qualification, I’m going to the gym regularly and I’m setting up an online service for my pursuit of becoming a fitness coach. The Master’s degree and my countless attempt at getting into medical school will help me on my path to becoming a Sport Doctor.
From this you can see all of my actions are directed towards who I want to be ultimately. This is what you also need to do with your goals. Be precise, thorough and committed with carefully planned actions and you’ll be on your way to moving closer to who you want to be. Even when you fail along the way you’ll stay on board because you’ll refuse to give up after executing a solid plan and if you persist long enough you’ll almost certainly get what you want.
You can apply these principles to your relationships. If you’re not precise with what you want in a friend or a romantic interest then don’t be surprised if things turn out unfavourably. You’ll reduce the chance of relationships with others ending prematurely if you have criteria based on what you really want not what you think you want. This criteria takes time to put together, so no rush!
Spare your brain the load of remembering things you can write down to focus on important decisions
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. – Francis Bacon, Sr.
Many people walk around with a myriad of thoughts and claim, ‘I’ll remember’, then all of a sudden the thoughts disappear. This has happened to me a lot. Thoughts pop up and disappear, so your brain can’t be trusted to remember critical information. What needs to be done is using a system to store your thoughts as they arise in your mind so you can look at them later. This can be achieved by carrying a notepad around with you or using note-taking phone apps.
It can also be useful to have a period each day where you just write down all of the important stuff in your mind. Don’t commit important thoughts to your memory alone as this will take away from your decision-making energy which will lead to information overload, then probably a major crisis when you realise what you’ve forgotten. This is why it’s necessary to plan so you know what thoughts are essential, and should be reminded of, and which ones aren’t. This will give you space to make important decisions needed to propel you towards your goals.
Remember not to be caught up in planning forever
WARNING. WARNING. WARNING.
While long-term planning is extremely useful, don’t let it take over all your time and don’t look for perfection.
Don’t overthink things. Just have a simple plan and act immediately and adjust as you go along.
Planning and action go hand in hand.
Long-term planning leads to success but too much of it leads you know where.
Ask yourself regularly…
What is your ultimate goal in life and what steps are you going to take to get there?
If this post resonates with you why don’t you share it. Maybe the outlook of this message will inspire someone else to start living the life they were born to live.
Image credit: Bull’s Eye / Søren Rasmussen / Flickr