Simple Planning to Help You Succeed

The famous French author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, once wrote: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I am a self-professed disciple of his thinking. If you are going to achieve your goals, you must have a plan outlining how you’re going to do so. Don’t let the need for a plan put you off. It might sound like a lot of work, but actually the planning is very important as it will help you focus your thoughts and efforts and in many cases preserve your resources so that you’re spending them on the things that really matter and the things that will help you to achieve your goals instead of wasting your time and energy focusing on things that will not make any impact.

If you don’t make a plan, you’re likely to be trying everything that remotely offers the possibility of taking you closer to success. But this is rarely the best way to move forward. It’s more effective for you to prioritise your efforts and tasks so that you are focusing on high impact activities that present you with opportunities to get you to your goal faster and in many cases offer multiple benefits.

Once you’ve recognised the importance of having a plan, the next step is determining what should be included in your plan. I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple. In fact, the simpler the better. One of the best ways I’ve developed truly effective plans is by going back to basics and using those all-important 5-Ws and H questions – Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Your plan does not have to be complicated at all, but it should help you outline what you need to do to achieve your goal. If you can find answers to the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? – well you’ve now got the fundamentals of a good plan to achieve your goals. The more specific you can be when answering each of the questions, then the better your plan will be as it provides more clarity and detail about the things you’ll need to do to accomplish your goal.

Earlier on I wrote about effectively utilising your resources so that you can derive multiple benefit. A great way to leverage your plan is to use it not only as a kind of road map to get you to success, but also as an important motivational tool to keep you engaged, focused, and energised. The way to do this is by rearranging the information in your plan by deciding what’s most important given your own personal circumstances. For example, you might be wanting to start a local charity to help fund research for a rare medical condition. Your driving force for this may be that your young child has that rare medical condition and there are not many resources available to you for information or support. An alternative way to create your plan could be to start by answering the question Why? first and then carry on with the other interrogatives in order of importance to you. In this example, every time you refer to your plan you are reminding yourself of the purpose of your goal and this can be a powerful motivator during times that you feel success is slow to come. Having a simple yet powerful, detailed, and well-articulated plan is an important element in achieving your goals by allowing you to stay focused on prioritised, high-impact activities that will help you get to success faster.