Last week, I started discussing the Rudiments of Personal Success. We already identified one of the steps to achieving personal success is to Have a Goal. Now let’s consider two other steps:
Have a Plan
After you have set your goals, the next thing is to develop a plan of action to achieve the goals.
Having a plan means defining how you want to achieve your goals. If goal-setting is the ‘what’ in the journey to personal success then a plan is the ‘how’. Without a plan of action, goal achievement would be a mirage. A plan of action is the bridge between where you are and where you are going. It’s also referred to as strategy.
The importance of strategy/plan of action underscores the enormous resources (human and material) forward-looking organizations spend on strategic planning. This is because how far an organization or an individual goes in the achievement of set goals is determined by the quality of the plan.
The ease with which you can come up with a quality plan is in turn dependent on how clearly defined your goals are. Once you know exactly what you want, how to get it can be worked out because there’s really nothing new under the sun. Whatever you are trying to do will very likely have been done in one form or the other by someone. All that’s required is for you to research what has been done in the past, how it was done and the success achieved. The internet makes getting this kind of information a lot easier these days.
To further simplify your plan, it is imperative you know the purpose of your goals. In essence, you must know why the achievement of your goal(s) is important to you. The purpose of your goals is the ‘why’ of your journey to personal success. If the reasons are compelling enough to you, the ‘how’ would be much easier to comprehend. More importantly, the purpose of your goals provides the energy you need to keep moving when things get really difficult.
Work Your Plan
With your goals and the plan in place, you then proceed to execute your plan.
No matter how impressive your plan is, you will not achieve your goals until you act on your plan. Success is doing; your best plan will not do what you won’t do.
I once heard a story that depicts the relevance of the three steps we have discussed on achieving personal success so far. A young man had a lifetime goal of becoming rich by winning a lottery. Being a religious person, he believed he needed divine intervention to achieve his goal. His strategy therefore was to pray at least three times everyday. This lad kept his prayer regimen religiously. Six months on, nothing happened about the lottery he was hoping to win. One day he knelt down to pray and just before he started praying, he felt a presence in the room he was. When he looked round he didn’t see anybody. In this quiet moment, he heard an audible voice say to him, “My son, can you please buy the lottery ticket!!!”
The moral of this rather incredible story is the need to work your plan in order to achieve success. Whilst it is true that executing your plan is not a guarantee that you will achieve the success you desire, without execution you don’t even stand a chance.
In executing your plan, one thing you must wrestle down is procrastination. Procrastination is the art of putting things off. In fighting procrastination, you must promise yourself never to give up on the execution of your plan. If you find the execution of your plan overwhelming, consider breaking it into small action steps. When you do, each completed step boosts your confidence to take the next step.
As you work your plan, one thing you can be sure of is that you will make a measure of progress in the direction of your set goal. There is an adage that says “heaven helps those who help themselves”. Helping yourself means doing something about the life conditions you want.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is a universal law in place to reward people that take action. Taking action may involve praying to God, giving to someone in need, making a phone call, stopping a bad habit, developing a reading habit, and so on.
My advice to you is, take action; work your plan and, in no time, you would find yourself achieving your goals.