Decisions are the catalysts that spark goals. Plans are the means by which we achieve goals. Therefore, plans are vital to any kind of success – but what makes a good plan?
First – a good plan needs to support a goal.
Second – a good plan needs to be able to be followed realistically.
Third – a good plan needs some degree of flexibility.
Fourth – a good plan’s success must be measurable.
Here’s an example: You decide you need an emergency fund of $1000.00. You set a goal of having the $1000.00 in a savings account within 10 months. The plan is to save $100.00 per month until the $1000.00 goal is reached. Is it a good plan?
- Does the plan support a goal? Yes.
- Is the plan able to be followed realistically? Maybe – it depends on your personal budget. What changes might you have to make to your spending habits to allow for the required $100 deposit? Are these changes realistic?
- Does the plan have an appropriate degree of flexibility? Maybe – If you have an unexpected expense that prevents you from being able to save the $100.00 in a given month do you have any other options for generating the savings? Can you work overtime or cut other expenses?
- Is the success of the plan measurable? Yes – you either have the money or you don’t in 10 months.
If you have achieved the goal within the allotted time frame – great! Set another goal and develop the plan to get there, but if you haven’t achieved the goal figure out why. Was it too ambitious to start with? If you are barely getting by it may not be feasible to think you can put that amount of money away each month to achieve the goal. Figure out why it didn’t work, address those issues, and rework your plan. Maybe the goal needs to be broken down into smaller more realistic pieces. There is always a way – do not give up!
A good plan must support a goal, must be realistic, must have an appropriate degree of flexibility, and its progress must be measurable. If a plan doesn’t support a goal then you may not be able to maintain your commitment to the plan. A plan is a roadmap to a destination – the destination is the goal. You must know where you are going in order to maintain your dedication to getting there. If a plan is not realistic you will soon abandon the plan because the necessary support to be successful does not exist. You will quickly become discouraged and abandon the plan. If a plan is too rigid you will abandon the plan because it becomes a chore rather than steps to an accomplishment. You don’t want a plan so rigid that you begin to resent having to follow it. If the success of a plan is not measurable how will you ever know if you accomplished it or not? You will abandon a plan that seems to have no purpose.
Decisions are the sparks that create the life you want. Goals are the stepping stones that make that life achievable. Plans are the map from one goal to the next. You decide to create a calm life, you set goals to achieve the calm, and you follow plans to make the calm a reality.
The value of a good plan is immeasurable. Simply knowing how to develop a good plan will take you literally anywhere you want to go. Choose not to give up – you can accomplish absolutely anything you truly put your mind to. Sometimes you may have to rework your plan and that’s OK; you can do it. Do. Not. Give. Up. Nothing is out of your reach if you are willing to do what it takes to achieve.
What has caused your plans to be successful, or not? Can I help you develop your plan?