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Planning

Within all of us there is an elusive melody which when heard and followed will lead us to the fulfillment of our fondest dreams.
SIEGFRIED AND ROY

Planning is the conscious process that enables us to decide how to go from where we are to where we want to be.

  1. Planning helps us

    • define our goals;

    • decide to make changes;

    • know what to change and when to make the changes;

    • measure our progress;

    • identify roadblocks that might prevent us from being successful.

  2. A proper plan brings with it benefits, which include having

    • a direction to follow;

    • a clarification of the road ahead;

    • a coordinated effort to reach a goal.

  3. Many people fail to plan because

    • the process requires them to commit themselves to action;

    • they have a fear of failure;

    • the plan is leading them into unfamiliar territory, which may unnerve them;

    • they lack the ability to visualize anything better;

    • they have a history of unfinished tasks and are afraid to go down the same road yet again;

    • they feel an inability to be more spontaneous.

  4. There are a number of steps to take in developing a plan:

    • Decide what you want. Close your eyes and picture yourself and your situation in the ideal, completed state. Write down what it is you want.

    • Evaluate where you are. Be realistic. Answer these questions:

      • What is happening now?

      • Who is influencing the situation?

      • Who is influencing the situation?

      • When do these problems occur?

      • Where am I now?

      • Why am I in this situation?

      • How are things currently being done?

    • Assess how large the gap is between your existing situation and what it is that you want to achieve.

    • Identify any roadblocks that will prevent you from being successful. Categorize these roadblocks as follows:

      • Class 1 — You have full control to deal with them.

      • Class 2 — You have partial control to deal with them, and so you may need some help.

      • Class 3 — You have no control and are most unlikely to remove this roadblock.

    • Evaluate your chances of success. As long as the obstacles are of the Class 1 and 2 types, you should be able to succeed. However, tackling goals that have Class 3 roadblocks can lead to failure at worst or only partial success at best. Be realistic. Modify your goals or abandon the project.

  5. Get help to overcome Class 2 roadblocks. Don't try to deal with them yourself.

  6. Identify the major milestones that will lead you to your goal. Set them out in the order they should take place.

  7. Decide on and document the minor steps you need to take.

  8. Set target dates for major milestones and minor actions.

  9. Prioritize key actions that will lead you to your goal.

  10. Document your plan. Use one of a variety of methods such as pert charts, Gantt charts, or action plans.

  11. Review your plan with others who have been down the same path that you intend to travel.

  12. Take the first step to achieve your goal. Reward yourself for starting.

  13. Monitor your plan to make sure you are achieving each milestone on the way to ultimate success.


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