Insufficient Planning (Number 9 in a 10-Part Series)

A big reason why many people don’t reach their full and unique potential is they simply don’t plan well and leave too much up to chance.

Many people think you don’t need to figure out how you will achieve a goal. All you have to do is write it down and “attract” it.

I think that works some of the time. I’ve written things down that I wanted, put no effort into accomplishing them and sometimes never even thought about them again—until they happened.

So yes, I think there is some power in just being clear on what you want and expecting it.

But for important goals, I think your confidence and your expectation of achieving them go up dramatically when you’ve done the proper planning.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything”.

He understood that especially in the heat of battle, no plan is perfect. But planning does focus you on the process and can avoid many of the pitfalls and obstacles that can get in the way.

How do you set and plan your goals?

Do you decide on what you want and then hope it will happen? Do you write them down? Do you formulate a plan of action? Do you know the critical elements of that plan?

My experience has shown me that less than 3 percent of people have a written plan. And I’ve seen studies where only about 3 percent of people ever achieve any significant success.

Coincidence? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Does a clear, specific and well-thought-out plan guarantee success? No, it doesn’t. But I’d bet on the plan over the no-plan every time.

So if planning is so important, why don’t people do more of it? Here’s a few things that people let get in the way:

  • They’re not sold on the value
  • They aren’t sure how to do it
  • They’re too busy doing instead of thinking and planning
  • They think it’s too hard
  • They believe it’s dull and uninteresting

But none of these excuses match up to the many benefits of good planning.

One of the simplest and most powerful means of planning is to begin with the end in mind and work backwards. What will it take to create the outcome you envision? What has to happen to create the intended results?

Breaking the overall plan down into strategies and tactics creates more confidence. Having more confidence that your goal is achievable increases the likelihood you’ll take consistent action. Good planning allows you to determine and allocate resources and delegate certain components to move the project along faster.

A good plan enables you to be proactive, rather than reactive. It stimulates forward thinking, builds teamwork and expertise and helps establish and manage priorities.

Planning Resources:

What we came up with is a goal planning system. We then beta-tested it with our entire Diamond Club team and made further revisions. The result is The SuccessNet Goal Planner. And it’s a good one—a VERY good one.

We borrowed the best of the best, innovated, kept it simple and made it easy to use.

Here’s just some of what you’ll get from this system:

  • clarity on what you really want out of life
  • raise your belief as to what’s possible
  • more balance in your life
  • feel more confident and have more passion
  • prioritize your goals and work on what’s truly worthwhile
  • checklists to keep you on track, focused and consistent
  • access to other valuable resources
  • and much, much more . . .

You can learn more about the Goal Planner and get yours on this page . . .

However, for a limited time, The Goal Planner is included as a no-cost bonus when you order
The Best Life Navigator.

As I’ve often said, “Ideas are worthless. Intentions have no power. Plans are nothing . . . unless they are followed with action. Do it Now!”

Take Action

  1. Order The Best Life Navigator with Goal Planner
  2. Map out a plan for one of your top 3 goals
  3. Have someone you trust review it for clarity and effectiveness

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and previous ones here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
6. Fear
7. Poor Tracking
8. Poor Disciplines, Bad Habits

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Poor Habits & Destructive Disciplines (Number 8 in a 10-Part Series)

habitsThe eighth reason good people don’t always win is that they have destructive disciplines and unsupportive habits. Instead of their habits helping them, their habits make progress more difficult and, in some cases, sabotage their success altogether.

But as I’ve often said, if you develop the habits of success, you will make success a habit.

In this chapter of this series we’ll examine our habits—both helpful and not. Because I want you to get just how powerful and important good habits and proper discipline is when it comes to winning.

We’ll also examine some of the challenges to changing our habits and discover ways to replace those that don’t serve us.

And finally, we’ll encourage you to commit or re-commit to acquiring the habits needed to win and replacing those habits that keep us from living our best life.

But first some basic premises . . .

  • A Habit is a wonderful servant but a terrible master
  • Bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with.
  • Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with.
  • When you sow and act, you reap a habit. When you sow a habit, you reap a character.
  • And when you sow a character, you reap a destiny.
  • We need to work as hard on ourselves as we do at our job or on our goals.
  • We first make our habits; then our habits make us.
  • If you don’t conquer your bad habits, they’ll eventually conquer you.
  • Habits are at first cobwebs . . . then steel cables.
  • How you do anything is pretty much how you do everything.
  • Easier to replace a habit than eliminate one.
  • We have habits because they served us.
  • Everything matters.
  • What’s easy to do is also easy NOT to do.

“The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably thought and act.”

—Orison Swett Marden

Obstacles

Here are some of the obstacles we must overcome in directing and changing our habits:

  • Change is usually hard
  • Ingrained brain patterns
  • Taking on too many at a time
  • Not realizing how powerful they are
  • Not having big enough reasons
  • Other people
  • Environment

Strategies for successfully changing habits and developing good disciplines:

  • Choose carefully
  • Don’t take on too many at a time
  • Be precise
  • Enhance your reasons for change
    • Exacerbate the pain ~ the cost of NOT changing
    • Pile on the benefits ~ elevate the payoffs
  • Make sure it’s worth it
  • Track your progress, be accountable
  • Celebrate your successes

One of the ways to explore habits you wish to change or install is to go through a More/Less, Start/Stop exercise. Simply answer these questions with as many things as you can think of:

  • What do you want to do more of?
  • What do you want to do less of?
  • What do you want to start doing?
  • What do you want to stop doing?

Something else you can do is to look at your top 3 goals and ask what habits and disciplines does their accomplishment require. Ask yourself what kind of a person do you need to become in order to achieve your most important goals? Because who you become is almost always more important than what you achieve.

Winning Habits
Here are a few of the winning habits of people who consistently win:

  • Urgency – Do It Now
  • Deciding quickly, and changing decisions slowly (if at all)
  • Good planning
  • Speaking positively, no complaining
  • Telling the truth, operating with integrity
  • Order

Habit Ideas
Here are some ideas for habits YOU might like to acquire, change or improve upon:

  • Daily vitamins
  • Up early
  • Be on time
  • Smile
  • Bragging/boasting
  • Plan your week on Sunday
  • Worry
  • Filing taxes on time, every time
  • Accounting up to date
  • Say affirmations daily
  • Prayer/meditation
  • Saving at least 10% of income
  • Practicing daily gratefuls
  • Wear seatbelt ALL the time

I’ve always appreciated this poem, although I have never been able to source the author. Do you know?

WHO AM I?

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done,
And after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine
Plus the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin;
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me
And I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am HABIT!

Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

If you want to consistently win, achieve your most important goals and live your best life, you must cultivate the habits that work and shun those that don’t. Make your habits serve you and never be a servant of them.

Resources

  • The Best Life Navigator™ launches soon. It allows you to keep your personal and professional growth front and center. It has the tools you need for your success—all in one place.
    • The CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement) section deals with habits in general, Top Daily Habits, and has the Start/Stop, More/Less exercise.
  • Stay close to SuccessNet. We’ve been helping people and companies grow and prosper for nearly 20 years. Because if you consistently work on improving yourself, you will become someone who attracts success in all areas.
  • Phil Humbert’s eBook www.BetterHabits4aBetterLife.com

Take Action

  1. Decide on 3 habits to acquire or replace
  2. Make a action plan for accomplishment
  3. Start today

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

By the way, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

  1. Insufficient Desire
  2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
  3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
  4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
  5. Inadequate Support
  6. Fear
  7. Poor Tracking

 

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Poor Tracking (Number 7 is a 10-Part Series)

PoorTrackingWould you watch a football game where nobody was keeping score and there wasn’t any time-keeper?

Would you attempt to operate a business with no sales reports, profit and loss statement, or balance sheet?

Would you put your money in a bank without being able to see an accurate report of what you had in your accounts?

Of course not.

And yet, most people try to run their lives with little or no tacking of where they are, where they’re going or what kind of progress they’re making. You can’t win if you don’t play, but you also can’t win if you don’t know what the score is.

To live your best life, you have to keep score. You have to know your numbers..

But I know people who have thousands of stats about baseball and football in their head but don’t have hardly ANY stats on their life, their goals and their finances.

You can’t change what you don’t measure. And what gets measured gets done. If you don’t measure you are just a wandering generality.

You have to know where you are, where you’re going, why you are doing it and how you plan to get there in order to have the clarity that leads to power.

It’s the only way to focus. If you’re serious about living your best life and achieving your goals, you MUST commit to keeping meaningful metrics.

If you have a business without sufficient metrics, you have a hobby instead of a business. And if you aren’t serious about tracking, you simply aren’t serious about success.

I created an acronym a few years back as a reminder of how important this is:

Measure

Essentials

To

Reach

Incredible

Clarity and

Success

This is the M in SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Good tracking of performance indicators is not hard and can actually be fun. You can even make a game of it. And the pay-offs are substantial.

So what should you track? Anything that impacts your performance or results in achieving your objectives. It will vary depending upon the complexity, importance and length of time required to reach your goals.

Here are some examples:

  • Credit score
  • Time invested
  • New customers
  • Income & Expenses
  • Wins & Losses
  • Results
  • Progress
  • Health
    • weight
    • exercise activity
    • food intake
    • measurements
    • blood pressure
  • Speed
  • Profits
  • Sales

In every important goal you have—and especially your top three—you must ask yourself how you will track your progress and how you will know how you are doing.

I believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions—and good metrics provide good feedback. Remember that visible is memorable. Make your metrics easy to see, not hidden away in some obscure file or desk drawer. Use graphs and charts and make your data come alive.

Most financial information for businesses and even personal finances are too historical to do you much good. You need timely updates, quick feedback and up-to-date reporting. The more timely your tracking, the more success you can expect.

So what keeps you from using meaningful metrics to track, guide and win? There are many, I’m sure. But here’s what I’ve encountered the most:

  • You’ve never been sold on how powerful and important they are
  • Keeping stats sound boring and dull
  • Tracking looks like hard work
  • Don’t know which indicators are important to track
  • Being overwhelmed by too many stats
  • Not wanting to face the real numbers
  • Thinking it will take too much time

Strategies
Make it easy to do. If it’s hard or time-consuming you won’t do it. So look for ways to make it simple and easy. Use tools and apps. Spreadsheets are a great way to record, track and graph information. It’s worth learning how to create and use spreadsheets well. And there are many templates already available for free.

Use white boards, poster boards and screen savers to keep your information visible.

Create your own “Snapshot” and/or Dashboard.

For accounting, QuickBooks (for business) and Quicken (for personal use) are inexpensive and easy to use.

Make a game out of it. Make it fun and you’ll find it fun to do.

Here’s an example of some of our top performance indicators that we track here at SuccessNet:

  • Promotions and their results
  • Visitors: new, unique, # of accesses
  • Open rates of emails sent
  • New contacts
  • Sales
  • New subscribers, new members
  • Current mailing list size
  • Unsubscribes
  • Cost per customer
  • Average sale per customer
  • Cost per sale, conversion rate
  • Comparison of averages, maximums, minimums, last year, last month

And here are a few that a small retail store would track:

  • Daily sales, weather, other influences
  • Sales calls, closes, prospects, inquiries
  • Net worth
  • Profit and Loss
  • Inventory
  • Returns

I also recommend the use of SWOT Analysis—for life and your business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s not so much tracking as it is a benchmark for where you are. See the resource below for a full explanation.

Resources

 

Take Action

1. Pick at least three performance indicators to track and start tracking
a. At least a couple for each Top Goal
2. Do a SWOT analysis on your business, then add to it over the next week
3. Create a Month-End Snapshot

And hang in there. It will get easier, more habitual and more fun the more you do it. I like what Robin Sharma says about change: “Change is difficult in the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

BTW, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
6. Fear

Please share this series with your friends. We thank you—and so will your friends.

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