Planning for the future can feel scary. When you look ahead, you might feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty. However, remember that your life is not a straight path. It might take many twists and turns. It might not go perfectly as you expected. But have faith, everything works in your favor in the end. Start laying down the seeds for tomorrow today. A saying that really resonated with me is:
"The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now." If there is something you want to do, the way to achieve it is to start planning today.
Why Planning is Important
Planning is critical to the success of your life. When you start future planning, it helps create the focus of time and effort towards your goals. It allows you to position yourself for growth. I'm a big believer that poor planning promotes poor performance. When you don't plan for the future, you are setting yourself for failure. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan for your life.
Defining Your Success
Not everyone defines success the same. Success is simply the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. For some, success might be the attainment of wealth and fame. For others, success might be having deep and meaningful relationships with the people around them. Success has a different meaning for every single person. You can find your meaning when you look deep within yourself to see who you want to become. In your ideal life, what are you doing? Who are you helping? What impact do you have? Once you are able to answer these questions, it will become apparent what success means to you.
7 Tips to Plan for Success
1. Set Goals
Setting goals is the foundational tool for making your dreams a reality. In the short-term, you can chart daily goals to hit every day. In the long-term, you can set goals for what your life can become. Use realistic goals to create a sense of commitment. Add stretch goals to challenge yourself.
2. Invest in Yourself
Choose to invest in yourself first and foremost. When you are able to increase your skills and abilities, life becomes significantly better. For example, if you can spend $500 on a course to learn something that helps you earn $5000 down the road, that is a great investment. People often get caught up in the immediate price tag that they don't see what can come out on the other side. Take a long-term view of your life, and realize that the learning never ends. So never stop investing in yourself.
3. Be Ready For Change
Change is the only constant in our plans. The world is full of uncertainties. You might be on the top of the world today and on your butt tomorrow. The only thing you can control is how you see your life. Learn to be adaptable. Learn to shift with the changing landscape. Be willing to make adjustments to your plan when things don't go your way. Be ready for new challenges. Be willing to revise your plan completely when something comes out of the blue and rocks your world. You are adaptable, and you are capable of winning.
4. Continuous Growth
When you take on the attitude of continuous growth, you start making small changes and improvements every day. Though it may seem small, it adds up to something significant in the long run. If you stack up a 1% improvement every day, you will be over 30X better by the end of the year (compound interest!). Never be that person that says that you know everything. Instead of being a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all. Be humble in the fact that you probably don't know that much, and it's okay. The only thing that matters is that you are growing.
5. Be Patient
Big plans don't just happen overnight. Be patient in the fact that you might not change the world today. One of my favorite quotes come by Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter:
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.
As long as you learn, plan, and adapt accordingly, you will be able to reap the rewards of your success in due time. Don't let the small knocks of the day discourage you. Know that everything you do is leading towards something exponentially larger in the future.
6. Take Risks Safely
It's important to take certain risks in your life. But don't plan to jump out of a plane without a parachute! Taking risks safely is taking a leap of faith while negating your downside. For example, if you are going to invest in a growth stock, make sure you have a stop loss in place to protect yourself in the case of an unseen recession. Always find a way to limit your downside before you take a risk.
7. Share Your Successes
When your plan is executed to perfection, share your success with your people you care about. When something goes wrong, share what you learned with those same people. People are often held back by their self-limiting beliefs, and it's important for you to share that it is possible for them to do something great too. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. Be the light for the people of your life. Be something that can lift others up, instead of someone that tears people down.
Planning for the future is important for you to become the person you want to be. The simple act of planning is the first step in creating the life that you desire. If something is important enough, you will come up with a plan to making it happen. Once you have determined what your success is, make it so important that you prioritize it above all else. Understand that big plans are all taken one step at a time. If you want to act on your plan, there is no better day than today. You are capable of more than you ever imagined. With courage, you can make your plans come to reality.