Yes, you read that right. Stop planning. Immediately.
There are two types of people that are still planning 2017: those who haven’t finished their first round of planning for the year, and those who are on their third -or thirtieth- variation. If you’re in neither of these, you’ve probably either made your plan already (and may or may not stick to it- that’s a different discussion), or haven’t and couldn’t care less about it.
Planning is essential to success; that is a fact. What is equally true is over-planning is as beneficial as under-planning, except with under-planning you can tell yourself you like to be surprised. Just as waiting for all the right conditions to exist before launching a product is not recommended, waiting too long to get the plan perfect is counter-productive. Imagine completing the long, arduous, agonizing process of creating the perfect 12-month plan, only to look around and realize it’s end of Q1 already! On the flip side, if you haven’t completed the first draft yet, you probably aren’t fully committed to it anyways, else it should have been done by now.
(Side note: if your plan was waiting on info you couldn’t have received till five minutes ago, you’re off the hook.)
I once worked with a client whom I had an insightful but brief coaching relationship with. He was passionate about his work, had a brilliant product and the right goals… but boy, was he slow on the execution. Every single week, without fail, he’d show me his new plans for business growth. Level of detail? Exceptionally high. Percentage actioned: painfully low. Net result: I asked him to step up his activity or step out of the coaching agreement (you can guess what he chose).
Great plans will only point out the direction of success. They will not -and cannot- take you one step closer. Only action can do that. As George Patton said: “Don’t fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire”.
So, in order of importance, here are some planning-related ideas:
- Firstly, finalize. You have the next 12 hours to finalize your plan. Whatever it looks like 12 hours from this moment, that’s what it’s going to be.
- Secondly, prioritize. Your plan should identify the “need to do’s” and “good to do’s”. And that’s the action order too. Don’t bother painting the walls before you have the roof finished.
- Thirdly, activate. Action it! The plan has to be pretty- pretty functional. Start with item 1, and unless something throws you off-course, work your way down the priority list.
As a bonus extra: get an accountability buddy. It doesn’t have to be your work colleague or life partner. Honestly, they don’t even have to fully understand what you do. All they need to do is ask you two questions at the end of each day: “Did you do what you said you’d do today?” And “How’d it work out?” or “Why not?”. Statistically, about 92% of people with plans will ditch their plans at some point in the year. This last step will improve your chances of succeeding by over 50%.
Let’s make this happen.
To your success, this year and every year.
Related: How To Smash Your Targets In 2017