The plan is nothing. Planning is everything

The title of this article is a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower. For the uninitiated, Eisenhower was not only the 34thPresident of the United States, he was also a 5-star General in the U.S. Army during World War II and led the invasion of France and Germany in 1944-45. Finally, he became one of the first Supreme Commanders of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) just a year or two after its formation in 1949. In other words, Eisenhower was an accomplished military strategist and leader.

Why am I telling you about Eisenhower? Because he understood the importance of creating an actionable plan in order to achieve a goal! Have you ever spent hours carefully crafting a detailed, fool-proof, motivating plan or goal? You know all the traps you’ve fallen into in the past with goal-setting, so THIS time, you’ve made sure the plan itself was crystal clear with lots of detail. You’ve Google’d a bit about how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, so you’ve even included specific time frames to accomplish your plan. And, because you’re S.M.A.R.T., you’ve even identified ways to measure your progress. (‘What could possibly go wrong after all this preparation?’, you think). You’ve deemed your plan finished and said to yourself, ‘I’ll start tomorrow!’

Tomorrow comes around and you find yourself just a bit too busy to take your first action step of that marvelous plan. ‘It’s OK – another day won’t hurt’, you say. The next day rolls around and what happens? An unexpected project or problem falls in your lap, so your PLAN goes out the window for another day. Day after day after day after week after week after month after month – SOMETHING gets in the way of you making a start on your plan. Pretty soon, you’ve become demoralized and negative about your plan and it doesn’t sound so great after all. Are you justifying your lack of action to yourself? Are you sabotaging yourself without even consciously realizing it?

We’ve all done it. But here’s the rub – if you never take that first step toward achieving your goal or plan, you’ll never know how GREAT achieving it will feel. You’ll wonder – sometimes for years – what WOULD HAVE HAPPENED had you made a start. Could that FIRST book have led you to pen a whole series that entertained millions of people? Could that first half kilometer run have led to you crossing the finish line exhausted but exhilerated at your first marathon?

ONLY YOU KNOW your dreams and goals. ONLY YOU can take the steps needed to accomplish them. There is no magic wand. You can’t outsource or delegate YOUR part in achieving them. Your success is up to YOU and you alone. Stop making excuses. Don’t wait. Take that first step!

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