This simple but effective self improvement exercise will teach you the best way of planning for success. No matter what field you may be working in, it is imperative to have a reliable process for achieving your goals, an effective way of planning for success.
If you are a businessperson you will most likely have several of these already and still be looking for more; if you are more artistic / creative, you may struggle to set down clear plans at all, in which case you should try to implement this way of planning for success as much as possible; it will help with both organisation and motivation.
Self Improvement Exercise : Planning for Success
This way of planning for success is a great strategy for leadership in business. The reason artists struggle when planning for success where businesspeople succeed is because of the difference in the comfort zones of their brains. Most artists (amongst them this author) are more comfortable with envisioning and researching than with the planning of actions. On the other hand, businesspeople may be comfortable with routines, plans and actions but less able to use their imagination. Whoever you are, you will have brainsets in which you are comfortable and brainsets in which you are less comfortable and your self help / self improvement routine should take both your strengths and weaknesses into account. For this reason, artists and creative types should pay close attention to this exercise, which focuses on your Reason brainset—the area of the brain most often used by business types.
Planning For Success Step One : Define
As is often noted in the best personal development websites, it is essential to be very specific with your goal. But first, let’s discuss what your goal should be.
- Your goal should be for you. Don’t do something because anyone else wants you to. You must be honest with yourself and choose a goal that you want to achieve for yourself.
- Choose a goal that inspires you, motivates you or in some way ignites you. It’s important to feel a sense of genuine positivity and desire in your goal. Or, if you are leading others, of course, a goal that can inspire and motivate both yourself and those working with you.
- Make sure your goal is attainable. It’s important to get on the path of success; to become accustomed to succeeding. So choose a goal that is challenging be attainable.
- Make it as specific as possible.
Planning for Success Step Two : Break into smaller parts
Where many creative types fall apart is in not properly following through a logical sequence of steps to achieve their goal. Here, we shall break our end goal into its constituent parts. If you are in a leadership role you may need to lay out these steps for those you are working with and explain your reasoning.
- Brainstorm for a list of ‘parts’ of your goal. For instance, if you are writing a novel you might have: write overview of story. Write plot. Chapter 1, 2, 3. Edit. Etc. Try to write down all the necessary steps toward your eventual goal.
- Put these steps in order such that you create a clear campaign of action that you can follow.
Planning For Success Step Three: Break up into even smaller parts.
- Now go through your list of steps that you just created and break these up into even smaller parts still. For instance, with the example of writing a novel, the PLOT section could be broken down into: Write plot for Act I, II, III, etc.
- Again, create an order for these parts. Then add specific dates or amounts of time that you will allot for the completion of each part. For instance…
Plot for Act I : + 1 week Due : 30 / 7 / 11
Plot for Act 2 : + 1 week Due : 7 / 8 / 11
Plot for Act 3 : + 1 week Due : 14 / 8 / 11
Complete Plot : 3 weeks Due : 14 / 8 / 11
Planning For Success Step Four : Action
A plan is no good without action, and you’d be best to begin as soon as possible, whilst the plan is fresh in your mind. Keep the following points in mind whilst implementing your plan
- Try to stick to the plan as much as possible but remember the plan is flexible. If you go off schedule just tweak the plan a little bit to accommodate.
- Make sure to reward yourself every time you successfully meet one of the targets on your plan. You could have a chocolate bar or go for a drink.. reward yourself however works for you but make sure you do. The brain learns quicker when there are rewards to be had!
- Make sure the plan is always somewhere you can quickly access it to keep yourself up to date. You could put it on the wall, on your desktop, on the fridge or anywhere else you will see it frequently.
- Again, for those in a position of leadership you should aim to make sure that the above rules are true for all following the plan, whether that be in a business environment or otherwise.
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