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How to Plan Anything (Dynamically)

In my earlier post, I shared a little about dynamic planning, this post will address how to go about planning anything, dynamically. Whatever you are planning towards (How to bring in more money, how to be more positive, how to be happier, etc.), these few effective tips can be your general blueprint in planning to achieve those goals without letting any change of plans delay you.

#1 What are you planning for?

The first thing to do is to always state your goal – define it and visualize it. Stating and defining your goals can be difficult if you haven’t figure out what you want. So start with that; Stephen Covey would say “Begin with the end in mind”. This is what you are planning toward.

What do you really want? What are you trying to achieve? What’s the meaning of having/achieving it? Why do you want it? Why does it matter?

If you cannot answer the questions above, you will never achieve your goals. You will quit at the first signs of hardship because achieving it may not mean much at all; You will throw in the towel when you don’t succeed at the first attempt because you don’t know why you even want it; You will give up after several more attempts because you think it does not matter anyway.

On the other hand, if your goal is crystal clear and you know the precise answer to the aforementioned questions, you are ready to proceed. Remember, know what you want and why you want it.

#2 What’s the first strategy that comes to mind?

Most of the time, when planning to achieve what you set out for, your mind auto-suggests several methods that you’re most keen on trying. Go for that; get a clear grasp of the idea and dive right into implementation. Don’t over-think, just do. Don’t worry too much about the details because you’ll sharpen it along the way, bear in mind that the plan will change in the long run so there’s no need to get fussy.

And if you’re saying, “Hey, that’s just pure impulse, we must think before we act” – Correct; we must think before we act, but who says you haven’t thought about it? You have, you’re just not aware that you had thought about it.

This first thing that comes to your mind is not something that sprung up coincidentally. It was produced by your sub-conscious mind; an idea buried deep in the back of your head that was suddenly shoved into your conscious mind. What most people don’t realize is that a subconscious decision has been made.

Inspirations happen this way. Ideas happen this way. Even the law of attraction happens this way. You know a lot of things, but you can’t be aware of all the things you know at the same time. Your subconscious mind digests the vast subconscious information you didn’t know you had, and passed on the final suggestion to the conscious mind.

#3 Take action and continue taking action.

Execution is always important. What most people believe is that planning is thinking, WRONG! Planning is not purely thinking, planning is both thinking and doing. If you believe that planning is thinking and not doing, you’ll continue to plan, plan, plan, and at the end of the day you’ll simply fail to take action and your goals will simply not be achieved.

On the contrary, I’m not saying that thinking is not important, but it is only as important as taking action. If you find that you’re thinking more than you’re actually doing, then you aren’t actually going anywhere (even if you think you are). The purpose of having a plan is to take action according to the plan, so ultimately the execution part is vital; more importantly, the persistence of execution in the face of failure.

When results produced are less than expected, it forces you think that you’ve taken the wrong actions or that your actions weren’t good enough. You would quickly come to the conclusion that you didn’t put enough thought into your actions and you’ll start shifting into analysis mode (where you are convinced that there is a flaw in the plan that needs to be fixed before you take another step).
If you break out of this, chances are you’ll move along to the next stage of the plan just fine. But if you’re stuck here, you might quit or give up altogether. Planning demands constant thinking and doing at the same time. You need to dig for more information before making decisions; you need tools to get you going; you need

Persistence plays an important role in getting you out of any failure and moving on toward your goals. Here’s a comprehensive guide on Persistence should you need it.

#4 Reflect from time to time.

When you start changing plans, you start taking actions in accordance to the change of plans. From time to time, it would be wise to reflect upon the changes in the plan you have made. Take some time to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan.

Where were you just several weeks or several months ago? And where are you now?

Did any real progress take place?

Has the plan changed?

Are you satisfied with where you are currently and why?

This is also the time to determine if the plan has been changing for the better or for the worse. Often, a large goal comprise of several smaller but integral objectives. Meet all the objectives and you would’ve achieved the goal. As your plans and actions change, has more objectives been met? Or have you actually wandered further away from the objectives?

Reflection is the pivotal point between changing plans. Know the full purpose of changing plans; why you are doing it, what it will achieve or how it is expected to help ease you closer toward realizing your goals. If the change of plan does not serve a purpose, then why change? If there is a purpose but the change of plan does not serve its purpose, know what you want to do next: change the plan (again) or change the implementation of the plan?

#5 Improvise when there’s an opportunity.

Most people only improvise their plan when the need arises. If they find that their plan is working fine, they would rarely change plans. If your goal is to be more positive for instance, and your strategy of using positive affirmations seems to be working fine, you may well believe it will keep you within your zone of positivity for the long-term – i.e. no need to improvise.

But when the time comes when positive affirmations are no longer effective, what will happen? Will you change plans i.e. change strategies and take a different approach towards adopting a positive mindset?

If you were weaker, you might just get negative. However, I’m not saying that you’ll stay negative forever; you could still come back to a positive state, but then you’ll pretty much be bouncing back and forth without ever landing on the positive side indefinitely. The goal of being positive then slowly ceases to be a goal altogether because there wasn’t a dynamic plan that seeks out improvisation opportunities to begin with. You start off good, but it just didn’t follow through as good.

Had you started off with a sound strategy and continued to improvise them as you meet new opportunities, you may have accumulated an arsenal of other positive strategies such as adopting an attitude of gratitude, reframing your perception, positive mental rehearsal, etc. Be a student of your passion or goal; the student that continuously learn new things about their own goals until they are the master of their goals.

Closing Notes:

To summarize the entire article, planning starts with a goal – state it. Know what you want and why you want it. Next, let the first idea flow to you seamlessly and use it. Details do not matter at this point of time; you can make a mental note to tweak certain important details later on. Take action and ensure that you persist toward the achievement of your goals. If your plans are still not working, reflect. Have you been making or faking progress? Are you on the right track? Whether the plan is effective or not, always seek opportunities that can improvise your plan.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That may sound cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

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