Would you plan a complicated trek through mountains without a map or plan? Probably not. But, most of us stumble through life without a real plan to reach our goals and realize success.

You might get lucky and come through successful in the end, but you probably could have done it sooner and without so many obstacles if you had a plan to begin with. Life doesn’t automatically give you a plan for the future when we’re born.

And even if you do have a plan at an early age, there will likely be obstacles and distractions you didn’t consider. During your life, you’ll go through stages that will determine many things about your personality and your life’s path.

Some stages are fraught with difficult times while others make it seem like you’re flying toward your goals. As you work through the stages, you’ll become a more mature and hopefully, better human being.

Around the age of 18, the family as a nucleus becomes less important and you move away to try out relationships and professions. During this time, you’ll likely focus on yourself and what you want to do for the rest of your life.

The choices you make as an adult (probably in your mid-twenties) will probably decide your life’s direction. Will you want to get married and have kids – further your career – or maybe even check out for awhile and travel around the world?

Commitments to goals of career, lifestyle and other accomplishments are defined at about this time and the plan for your future is put in place. If you don’t have a plan at this time, you could flounder and never reach your goals.

It’s important that you plot your journey carefully and be able to choose the specifics of how to live your life rather than living your life on chances. The map to reaching your goals depends on what you’re striving for in life and should be planned accordingly.

For example, if you want to become a heart surgeon, you know you’ll have to include many years of medical school, internship and studying. Most every career will require some type of schooling or training and that should be the core of your plan.

Your lifetime goals should be punctuated with small goals to ultimately reach what you want to do with your life. Your life will change as you age and the plan may change many times, but should still point to your ultimate goal.

Periodically looking at your map can detect any changes in your life that may need to be considered in the journey. You may get married, have children or suffer an illness. Most goals are achievable and you can tweak the path you take at any time. Always look toward the future you desire and you’ll stay on track to reach it.

If Failure Intimidates You, Gain Confidence Through Preparation

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” Benjamin Franklin once said. It was true when Franklin said it and it’s even truer today. If you don’t study for a test in school you’ll likely fail – and if you don’t learn how to set yourself up for success, you’ll likely fail at that, too.

So many businesses that were great ideas have failed because of poor preparation. But each prepared action you set in place boosts your confidence that you’re doing it right. Of course, you’ll come up against obstacles you haven’t anticipated, but you’ll be much more capable of facing and solving them if everything else is running smoothly.

Preparation is a necessity for every goal you set. You wouldn’t run in a marathon without being fit – or jump in to a diet or exercise plan if you haven’t set ironclad goals of what you want to accomplish – and in what timeframe.

The confidence you gain during the preparation process will help you visualize success in a way that won’t happen if you rush haphazardly into the dark. Planning puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you make important life choices that will take you to the point in life you want to be.

It also helps your inner wisdom figure out how to use what you learn in the preparation process. It also helps to gain confidence by mapping your life – past, present and future. By seeing a map of major times in your life, you’ll see where sometimes you went wrong and other times you were right.

You’ll likely see things you hadn’t noticed or thought of in the past and this will help formulate your goals for the future. It’s inspiring to create a vision board that’s a map of your life – or, you can choose to map it out in a journal and include lots of detail.

Without a step-by-step plan to reach your goals, you are much more likely to drift off track and perhaps never find your way back. By planning, you will have much more success in making the conscious changes that are necessary in your life.

Before setting long and short-term goals, think long and hard about what you want to create or accomplish. Then, chart the course, taking as much time as you need to anticipate the outcome of each step you take.

Then, you’re ready to implement your plan. The finalized plan will likely change in the future – and it won’t protect you against all of life’s U-turns and pitfalls. But you’ll know where to begin and what you have to do before you realize the success you desire.

Even a perfectly prepared plan of action will change as you move along – and it won’t insulate you against life’s adversities and U-turns. But preparing ahead will help you take up where you left off as soon as possible and keep you from experiencing ultimate failure.

Get Lost in Your Dreams and Let Your Excitement Fuel You

When you were a kid, you might have gotten chastised for daydreaming – that pleasant detachment from the rest of the world when you’re enthralled with visions that mirror your hopes and plans for the future or simply enjoying the present time.

Maybe you were looking at the fascinating process of a bird in the tree feeding her hatchlings – or imagining your life as a world leader or princess. To others, it may seem like a waste of time, but daydreaming can actually prepare you for future success.

Daydreaming doesn’t have to be a waste of time. Sometimes, when you peek into the future and how you can live your life, you’ll become determined to work harder to achieve that success.

While daydreaming, you might be so distracted that you lose track of what’s going on around you. If you’re on the train, you may miss your destination or be unaware that someone is trying to get your attention.

Aside from offering entertainment when you’re bored, it can also help you get in touch with your inner self. Thinking about your past life experiences and envisioning a future experience may help you make much-needed decisions.

Dreaming can also help get you excited about your goals and plans for the future. With daydreaming, your mind becomes a sort of vision board that self-creates images of how it will look when you succeed.

That can become an incredible motivating factor when you take action in meeting your goals. You’ll work harder to succeed because you now have a vision about how success can change your life.

Of course, there are times to daydream and times to pay attention to the task at hand. If you’re listening to a lecture about a career you want to pursue, it might behoove you to listen and learn something that could help you actually achieve the success rather than simply dream about it.

You might allow yourself to intentionally zone out into a daydreaming state of mind or you may unintentionally let your mind wander if you’re engaging in something you’re not all that excited about.

When you daydream, you’re getting a break from the present moment to release tension and return to the task at hand with a new, fresh outlook. It can lead you to possibilities that you may not have thought of and help you control anxiety.

Daydreaming might be detrimental if you drift so far off in your dreaming that you forget what you need to be doing. But daydreaming can also turn into one of the most important motivational tools in your plans for success.

Reach inward as much as you can with your thoughts and daydreaming visions. Use the positive visions to fuel your plans and goals and bring happiness and fulfillment into your life.

Developing a Game Plan Allows You to Anticipate Obstacles

A coach develops a game plan before his team faces opponents. The game plan is meticulously executed to give the players the best chance in the coach’s mind of winning the game.

It also maps out a host of obstacles the team might face when coming up against the foe. This prediction is based on countless reruns of the opponent’s previous games. That gives the coach knowledge about obstacles his or her team might face.

Rather than being blindsided by plays not anticipated, the coach is able to prevent the blindside by making sure their team is ready to counteract them. It pays to have the mindset of a coach when you’re planning your own strategies for life.

An entrepreneur who starts a business without a game plan is almost sure to fail. Finances, competition, plans for future expansion, hiring and more must be considered before money is invested or you’ll be overwhelmed with obstacles you didn’t anticipate.

Before you begin any plan for the future, it’s imperative that you research what that plan entails and take steps to prevent being blindsided. There are problem areas in anything that’s worth pursuing, but knowing what those problems are can save you time, money and help you succeed, rather than fail.

One problem that can kill a project or make your goals come to an abrupt halt is developing a negative mindset. Before you even begin, you should expect to win, rather than fail. Fear of failure causes setbacks that are hard to overcome.

Another problem that has made many good ideas tumble is trying to do too much. When you don’t give yourself enough time to complete one goal before it’s time to move on to another, it’s easy to become discouraged and frustrated with the process.

Break down the large goals into mini-ones that you can achieve and manage well. Trying to do too much can also lead to another problem – making excuses about why you can’t go on with the project. Excuses are obstacles that you develop on your own.

Take responsibility for what you’ve created – either the confusion and chaos in your plan – or the success. Make a commitment to achieving your goals and then take action to do just that.

Procrastination is another obstacle that you need to anticipate and guard against. When you put off what you need to do, the chance may never come again. Procrastination creates a complacency that keeps you from getting anything done that’s worthwhile.

Finally, continuing to live in your comfort zone may hinder progress and become an obstacle that keeps you from ever realizing success. Even though you may be excited and happy to work on your goals now, there is a danger that you will abandon them because you fear the unknown.

Don’t let fear or other obstacles keep you from your life’s dreams and goals. Break free of the bonds that have kept you back and live your life moving forward by developing a game plan that works.

Having a Strategy Mapped Out Helps You Achieve Goals Faster

Rather than wasting precious time and floundering to reach your goals, it’s best to develop a strategy to help you move quickly from one task to another with ease. Many of us develop goals and have full intentions of completing them – only to have them fall through in mid-flight.

This may be because enthusiasm for the project fails or you’ve come to a standstill for some other reason. There are ways to regain your enthusiasm and excitement and continue overcoming obstacles that have been placed in your way.

One strategy to keep moving from one goal to the next is to be persistent. Refuse to give up and step down just because life may have become a bit difficult or you find yourself bored with the process.

J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, surely became discouraged at times. A divorced mother, living on welfare in England and struggling to write and publish her first book, Rowling personifies the meaning of persistence and determination to succeed.

It’s doubtful that Rowling wrote her first book without making changes to what wasn’t working. You should also take a close look along the way at what isn’t working for you and change it when needed. Don’t be in denial of changes that need to be made.

Another good strategy for achieving goals faster is to never limit yourself or what you’re capable of achieving. When you have the belief that you can’t possibly accomplish something you consider grandiose, get rid of the negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts have killed many good ideas and intentions. Do what it takes to keep you motivated and moving forward by spending more time developing a strategy that will guarantee success.

Mapping out a strategy to help you achieve your goals should consist of a plan and other backup plans to ensure success. These backup plans are insurance against encountering failure that could stop you in your tracks.

Attempt to identify each point in the plan that could backfire. What would happen then? Would you simply give up and forget about your dreams and goals – or would you find a way to move forward with another strategy?

Successful people take leaps of faith every day and don’t become discouraged when something doesn’t go their way. They take the necessary steps to turn a negative into a positive and plow through what was once an obstacle in their paths.

Each day, you have the opportunity to propel your life in the direction you want it to go. By making the right choices and following a carefully planned strategy, you can meet your goals and you can realize the success you desire.

It’s Not Enough to Have a Plan – You Have to Have Commitment, Too

Anyone can make a plan to do anything. You may plan to get up early in the morning and work out at the gym, but without commitment, you’ll never get out of bed in time. You can also have a life plan and never get past stage one of the plan without commitment.

A good plan only works if you work on it. There are many things that could interfere with making a commitment to carry out the plan – psychological barriers can keep you from taking action or you may have bitten off more than you can chew and become overwhelmed.

Barriers can keep you from carrying out your plan for success if you let them. Ensuring that a barrier to your plan doesn’t get the best of you, you need to first anticipate the obstacles and know how you’re going to deal with them.

At some point in any plan, you may fear failure or doubt yourself. Then, you may fail to take action – and subsequently fail to reach your goals. Learning how to look at failures as learning experiences helps you keep going when some type of failure occurs.

There are certain patterns of commitment. You may make a commitment, then break it and then give up or you might pull yourself back up by the bootstraps, learn from the knowledge you gained and make a new commitment – stronger and more self-assured.

Those who are successful in keeping commitments know exactly why they set a goal in the first place and they’ve identified certain actions necessary to reach the goal. They’re also sure about what they’re willing to sacrifice to reach the goal.

Success at achieving goals depends on how you will react to the psychological obstacles that are sure to arise. Other types of obstacles – such as financial and personal – may also get in the way of reaching your goals.

Know that these setbacks will happen and be prepared to deal with them. Without a true commitment, it’s easy to give up and just let it go. You’ll have to pull your determination from deep within sometimes to get back on track and continue to work on your goals.

One way you can solidify your commitment to a goal is to keep a positive vision in front of you about how life will be when the goal is reached – how you will feel and how your life will change for the better.

But don’t just think about the positive. What will happen if you don’t reach your goals? Putting a contrasting situation in the mix will help you make more of a solid commitment to seeing it through to the end.

Expect success and don’t settle for less. When you expect to reach your goals you’ll plan ahead to make sure you’re ready to meet any obstacle that may threaten to push you off track.

Your Plans Should Be Based on What You’re Confident You Can Contribute

Biting off more than you can chew has happened to us all. It could be that you don’t have the qualifications to follow through – or a strong commitment to some of the tasks involved.

You may have a talent that you’re sure you can execute – but you may also have a dislike of other tasks that are necessary to what you want to accomplish. Financial planning may excite you because you’re good at it, but you may hate to write reports.

When a dreaded task threatens your progress in a goal you want to achieve, it’s time to find a solution. In most cases you can either delegate or outsource. For example, if you hate to mow the lawn, there are probably many teens or lawn services that could do the job.

The CEO of a large company doesn’t have to speak to everyone who calls – his or her secretary or executive assistant can filter the calls, making sure only the important ones get through.

Outsourcing has become a preferred method that online entrepreneurs use for various tasks. A job title called Virtual Assistant, was spawned from the necessity of those with online businesses to let go of some of the smaller tasks that can easily be performed by someone else.

Also brick and mortar companies are finding outsourcing to be a viable alternative to making space and doing all the paperwork required when hiring employees. Overhead costs go down and production usually goes up.

When you make plans for anything, whether it’s a goal to start an online business or to go on a round-the-world excursion, think of ways you can minimize the stress that’s put on you.

A travel agent can take care of reservations and most anything else for a planned trip – or an online business plan can include the services of a bookkeeper. If you can’t yet afford to outsource or delegate, make sure you can handle the tasks you dislike as well as the ones you enjoy.

Included in the plan should be a sub-plan that addresses how you’re going to handle the dreaded tasks. For example, you could designate these tasks to be done first thing in the morning to get them over with so you can turn to something you do enjoy.

If you don’t think you can handle or know how to perform some of the tasks necessary to carry out your plan, it’s essential that you find a way to make it work. Perhaps a volunteer in your family or friends could help for awhile until you’re able to pay.

After you include and are confident about being able to fully carry out the plans you have in place, you’ll be able to stay focused on the areas of your plan that you’re excited about and give it the time it deserves.

It’s Okay to Plan the Start of Your Journey without Knowing How It Will End

Life happens – and it can throw your plans out of whack in an instant. Some people are able to get back on track and continue after major setbacks while others may never get back the momentum they once had.

Think of the beginning of a plan for life goals or anything else you desire as being born. When you’re born there’s no way of knowing how your life will turn out. It depends on a combination of things such as environment, genes and how you’re raised.

Success in reaching your goals also depends on certain things – such as how well you planned and how determined you are to reach your goals. You don’t necessarily know how it will end, but you can plan carefully for how you want it to end.

You may change the course of your journey several times as you travel along because you change your mind or decide on a better path. Don’t think you have to stick to your original plan just because you so carefully planned it – plans don’t have to be set in stone.

The outcome of your journey may be much better and more exciting than you ever thought possible at the beginning. But remember, it was in the planning phase at the beginning that brought you to the final outcome.

That planning gave you the direction you needed to fulfill your mini-goals, learn along the way and to eventually reach the end of your journey. It involves setting smart goals and keeping a positive mindset throughout the process that will get you to success.

When in the planning stage of how to reach your goals, make sure you know the motive behind your actions and that you don’t plan beyond what you’re capable of accomplishing.

You can read about people who have successfully reached the end of a long journey in an entirely different way than they anticipated. The first President of the United States, George Washington, didn’t plan to become president when he led the revolution that changed history.

He successfully reached one goal, won each battle and finally won independence from England. That was the goal he originally planned for – but it also brought him to the pinnacle of success and far beyond what he expected.

Set your eyes on the prize, plot how you’re going to get there and be ready to change your path or accept an outcome that wasn’t in your original plan. You can apply this principle in many areas of your life – health, relationships and other personal matters.

Rethink your plan at each goal level you reach and decide if it needs tweaking, if it will take less or more of your time to reach the next goal and decide if you need to change direction. When you’re ready to continue, you’ll feel refreshed and more determined than ever to reach that ultimate goal of success.

Be Prepared for Your Plans to Take Different Forms Over Time

It’s only natural for your original plans to evolve into different forms over time because of the knowledge and insight you gain that will help you improve the plans. Each step of the journey to reach your goals will unlock secrets that you didn’t know before.

As your plans take on characteristics you hadn’t planned on, your thinking will also have to evolve to accommodate the changes. You may need to add or take away certain portions of reaching your goals so they can move along more naturally.

Sailors know they can’t change the direction the wind blows – but they can change their sails to better catch the wind and get them to their destination. Inevitably, those winds will change again and adjustments must be made to accommodate them.

Insight to what you’re trying to accomplish is everything when it comes to meeting your goals. You can’t get insight without knowledge and action. A transformation occurs in both you and your goals as you move along and powerful changes take place.

Rather than fight the changes, accept them for what they are and move on. When you resist the evolving changes, you’re resisting the inevitable and won’t be able to harness the power that change can bring.

Some changes aren’t good for meeting our goals and they become obstacles to be overcome, but even those changes are for the good because you learn as you go. Don’t be so fixated on the failure that you fail to see the benefits.

Transformations and changes that aren’t expected or planned for can become the best teachers in your life. Those curve balls that life throws your way will either serve to make you stronger and more determined to reach your goals – or stop you dead in your tracks.

Unless you’re flexible enough to adapt to the changes and keep focused on the ultimate goal, you’re destined to become stagnant. Accept that your life’s journey will come with pitfalls and pinnacles. Don’t be so unmoving that you can’t change your plans to fit the circumstances.

It’s doubtful than any human being has ever reached the pinnacle of success without facing challenges they didn’t plan on in the beginning. The difference in those successful people is that they confronted the challenges as they appeared and learned how to use them for their benefit.

Resisting those inevitable changes is like a ship proceeding on the course it planned in the beginning with no regard to the turbulent weather bearing down on it. Doing so is foolish and can put your goals in jeopardy.

Just as it takes time to become a world-class athlete and lots of practice and overcoming challenges – it will take time for your plans to come to fruition. As time moves on, you’ll finally reach your goals, but not without changes along the way.

Some of Your Plans Can Be Contingent on Other Things Taking Place

A contingency plan is a plan you make in case your original plan doesn’t work. There are usually contingency plans in place for tragedies such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires.

So, when things don’t go as planned and tragedy strikes, a contingency plan can save lives and prevent further damage. The same is true for life plans and certain goals you make that can lead you to success.

For example, you may have a goal to finish college and plan on your parents footing the bill. If your parents go through a financial crisis and can’t pay for your education anymore, you’ll either have to quit – or go with a contingency plan that may include getting a part time job.

That may delay your graduation and slow you down in the goals you want to reach, but it’s a plan that still ensures you graduate and pursue your life goals. Businesses should have contingency plans to cover lawsuits or other problems that can strike a business and cause them to fail.

Contingency plans should be a part of your consideration in every goal you want to achieve. It will reduce the confusion and chaos when problems do happen and help you recover in good time and continue with the fewest wrinkles possible.

Having a good backup plan for your business or personal data is a good contingency plan for anyone. Also, take steps to photograph and back up precious photos and mementos, personal information before they can be lost in a fire or other tragedy.

Give some thought to the risks you’re going to face as you move forward to reach your goals. What if Plan A doesn’t work? Unless you have a Plan B in place, you may be stopped in your tracks for awhile – or forever.

Common obstacles to meet your goals should be addressed and a contingency plan put in place before you take the first step in following your heart and eventually meeting your goals. Common obstacles are those problems you know about from research.

For example, a common obstacle for falling off a diet plan could be cravings or eating out too much. You might address these obstacles by finding out what you could substitute to give you satisfaction rather than giving in to your cravings – or planning ahead to have most meals at home rather than stopping for fast food.

Many people think they’re going to figure it out as fate happens, but that’s the worst time to try and put a contingency plan in place. So often, when a main plan fails, a failure mindset ensues and it’s difficult to think clearly. Make a contingency plan for your goals a priority on your task list. You’ll sleep better and be much more likely to overcome any crisis that becomes a threat to your success.

Eric D Cooper
Author: Eric D Cooper

Author, Visionary and Truth Seeker Sharing wisdom and inspiration to all those around me Get my new book "Set Your Mind On Things Above The Sun" https://www.amazon.com/author/abovethesun

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