If you fail to plan, you plan to…well, you know.

In order to accomplish anything worthwhile in life, or even to change your life, it’s easier if you have a plan. I often told my kids as they were growing up: if you want to do a particular thing in life, study people who are doing what you want to do, and do what they did. This may sound simplistic, but it’s actually a good foundation for a plan.

Of course no two people will take exactly the same route to any form of success—or failure, for that matter. However, if you have a plan, you at least reduce your chances of failure.

I think some people fail to plan because they believe it locks them into some sort of commitment. Like they’ve written it in stone and any diverting from the plan is failure. They focus on failure before they even start. The only thing a plan locks you into is a commitment to try. It doesn’t even matter if you accomplish the exact plan you set out to. The most important thing is a plan lets you focus. It also lets you break down the goal to more manageable steps along the path to success.

In 2003, I set out a ten-year plan to become a professional writer. Why that year? In ten years, I would be eligible to retire from my day job. Though I had a plan, I did not accomplish my goal exactly as I’d planned. But it didn’t matter. I have become a professional writer and author of three books. But I’ve also learned that while becoming a published writer brings about an indescribable satisfaction, it does not guarantee a Stephen King-sized bank account. Well, not yet anyway. But I’ve got eighteen more months; we’ll see how it goes.

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