Today I want to talk to you about something I believe we all need, and that is a life plan. Nothing in life that is done well is accomplished without planning.

As I travel around the world, I’m seeing a trend that I think is very interesting. I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of people, and I am always interested in people’s outlook on life. What I have observed are some common thought patterns. This does not describe everyone, but it is the tendency of a lot of people….

We plan our food, but we don’t plan our finances.
We plan our weekends, but we don’t plan our will.
We plan our kid’s college, but not their character.
We make time for games, but not for goals.
We take luxury vacations, but we don’t have a life vision.

As I think about this, I truly believe it comes back to planning. Planning is critical to a fulfilled life. If you want to be able to one day look back over your life and know you have accomplished what you were put on earth to do, then you must have a plan.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.”

Planning is the way to help control your future. Do you plan to live beyond this year? Beyond when your kids leave for college? Beyond when you retire? What are you going to do? How will you manage? When you look back over your life, what will you have done that is of significance? You desperately need a life plan.

Some of you have thought about these milestones and maybe you are worried, or at least a little concerned. One of my favorites, Winston Churchill says this: “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” I believe he knew what he was talking about! He was a master planner and history honors him for that. We, too, need to be master planners of our own lives. Otherwise, life happens TO us, and it happens AROUND us.

I recently read an article in Forbes magazine about why people feel lost in their lives. Look at the first reason this article listed:

Drift Syndrome.

When we can’t figure out why we’re doing what we’re doing, or how we ended up working the job we’re working, a sense of “drift”; settles in.  It seems that instead of planning out our career, we just drifted along the tides and eventually found ourselves here. Or perhaps we had a plan, but lack of follow-through and/or a few of life’s hard knocks changed it, and we just drifted along. The truth is, most of us drifted to some extent into whatever it is we're doing. Feeling The “drift” is an emotional trigger for feeling lost.

I want to briefly share 5 REASONS YOU NEED A GAME PLAN FOR LIFE. I believe it is critical that we understand the importance of a plan and that we make planning a part of our thinking. (This week we will look at the first two, and next week will cover the remaining three.)

#1. Planning is motivational.

This is the beginning. Whether we are talking about a team, a company, a work group, a family, or yourself, if there is no motivation, there is no success.

Having a plan in place can be extremely motivating. Consider waking up every morning, not knowing what you were doing, where you were going, who you were meeting, or even why? That sounds quite de-motivating!

As the great philosopher Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

That’s where a life plan comes in. If you know your destination and have mapped out how you are getting there, each day becomes challenging and is one to be anticipated as your work toward your goals. You need that plan!

Plans motivate us to stay on course. Has anyone ever been on a diet? Did you have a plan that included a ‘free day’ or as some people call it a ‘cheat day’?

If you have every dieted, you know that having a plan is what makes it work. The plan provides the momentum and knowing the plan works provides the motivation. Some people use the Keto plan (they eat a lot of bacon and cheese!). I saw a sign that said, ‘If KETO stands for Keep Eating Take Out, then I’m doing it right.’ Some people use the calorie counting plan (they use their calculators a lot and get mad!)

You all know someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, and what is the very first question they are asked? “How did you do it?” We all want to know their plan. And I guarantee you, they had one. I talked with someone just last week who lost 40 lbs, just by cutting everything in half and eating half now and the other half for the next meal. She had a plan.

There is always a plan, and knowing the plan and seeing the results will keep you motivated and give you momentum to achieve your goals.

#2. Planning will put you in a better position.

Whenever you plan, you plan to succeed. Thus, it is not a surprise that planning will eventually lead you to have better success and achieve a better position in the market, be it brand or a product. Any of your goals can have more chances of success with proper planning.

CEO’s of thriving companies know this. I read where the CEO of a major corporation invested the first hour of each day in meticulous planning of that 24 hour day. He wrote out his plans in detail on paper.

Lee Iacocca, the legendary former head of Chrysler, said that one of his greatest mentors insisted that any ideas he had be written out in detail on paper before he would consider them. You see, anyone can get carried away in the climate of conversation. But when you are required to write out a detailed plan on paper, facts arise that were previously hidden. Truths are much easier to see. Problem areas emerge. Weaknesses become obvious. Anything cloudy becomes clear. Questions are answered. And then, with your clarified plan, you are positioned to succeed. Planning puts you in a better position.

Planning is the difference maker in your success and in your life.

Look for Part 2 of A GAME PLAN FOR LIFE next week.

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