Not having any clear goals is like getting in your vehicle and just driving… Hoping you’ll end up somewhere you want to be. Most of us now put our destination in the satnav, so why not do that with other areas of our lives?
There will always be unexpected challenges ahead, but having a Plan B, and even a Plan C, can really help us to work around them.
Keep your Plan A simple
With goals, simpler is usually better. I have one main personal goal, and one main business goal. As Gary Keller argues so well in my favourite business book, The One Thing, having a singular focus means you’ve a higher chance of getting to your destination.
My personal goal is to get our house and garden properly spruced up
in 2021. My business goal is to hit a particular monthly turnover (no, I’m not telling you what it is, but you can ask me in 2022 if I managed to hit it).
I’ve said before that I like breaking down these big goals into 90 day chunks, this allows us to see progress and give ourselves a quarterly review. I look at what progress I’ve made towards my 90 day targets once a week on a Friday.
The importance of a Plan B
Plan B is all about having a clear idea what to do if there are road blocks. There’s always something you can do to make progress, whether it’s a personal goal or business goal.
If your personal goal is to get fit but you can’t get to the gym, have a Plan B for how to exercise at home. If you wanted to get the garden done but it’s been raining for three weeks and you can’t get into the garden, sow stuff in pots or go and buy some gravel for a new path.
As for business goals, what if you get postponements or cancellations due to Covid or another reason? Have back up jobs. Do some online courses. Get your accounts done really early.
Don’t wait until you need a Plan B to decide what your Plan B is, write down your options now. Not having a Plan B allows you to let yourself off the hook all too easily.
Develop a Plan C state of mind
Sometimes things really go awry. Perhaps you or your partner can’t work due to illness. Maybe your van blows up and you can’t afford another one. Big stuff does happen.
Plan C is all about what attitude you’re going to have if things really do go tits up. It’s about developing a positive and responsible state of mind. You can’t do it overnight, it takes time, but believe me, it really stands you in good stead. Some people are lucky to have a Plan C state of mind already, some of us need to develop it.
If you think a positive step to big upsets is sitting at home all day playing Call Of Duty, then that’s your decision. But why not take some time out to go on a business course, learn a new skill, dig a wildlife pond, help others by doing some voluntary work.
Plan C is about looking at the bigger picture, being positive and being accountable to your better self. Taking responsibility in the true sense of being able to respond in the best way you can.
The most important thing with goals and plans is accountability. Firstly, write them down – your Plan A, Plan B and your mindset approach for Plan C. Research has shown that writing down a goal increases the chances of achieving it by 40%.
For 90 day planning, I suggest you put a reminder in your diary or calendar to review your goals every quarter: end of March, June, September and December. Next, share your goals and plans with someone – that can also have a massive effect on success.
Benjamin Franklin, scientist, philosopher, diplomat and a founding father of the modern USA once pointed out, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – So why not plan to succeed?