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How to Plan for a Successful Future – 4 Easy Tips for 2021

Everyone should have a plan. No matter how cliche you think it sounds, an effective plan is the most important part of a path to a successful future.

True, it’s not the only thing that counts. The effort is ultimately going to get you the results you’re looking for, but planning keeps you accountable.

The past year has been a challenge, to say the least. If you’re a planner by nature, then you probably sat down at the turn of 2020 and made some goals for the year. How many of those ended up turning out? Probably not too many.

It’s been an up-and-down year for everyone, but something that we all can probably agree on is that what happened and what we envisioned didn’t match up as much as we’d thought. But that’s part of planning! Even the best plans change, and that is part of effective planning.

If you want a successful future, your plan is the foundation. You point your life and, equally as important, your psyche, in a direction with purpose.

Plans keep you accountable and break things down into smaller achievements that let you recognize progress and keep moving forward.

Let’s talk a bit today about how you can plan for a successful future no matter what comes in your way.

With the right planning tools, you’ll reach new milestones and feel a sense of fulfillment that only comes with living out your dreams.

Here’s what you can do to start planning for a successful future today!

Writing a To do list for year 2022 in a notepad

Tip 1 – Goals that are Written Down are Much More Likely to Get Done

This is such a simple yet powerful piece of advice. Most of the people I deal with have the best of intentions when they start a new exercise routine, begin a new diet, or start a new job.

They think about what they want to look like in six months or a year, even ten years. However, goals that aren’t written down are simply aspirations of the moment. There’s no accountability.

By writing down your goals, you’re communicating with your subconscious self. You’re letting your brain know that this isn’t just some fleeting hope or “that would be nice” moment. This is something real that you’re going to work toward.

I think spending a bit of money on a nice planner is one of the best things you can do every year. Yes, goal setting and keeping yourself accountable can be done virtually, but using a pen to write things down is different.

With a high-quality calendar notebook that will last you through the year, you’ll be able to revisit your goals and track your success.

I even suggest writing down weekly or daily tasks.

As you move through each day, strike through what you’ve finished with a pen. It will feel great doing it and you’ll become accustomed to that sense of achievement that comes with even the smallest of goals.

This will become a habit and you’ll move on to bigger and bigger goals.

woman viewing goal list on a laptop while writing on a notebook

Tip 2 – Set Up a Regular Goal Review When You can Track Progress and Make Adjustments

You can’t expect to set a long-term goal once and then have it happen. Goals and successful living can be a grind, and you have to embrace the regular commitment to progress that success requires. There are no shortcuts.

People who live successful lives, whether it’s success in a diet or workout goals or their career live and breathe by their goals. They are constantly reviewing them and, if necessary, adjusting them to meet whatever their new reality is.

For example, if you had set a goal at the beginning of last year that you were going to open a restaurant, then the coronavirus pandemic probably threw you for a loop.

In most parts of the country, opening a new restaurant in the face of closures and so many restrictions probably wasn’t the best decision. The point is, plans sometimes have to change, and you need to be able to change your goals along with them.

To ensure the greatest probability of meeting your goals, you need to review them regularly to ponder whether you’re putting in enough effort and measure where you are compared to where you began.

Remember, goal review sessions are just about how much left you have to accomplish. They’re also a time where you can soak in the moments of progress and accomplishment that you’ve already achieved.

Planning for a successful life needs maybe a weekly or monthly planning and goal review. Set time aside for yourself when you can contemplate how things are going and where you want to be in the next chapter of your life.

a man celebrating his success

Tip 3 – Mapping Your Success Will Lead to Better Results

We’re not going to say there’s no such thing as an overnight success because sometimes that does happen. However, it’s not likely.

Success, more often than not, is the result of years of work and planning. If you want a successful life, you’re going to have to put in the time to make it happen.

You’ve probably heard this before but it’s so true. Setting big goals is great, but sometimes only setting one or two big goals can be overwhelming.

You can’t see the roadmap to where you want to be, you just say you want to be somewhere and hope it will happen. What is more likely to happen, though, is you’ll spin your wheels or spend time doing things unrelated to your goal in the first place.

Successful people break down their big goals into small ones. They understand what success will look like and know that if they do “A”, then “B” will be the result.

If you’re ambitious and you, for instance, want to get a master’s degree or start a business, you’ll have better results if you create a roadmap with scheduled dates so you can make incremental successes that will lead to overall achievement.

woman checking time in front of a computer

Tip 4 – Defining Success Earlier On Will Help You Save Time

What does success even look like? Is it money? Fame? For many people, success is different. There is no single definition for success that everyone aspires to.

Perhaps the biggest part of planning for a successful life is defining what success is to you. Think about what it looks like, how it feels, who is there with you, and what happens after you’ve accomplished all of your goals.

Believe it or not, but a lot of people you’d think were successful on the surface are still deeply unsatisfied. They’ve put in thousands of hours into becoming a doctor or making a new mobile app, and now they don’t know what to do with themselves. They’re still searching for a purpose.

With a long-term outlook, you can define what a successful life looks like to you early on. You’ll spend less time chasing money if you decide that money isn’t that important to you.

Instead, you’ll have more focus and energy to spend on activities with higher returns on your time and effort.

Also, think about what you want your life to look like once you’ve achieved what you define as a successful life. How are you going to feel purpose and what will keep you motivated after you’ve checked all the boxes? Most people eventually find out that true success is in the constant pursuit of excellence, not in the achievements themselves.