Forget will power, commitment, desire, even passion. Your new years’ dreams will fall flat without one vital ingredient. Planning.


Hello and welcome to the new year! Did you manage to take a break? Have some time off? Chill out with a bit of well-earned R&R? I’m hoping so.

As for me, I spent time with family in Tasmania. My lovely wife and I packed up the car and the motorbike, and shipped ourselves off across Bass Strait for two weeks. Gorgeous part of the world let me tell you, highly recommend you check it out. And as is customary for me, I spent some time thinking, did a little bit of dreaming, as well as some planning.

Planning Time.

Those of you who have followed me for a bit will already know I don’t subscribe to the new year new me, or new year’s resolution schools of thought. If we want change in our world, we can start to change any time we want! The school of thought I subscribe to is, to treat the arrival of a new year as a time for planning. To some of you, the idea of dedicating time to planning might be as appealing as a discussion on the merits of a Donald Trump tweet. But on behalf of those of us who’ve pushed past that, and enjoy the power of a well-crafted planning session, I’d like to convince you otherwise.

As a coach, be it people or business, there’s a few constants I hear and see. One of those constants is goals that have failed to materialise. Primarily it’s caused by a lack of clarity about the goal. Because before we can start any form of planning, the goal itself needs to tick three boxes.

It needs to be achievable, but not easy. Your goal should push you, stretch you, and rattle that comfort zone. It needs commitment. Effort is not a dirty word, ask anyone who’s pushed themselves harder how they felt about the results they achieved. The rewards of your efforts will become addictive. It needs balance. You can’t work toward a goal that demands effort 23hrs a day. That’s setting yourself up to fail. Incorporate some down-time. Time for rest, observation, and reflection, is important to have. Particularly with long-term goals.

When To Start.

Once your goals satisfy those three basics, your planning can commence. I must insist on one all-encompassing caveat. KISS theory (keep it super simple). I have yet to encounter anyone who overly complicated their life by creating overly complicated plans, who also felt that inner glow from their warm sense of achievement. If a plan is too complicated, you’ll lose your desire to achieve the goal.

Here’s my top three simple planning tips.

Tip #1 Timing.

The best way to achieve any goal is to put a date to it. Grab a calendar for this year and start entering the dates you want to be/do/have your goals achieved by. Want to see that touring band on March 14th? Write it in. Want to travel to the snow for a skiing weekend? Write it in. A business goal by end of financial year? Write it in. A holiday overseas? Where? What date? Write it in!

Tip #2 Work the plan.

If your goals contain stages or pieces, list them, prioritise them, and work them. Add them to the calendar under the dates they need completing by. Need a passport? Need skis? Need a proposal written? Write it in there, with enough lead time to make it happen.

Tip #3 Bring it.

Any worthwhile goal requires hard work to achieve it. Your results equate to your efforts. Apply yourself, be disciplined, follow your plan, do the work, hit your deadlines. The secret to keeping yourself motivated is to hang out with motivated people. But if your goals are a solo pursuit, then take responsibility for achieving your results. Own it, and bring it!


Best Laid Plans.

A year is a long time in our lives, and sometimes, shit happens. Planning well doesn’t always guarantee smooth sailing, but it helps you to find ways of dealing with the inevitable interruptions.

And try to recognise when you’re getting in your own way.  Sometimes we all lean a little too hard on our personal excuses. Myself included. When I see this happening, I pay attention to my inner voice that’s telling me I’m a little too close to believing my own BS. The struggles are real, anything worthwhile has them. If you can’t push through, then reach out to someone close to you and vent about it.

And If you’ve read this and your inner voice is nagging you about your struggles to create a plan of your own for next year, I’d like to help you with that. Email me and I’ll give you copies of the planning tools I use, and I’ll personally help you use them. No catches, no hidden fine print, I just enjoy helping out.

What are you planning to achieve in the next year? Tell me by adding your comments below.