Planning for success

We all want to succeed at something, whether it’s your career, a sport, being a good parent, or whatever else you’re working at. But do you have a plan for succeeding?

The fact of the matter is that if you just hope that you’re going to succeed without doing something to make sure that you actually do succeed, it’s unlikely that you will achieve your goals. Most people do not succeed accidentally, they do it through many small decisions and actions over the course of time that lead them to success.

First, think about your personal mission statement in life. What are your priorities, and what is most important to you? Consider everything — your family, God, friends, activities, work, etc. This way when you set goals for yourself, you can make sure that they line up with your priorities. For example, maybe your work goals involve spending 20 hours a week doing something and as a result you don’t have any time to spend with your kids. If your list of priorities says that your family is more important than work, maybe you need to think about the goals that you’re setting to make sure that it’s the right thing to do.

Once you write out your personal mission statement and your priorities, it’s time to think about your goals. Do you want to learn how to do mobile development? Be a better spouse? Get to know your kids better? Be able to run a half-marathon? Lose 20 pounds? Brainstorm and write down a bunch of ideas.

Now that you have your ideas, evaluate them all and figure out which ones are most important. Think of your life and career like a business. What adds the most value to your life at this point in time? You can have different goals for different areas of your life (e.g. your marriage, your kids, your career).

Once you have your goals, think about the steps that you need to take to get there. Write them down and share them with someone else so that they can help you stay on track.

Now you have to execute. When you have to make a decision about what to do with your time, remember your goals and priorities and make the decision based on that. You certainly don’t want to make decisions solely based on things like feelings, what others might think, or what others say you should do.

This is what I do to make sure that I’m making the most of my life and it’s really helped me keep my priorities straight and be a better husband, father, and software developer.