Execute the Plan
You’re almost done! The last step of the plan is Execution—actually putting the plan into effect. It seems so easy, but is, in fact, the most difficult part of the whole operation. It takes determination, commitment, flexibility and follow through. The lack of these capacities causes more plans to fail than any other fault.
A special word about flexibility: Apart from lack of grit in planners, plans fail because things go wrong. Unexpected challenges arise, new information emerges, or resources evaporate. Few plans unfold exactly as expected. The key is to build in sufficient flexibility to be able to adapt to even big changes in the landscape. Your plan should anticipate dragons if they happen to be in the neighborhood, but it should also have sufficient flexibility to allow you to deal with even unexpected developments.
Here are some tried and true ways to keep your goals in focus:
- Keep your goals in sight
- Tape a copy of your goals to your mirror, or inside your closet door
- Put a copy inside your binder or notebook
- Set up time in your calendar spread out over each term to complete the components of your goals
- Make a public commitment:
- Send a list of your goals to your parents
- Post your goals on your Facebook site
- Tweet your goals, along with progress updates
- Create an incentive system
- Finish an objective, go out for dinner
- Pick a splurge purchase—something you want, but which is a stretch. Complete the goal, go shopping
- Assess, Assess, Assess
- Run a monthly check on goals—how are you doing?
- Have your parents, a friend, or a roommate ask you about them on a routine basis
List the strategies that you have selected from this list, and any others that you have come up with, to maintain your commitment to completing your goals.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Create a landing page to introduce yourself and provide links to the rest of your plan. Think of it as the doorway to your WU Plan, through which anyone who wishes to know your intentions must pass.
Where are you now? If life is a journey, this stage amounts to finding your starting place.
It turns out that goals are good for things other than soccer and water polo. In this section, you get to create them for the next year of your life.
Planning doesn’t stop with creating goals. You also need to achieve your goals, which, it turns out, requires more planning. In this section you’ll plan how to succeed with your plan by scheduling your objectives.
Finally, the section in which you make this process matter by putting the plan into effect. You’ll find surprisingly useful tips on how to maintain focus and bring your plan to fruition.