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Planning matters

Planning is important, why?
You heard people say if you have a goal, the next step you should do is have a plan and execute it. You also heard people say, no matter how you plan it, execution is the thing that can decide whether you will be successful. I heard a lot of these since I started paying attention on find a better way to make my life different. And just like you, I keep seeing these suggestions and reading similar concepts

out of many self improvement books. Most of time I find myself get inspired after immersing into these positive and optimistic paragraphs, however, most of time it’s ending up with I am letting short time inspiration or motivation fade away by time after initial empowerment of execution. Why is that?

I lack of planning.
Have you heard about SMART ?
Despite execution is important, without realistic and detailed plan you are easily fall out of track once execute. At my work, there is an annual review or performance thing that employees need to put into place, at least most of companies in the USA do so. I was introduced a strategy of writing my career goals called SMART. You can find detail explanation from Google searching SMART goals. I also simply put the explanation here grabbed from Wikipedia as a quick reference.
  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
I started writing a goal with details steps based on the SMART criteria.
Although I learned this at my work writing career goals, I also use the similar concept to write my personal or self development goals. And I just start doing it few weeks ago, I found it’s useful so far.
My experience
When writing my personal life goal, I don’t actually put much description on whether it’s relevant to my work/career or not. The purpose might be for different reasons, sometime I want to do something or try something for no reasons, just out of curiosity for that thing. So I won’t be too granular about meeting every SMART criteria. For example,
I want to pass DELF A1 french exam in 3 months by studying french at least 3 times a week, each time at least 1 hour.
this is my goal for learning french. I need to find something that I can achieve so I can approach it with systematic planning and learning.
Next step, I start writing the corresponding plan for this goal. For example,
There are four sections of the exam:
Listening
Reading
Writing
Speaking
For each section, I write down the list of steps need to accomplish in 3 months, and divide them into monthly or weekly plan. For example:
Listening
    Listen 10 french conversation and write whatever the main point a week
    Finish xxx material listening part in 2 months
Reading
    Read 1 long paragraph and 2 short paragraph 3 times a week
    Finish xxx material reading part in 1 month
Writing
    Write one journal at least 2 times a week.
Speaking
    Speak french at least 30 minutes for 2 times per week.
After having the list written, I will start adding these into my daily plan. Since every week I need to  study french at least 3 times, I scramble them into my plans every week.
I may have one listening section plus one reading section on monday, and have reading and speaking and writing section on thursday. You can see from  my goal setting, I have my reading in plan all the time, and others at least 2 times a week.
That’s just an example of one of my goals, and my plan to achieve this goal. If I don’t have carefully plan it, it might just fall out of my head and becomes nothing but ‘dream’. I believe your strong execution should be apply correctly on the right plan. According to what you’ve planned, you don’t really have to think too much every time when execute. Just do it.
Start planning for yourself, today!
That is why I can’t agree more on this: if you have a goal, plan it. Having a plan is the first thing to step in execution, that not only helps you always keep yourself on the right track, but also learn how to correctly plan your life. Step by step, not everyone born to plan, you may make mistakes along the way, but finally you will find your own way to achieve what you want based on the plan that fits you and your life. Keep moving on, start planning on your goal, you will find yourself motivated after planning!

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