Success Secrets – How to Turn a Vision into a Plan

By Julian Burke in Success on September 21st, 2009 / No Comments

If you can dream it, you can achieve it! What would you like to accomplish in your life? What is your heart’s deepest desire? You’re on the journey of life – make the most of this awesome gift by living purposely and choosing your direction. Create a vision for your future and live the life of your dreams!

Transforming a vision into reality, however, requires time and effort. Following these success secrets will show you how to turn a vision into a plan.

Success Secret #1: Clarify Your Vision
A vision is the big picture – it can be broad, but it must be clear. Whether stated to encompass your entire life or tailored to a specific area, a vision must clearly establish what is desired. This is extremely important! Life usually gives us exactly what we ask for, whether or not that is our intention. Ensuring that your written vision statement is an accurate description of what you desire is the key to achieving your dream.

Be sure to take the time necessary to develop your vision and put it in writing. Allow a few days to let your vision evolve, revising it until you have a clear, concise statement of precisely what you want. Once your vision is finalized, copy it to several colored post-it notes or index cards. Post the vision statement conspicuously around your home. Carry it with you everywhere. Review it at least daily. Once clarity has been achieved, a plan to accomplish the vision is in order.

Success Secret #2: Develop a Workable Plan
Be confident yet realistic. Have fun! Focus on developing a plan but avoid getting bogged down in the planning process. Determine when you do your best thinking and develop your plan during those peak times. Choose a format that suits you. A pen and some paper may be all that is needed, or you may be more comfortable drafting your plan with a word-processing or spreadsheet program. Decide what works for you and get started!

Carry a notebook and pen with you at all times. Keep paper next to your bed for recording late night or early morning inspiration. Invest in other tools that will help you develop a plan to achieve your vision. A voice recorder, for instance, is ideal for capturing ideas while driving or any other time when hands are not free to write. Ideas often come at the most unlikely times and places. Be sure to have a system in place to catch those fleeting thoughts! Record them as they come and promptly incorporate them into your plan.

Identify available resources and complete a personal needs assessment. What do you already have that will help your vision become reality? What are you lacking for success in realizing your dream? Are there people who can help? Do you have the necessary financial resources? Are certain tools or skills required? Would it be helpful to join an appropriate group or organization? Accessing or acquiring needed resources must be included as an early part of your plan.

Set definite goals that will achieve your vision. Goals should follow the SMART format and be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Brainstorm your goals with a friend, if possible. Once you determine the goals appropriate to attaining your vision, break each goal into manageable steps.

Develop a timeline for each step within each goal. Commit your timeline to a calendar. Be realistic and ensure that each step is doable during the timeframe for which it is scheduled. Consider whether the required resources or skills will have been attained by that time. Strive to achieve some progress most every day, even if it is just a phone call or a bit of research.

Be attentive to detail but don’t force the process. Allow ample time to create a workable plan. Include enough detail to provide a clear route to success but don’t turn it into a chore by over thinking the path you have chosen. Beware of shortcuts, making sure to go through the whole planning process. Don’t skip any portion as one part builds on another. Taking shortcuts can lead to failure.

Success Secret #3: Implement the Plan
Developing a plan is only one a small part of successfully achieving your vision. You must actually implement the plan if you want to realize your heart’s desire. Just as a vision will rarely be achieved without a formal plan, the plan will never be successful unless it is implemented.

When implementing your plan, keep moving forward. Review your plan and timeline regularly to ensure that daily actions match your goals. Ask how every action in daily life is contributing toward achieving your vision. Keep moving forward with your plan, even if only through small steps. Do not allow paralysis to set in as a result of procrastination or inactivity. Take baby steps and do at least a little bit almost every day.

Distractions can quickly derail even the best plan. Monitor and modify your environment to be conducive to achieving each step. For instance, if your vision is increased health and your goal is to eat low fat, nutrient rich foods, consuming a bag of potato chips is counterproductive. Control your environment by not bringing potato chips into your home.

Prepare to overcome, or work around, obstacles. Every plan, no matter how well crafted, will encounter challenges during implementation. Even if you cannot work toward the big goal in a big way, there are always small steps that can be taken regardless of current circumstances. Be open to alternate opportunities to move forward.

Also, have a contingency or backup plan. Don’t tie yourself to just one route to achieve your goals and vision. Be flexible when warranted. Seize opportunities as they arise. Update your plan by rewriting your goals or steps, as appropriate.

Finally, in all that you do, follow the Golden Rule. Integrity and honesty in dealing with others is key in achieving your vision. Build charity and compassion for others into your plan – it shouldn’t be all about you.

Success Secret #4: Stay Motivated
To fully achieve your vision, you must remain motivated. Be kind to yourself and reward your progress. When things don’t go exactly according to plan, learn from the experience and move on. Remember to schedule some regular rest days when you can have a break from actively striving toward your vision and be sure to build rewards into your plan. Each milestone should be celebrated in a way that is meaningful to you.

Always affirm that failure is not an option. Working toward your vision may be difficult, at times. Be persistent and focus on the end result.

While achieving your vision is the ultimate reward for all your planning and hard work, remember to celebrate your final success. Creating a personal ritual or holiday to commemorate your achievement not only reminds you of how far you’ve come but also provides motivation for accomplishing a new dream!

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