How to stop planning and start doing: achieve your goals

Do you tend to over-plan EVERYTHING? Don’t worry, I’m the same way! Here are a few tips that will help you to finally STOP over-planning and start doing!
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“if you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.”

Richard Branson

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You have planned enough, its time to stop planning and start implementing. It’s time to achieve those goals and this post will show you how.

With all the posts, seminars and discussions targeted at planning, we’ve been conditioned to see planning as the most effective part of achieving our goals. Don’t even get me started on the quotes:

“By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

While all these are true, just like every good thing, There is such a thing as ‘too much planning’ and I have first hand experience.

I plan and plan and plan, to make sure every step is perfect but then I look at my plans and think to myself, “I have to account for every obstacle, this plan isn’t it isn’t good enough” and I start planning again. Sadly, there is no such thing as perfect and I have spent valuable time planning while I should be executing and testing out those “plans” I’ve made.

Planning without execution is really pointless and there are lots of reasons why we plan and plan and keep deferring our “launch date”. In this post, you’ll find out 2 possible reasons why you over plan and how you can start taking action now. It’s really time to stop planning and start taking action.

Before we proceed, let’s create some balance and include some quotes on execution

“Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.”

Felix Dennis

“No excuses. No explanation. You don’t win on emotion. You win on execution.”

Tony Dungy

“Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”

Morris Chang

“It’s the execution that matters.”

Casey Neistat

There are a lot more out there and I personally agree with Casey Neistat and Morris Chang. You may have the perfect plan but without execution, it is pointless.

Having “great ideas and plans” and little execution of those plans (hello anyone with a journal full of ideas) led me on a personal development journey and it’s part of the reason I started this blog. So that as I go along, I’ll share everything I learn because I believe that there’s someone else who needs to learn them too. This time, we’ll take the step together to stop planning and start doing.

Why you are over planning and postponing your dreams

1. Fear and uncertainty

Getting started on a new project or chasing your goals involve some amount of risk. It requires an early investment of time, energy and sometimes money without any guarantee of returns. So we procrastinate with even more planning to improve our existing plan just to make sure that every step is perfect and we don’t fail……but how would you know if the plan is good when you haven’t even tested it….how are you improving your plan without your own personal data from your own experiments.

It’s time to let go of the fear and push yourself into finding out where your limits are and what you are capable of. Chances are, you don’t even know.

“Whatever your goal is you will never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly.”

Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life

Read: Overcoming my fear of failure

2. You’ll rather stay in your comfort zone

I can’t emphasis enough how much effort is required to go after your dreams. Your current situation might be okay, but there is a reason you want more. Don’t ignore that reason, it could be the greatness within you calling you, you wouldn’t know if you don’t listen, I imagine that is what my mother will say to me.

For some push, I highly recommend the book “Who moved my cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson. It is short and very straight to point and will give you valuable insights on how harmful your comfort zone is. I read it last year at the recommendation of my friend, Amanda and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Get it on Amazon, Audible (you can start with a free 30 day trial on audible and use your credit to buy it. The best part is that you keep your book even if you cancel your subscription), Abebooks

Another recommendation is “Screw it, Let’s do it” by Richard Branson. Richard Branson tells the lessons that helped him achieve success while giving us a view of some of the decisions he’s made.

Some of the ideas that led to his wealth are similar to ones that you may have had in passing or as a joke…like when he and other passengers where stranded in an airport because the planes were grounded and he chattered a plane, advertised it and people bought tickets because they all also wanted to leave. He said that led to him wanting to start and eventually starting his own airline.

What I learnt from the book is that the major difference between many of us and Richard Branson is that he believed in himself and acted on his ideas.

There may be other factors but don’t let your inaction be one of the reasons you are stuck and not going after your dreams.

Amazon, AbeBooks, Audible (you can start with a free 30 day trial on audible and use your free credit to buy it. The best part is that you keep your book even if you cancel your subscription)

“If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.”

Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It

How do we now stop planning and start doing.

How to stop planning and waiting and start doing?

Here are five simple tips you can implement today to start taking action:

1. Remember that there is no such thing as perfect

This had to be added as a reminder, so that you don’t fall into the rabbit hole of “my plan isn’t perfect yet” because there is no such thing as perfect plans before you start…in my opinion.

There are good plans and terrible plans but you won’t know which yours is, unless you implement it…heck, it could even be the perfect plan but again, you wouldn’t know because you have not implemented it and you are ruining that perfect plan by redoing it and over planning.  Yes I know I said there isn’t such a thing as a perfect plan but I had to go along in case you are anything like me and still think you want a perfect plan.

Frankly, …..No matter what you do, more can be done. Think about technology, it’s been evolving, from huge phones to smartphones with a growing number of cameras and features. We’ve gone from 3G to 4G, now we are at 5G. Everything can be improved.

Don’t get stuck in preparation mode, getting all the gear you need, just to let them sit and collect dust.

2. Don’t emphasize on specific future dates

Another rabbit hole, “I will start next ..”. This sentence could end with week, month, quarter, or year but you are just procrastinating. It’s kinda like giving up on your new year’s resolution before 14 January.

Don’t talk yourself into starting at a future date because it likely won’t happen.

The best time to start is already gone. The next best time is right now. You have researched enough, you have planned enough, your mind is ready, so start now with what you have and improve it as you go along.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Jim Rohn

3. Try the 5-second rule

Starting is one of the most difficult part of completing a task.

  • Want to go work out, getting ready is the challenging part.
  • Want to be up early, getting out of bed is the challenging part.

Mel Robbins wrote a book called the 5- second rule. Its simple yet effective. It’s all about making a mental countdown from 5-4-3-2-1 and immediately doing what you are planning to postpone. When your alarm goes off, count down and get up.

4. Break your goals into actionable steps

Many times, we postpone our dreams because the thought of the goal itself is overwhelming….well it is good if your goals scare you a little but that shouldn’t keep you from starting.

To counter that, break that goal into smaller goals which are less scary and start on number 1 today, then do one thing towards that goal daily.

Take your journal and ask yourself, “What can I do this year to make my goal happen?”. Based on the action you come up with, ask yourself again, “What can I do this quarter to move one step forward?.”

Keep asking the question until you come down to action steps for the current week or the day. Keep track of the tasks you need to work on each day/week and knock them out of the park.

You can download this FREE printable to jot down your action steps and related habits. You can also use it as a guide.

5. Start each day with a plan and take a step towards your goal daily

I know this is about acting and pausing the planning. However,  after the step above, you now have actionable steps, tasks and/or habits to work with. Now, schedule each task into your calendar weekly or daily so that when you wake up each day, you already have a plan/schedule in place.

If you prefer to plan daily, its advisable to plan your day the night before, that way you wake up to a schedule and you don’t have to wing it or run on auto pilot the whole day. No schedule means your day can taken over by random errands and tasks, resulting in a lot of wasted hours.

Read: 5 little things you shouldn’t do in the morning if you want the most out of the day

Use this FREE printable to keep track of your work as the go along your day.

Conclusion

Endless planning leads nowhere. To achieve your dream, you have to stop waiting and take the next step after planning, and modify your plan as you go along.

I’ll end with a quote from, ‘screw it, Let’s do it

“The best lesson I learned was to just do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how hard it might seem, as the ancient Greek, Plato, said, ‘The beginning is the most important part of any work.” 

Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It.

I hope we all will take the step today to stop planning and start doing, to go after the life that we want.

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