with Emmanuel Odoemelam

Study any person who is known to be a permanent success and you will find out that he or she has a goal, and he or she has a plan for the attainment of the goal. Also, you will discover that he devotes the major portion of his thoughts and his efforts to the attainment of the set goal.

Naira, CBN

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Goals are directional signs for nearly all that we do in life. And a plan is a written map from where we are to where we want to be. It is very crucial that you have a goal, but more important is to have a plan on how to achieve your goal. I think the analogy Stephen R. Covey used in his book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, that I have taken the liberty to paraphrase should help us understand goal setting and the power of right planning.

Suppose you wanted to arrive at a specific location which you haven’t been to in Central Abuja (goal), a street map (plan) of the city would be a great help to you in reaching your destination (goal). But suppose you were given the wrong map (plan). Through a printing error, the map (plan) labeled “Abuja” (goal) was actually a map of Aba. Can you imagine the frustration! You might work on your behaviour; you could try harder, be more diligent, and double your speed, yet your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster. You might work on your attitude by starting to think more positively, you still wouldn’t get to the right place.

Attitude, diligence etc, are critical to success but they have to be appropriately channeled to yield the desired results and that is the place of goal set with plan.

So envisage our future by setting a goal and writing down the steps to take to get there.

What kind of future do you see for yourself, your financial wellbeing?

Planning to achieve your goals

Planning is a guide you have to design to help you achieve your goal. Start with your 20-year goals and work your way backwards. You can carve out a 15-year plan, a 10- year plan, a 5-year plan, and finally a 1-year plan to get you started.

Note that, no plan is perfect because you cannot control all the variables of your life.

However, your plan can be like the navigating instruments of a pilot. When the weather changes or turbulence sets in, it will help you keep your eyes on your intended destination, and find your way. Truth is, whether you plan for the future or not, the future will become your reality soonest.

Even prayer can never take the place of planning. I can even assure you that; praying without planning is playing without knowing.

The Plan listing

In planning to achieve your goals, there are three types of list you must have. But before I unveil the list, let me first emphasize that in life, you must learn to amend, re-amend, align, re-align, construct & re-construct your choices constantly for a better or realistic pursuit of the future.

  1. To-Do-List:

You can’t succeed with your life if you don’t know how your life is being run. The reason I know that some people don’t run their lives, is simply because they don’t plan their day. If you don’t plan your life/ day/ week/ month, other people will plan it for you and it means you are always fitting into someone else’s To-Do-List.

Your To-Do-List must be a plan that is designed around your goal. The other element is timelines and prioritizing.

Setting priority with timelines means you are trying to determine what is more important at any given time. For instance, you can have ten things that are important, but of the ten things something must be more important, and therefore, not only that it must come first, it must happen within the best time. When you discover what is important, you have discovered priority.

Setting priority is also about readiness. You have to be ready for something before you can do it.

It is very important we prioritise our life and our To-Do-List because priorities are the pathway for accomplishing goals. They provide the road map that organise and directs your life towards your goal. When you set your life goal, and you have a well detailed plan, and your priorities are unmistakably clear and specific, you will know what to do, what to focus on and, therefore, what should get your attention, resources, and follow-through.

  1. Stop-Doing-List:

This may be very strange to you, because all we’ve heard about is To-Do-list. No one may have ever told you about Stop-Doing-List. Stop-Doing-List is simply the list of those things that do not have positive import & impact on your life goal. And if you must get to the next level, you need to make a list of those things and discipline yourself to stay away from them completely.

If you make an inventory of all the friends you are associated with, all the organisations you are associated with, and see who and what is not taking you closer to your goal, you will be shocked at who or what has been wasting your time and other resources.

  1. Not-To-Do-List:

This is the list of things that have a small but positive effect. It becomes very tempting to do these, but they steal time away from the core tasks you should be doing which are the ones that have HUGE positive impact. It means that you have to deliberately throw away things that are so nice and pleasurable but are not so significant in achieving your goals. The worst thing to do in life is, spending a lot of time doing what does not contribute much to your success.

People with idea will always come looking for you to be a part of their idea. Their idea may not be bad, but the truth is you cannot participate in it because it may take you off your goal.

In pursuing your goal, have it in your consciousness that it is not every invitation and opportunity that is a blessing.

The kernel of Not-To-Do-List is maintaining focus in the face of attractions, that is, knowing when attractions are actually distractions from the set goals and plans.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.