Are you a happy-go-lucky kind of person, or do you prefer to organize your life? Either way, I hope you'll find something to take with you from the following:

There's a lot to be said for the pragmatic "just do it" approach of getting things done, because that's how you get results. But if you don't take the time to think things through before you leap into action, you might be digging a hole in the wrong backyard! Without a plan, how do you know where you wanna go? Without taking stock every so often, how do you know where you are on your way there? Take our image of building the life you want and transfer it onto a house: would you start cementing one brick on the next without knowing in advance where to leave room for doors and windows?

OK, I'm no architect, but planning I know. Who hasn't written a list of pros and cons when faced with a difficult decision? Or set a goal for themselves and figured out what needed to get done in order to reach that goal? Well folks, that's what planning is. You may call it by another name, but it's the process of mapping out where you are now and how to get to where you want to be.

When taking a long road-trip (and you're not feeling too adventurous), it's a good idea to take a map, check out interesting spots, gas stations and rest stops for the way. If you want to lose weight, it's advisable to think about which changes you'll have to incorporate in your diet and exercise regime to figure out how long it'll approximately take you to fit into your skinny jeans. If you want to change jobs or have a career goal, you'll benefit from taking some time to write down what needs to happen in order for you to achieve what you set out to do.

I'm in the middle of constructing my business plan at the moment, which entails the elaboration of many details I need to envision and figures I need to dream up because I have no real reference point to base anything on. Then there's researching the market, my competitors, how do I even fit into all this, where should I be based, how should I market myself - the list goes on and on. It's daunting, and it's overwhelming, but I feel all the more prepared now that I've been asked questions that I hadn't thought of asking myself. As anxious as I am to get started, there's a lot to be said for preparation - I'll be all the better equipped to serve you, my dears, for it.

My point is, if you're young and motivated, you may look at people who inspire you and think "I'll have me some of that, thank you very much, that looks like a nice life". Whatever it is, people need to work hard to make something look easy, and I don't believe there's anybody influential who got to where they are now without having planned for it, factored in some set-backs, figured out a way to deal with unexpected pitfalls, and then got up again and again after falling down puh-lenty of times. So, find your dream, set your goals, and take some time to sit and think about what it actually takes to get there. Then: just do it. :-)

Have fun, til next time!

Image by Ben Smethers, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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