A plan without execution is like Sonny without Cher, Laurel without Hardy, Abbott minus Costello, Peaches less Herb and (a personal favorite) peanut butter without chocolate. The plan is just half of the equation, yet it is where so many great ideas lie in wait.
Seriously, a good plan is nothing without execution. Ever have a plan that never makes it out of the gray matter between your ears? You birth the plan, and think it all the way through over and over again; you know it’ll work. Unfortunately, it never gets done because the steps necessary to move a dream to reality – a plan to implementation – just may be the widest abyss you have ever encountered. What causes the gap and how to close it becomes the $64,000 question.
First, keep your plan simple and concrete. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant at once. It’s impossible. Little bites make your plan seem achievable. Lose two lbs. before five. Save $20 before $50. Pay off one credit card at a time. Be pragmatic. Don’t speak of abstract ideas and platitudes. Think in terms of reality. “I will save $50 this month if I bring my lunch two days per week.” Good plan – now execute.
Step 2…your plan becomes reality if you understand your priority. What matters most? Is that $2.50 per day you feed the vending machine really that important to you? Or would that $2.50 per day, times 20 working days per month, times 12 months, be better served as a $600 “surprise” weekend trip to Chicago’s Miracle Mile with the love of your life – complete with an exquisite dinner and an all-day shopping spree? One of these ideas makes you fat, and the other makes you “PHAT.” Priority, baby, priority!
Lastly, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Your plan has a number of benchmarks that need measuring. Sit down and assess your progress. Say to yourself…“self, how’d you do this past week?” You set out to bring your lunch two days…yep, good job. No vending machine activity. Good progress is made. At the end of next week, do the same.
Plans become implementation…dreams become reality…good ideas become a good deal more when you practice three simple steps: 1) Keep your plan simple and real; 2) Understand what is priority; and 3) Actively manage and measure your progress.
I’ve always wanted to write on this subject. I’m glad I finally followed through on my plan!