Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I certainly hope you are achieving everything you set out to achieve this year. Whether you have or haven’t, it isn’t too early to start planning for next year to ensure that 2017 is even better than 2016.

To guarantee a successful year, you need to have a plan.  Here are some tips that might help you formulate yours:

Make it a Life Plan – When making your plan, make it more than just a business plan – make it a Life Plan. We don’t work in a vacuum. So when creating your plan, make sure to include all facets of your life.  Think about your goals and strategies around your family, your personal health, your community service and your recreation as well as your business. I am a big believer that if one aspect of our life is out of sync it tends to affect the other aspects. So make sure they are all in alignment.

Get it in Writing – Experts agree that we tend to hold ourselves more accountable if we write down our plan. Having it written down also gives us a reference guide for our daily, weekly and monthly activities throughout the year and keeps us on track.

Start with a Vision – If you consider your plan a map, a map is of no use if you don’t have your destination in mind. It is okay if that destination changes, but it is important to have a definite starting and ending point. When setting your goals, make an effort to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone.  Don’t go easy on yourself. Make sure to create a goal for each aspect of your life, For example, your goals might be $300k in income, a month vacation, an hour at the gym each day, pay for my kids college and $10k to your favorite charity.  Use these goals to keep you focused on why you are working so hard everyday.

Bit Size Morsels – Like eating the proverbial elephant, break your plan down into monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly activity and achievements.  Enough good hours lead to a good day. Enough good days lead to a successful week. Enough good weeks and you have a good month. Enough good months and you have a great year.

Share your Plan – Don’t be afraid to tell anyone and everyone your plan. This does two things: 1. It gets people on board to help you execute your plan – we all could use a little help in our lives. 2. It holds you accountable to your plan. Even if you don’t share it with a bunch of people, make sure to have at least an accountability partner to hold you to your plan.

If you take the time to plan, then you should plan on having a successful 2017.

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