4 MIN READ | Positive Psychology

Terence Watts

Most Plans Fail: How to Make Sure Yours Is Not One of Them?

Cite This
Terence Watts, (2022, September 13). Most Plans Fail: How to Make Sure Yours Is Not One of Them?. Psychreg on Positive Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/most-plans-fail-make-sure-yours-them/
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is a fact that most plans fail – for a whole variety of reasons but most often to do with not thinking everything through properly.

It’s not sufficient just to come up with a spectacular idea, decide to become an entrepreneur, grab a grant or two, and get immediately on your way to becoming a jet-set high-flier. You need a firm structure and a plan.

Contrary to popular belief and the exhortations of the manifestation experts, there’s only so much success available at any one time (which is why most people don’t make it), and this seven-step plan will help you grab a fair-sized chunk of it.

Rule 1: Know exactly what success means to you

Success means different things to different people; unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, you might not recognise it when you get it.

Do you want to be disgustingly rich, for example, or be so famous that people recognise you in the street, or something else?

Maybe you just want to make a difference in the world, and you’re not bothered about fame or riches. Whatever, you have to know (or admit to yourself) what you want so that your ‘success brain’ (we all have one) can guide you to it like a laser.

Hint: Think of somebody you believe ‘has it all’ and set your sights on similar.

Rule 2: Know exactly how you’ll find it

Some people just decide they’ve had enough of being answerable to a boss, and they’re going to ‘go it alone’ and make a success of themselves. They’re determined, and they’re going to do it!

It sounds great, but it doesn’t even put you on the starting line; you have to know what you’re going to be selling – and whatever sort of success you’re after, you’re going to have to sell something, whether it’s physical products, lessons, or information.

The internet is the starting point for many, but ‘I want to be a success on the internet,’ isn’t a viable success plan. ‘I want to be a success selling imported oriental rugs on the internet’ is though, just as is ‘I want to have a successful online school teaching computer programming’ and similar. And remember promotion, lots of it every day, so people know you exist.

It doesn’t matter if your first session or pitch only has four attendees – four people will tell others about you.

Rule 3: When do you want it by?

If you don’t set a timescale, your ‘success brain’ won’t hurry. It’ll assume it has forever and be about as energetic as a cat asleep in the sun. Set a time but be realistic – becoming a millionaire in a year isn’t very likely, but getting your hundredth customer within four months might very well be.

Rule 4: Is it plausible, possible and fair?

This is where ‘the wheels come off’ on so many plans. Realism is key, so taking into account your success concept for rule 2 and your timescale from rule 3:

  • Is it truly possible that it could be done?
  • Is it truly plausible for you to do it (do you have the expertise and the funding for promotion, for example)?
  • Is it just for you and not designed to affect somebody else in some way (to make somebody jealous or please a lover, for example)?
  • If you get three ‘yesses’, you can continue. If not, then you may not be aiming for success but indirectly for a different outcome altogether. In that case a major rethink is indicated.

Rule 5: Get your timeline in order

You might find this one a bit puzzling initially, but it’s more important than you might think. If you perceive your past as stretching back behind you and the future in front of you, that’s the best timeline for success, and you can now skip to rule 6.

If, however, you see your past as on your left or your right, there’s a problem; your past with all its disappointments and mistakes is in your peripheral vision, so you can’t easily forget about it, and you also can’t ‘look forward’ to success – which is what rule 7 is all about.

In that case, do this ‘timeline realignment’ exercise every day for a while, or perhaps when making plans. Sit quietly, eyes closed, and relax your face until it’s totally expressionless. Now imagine you can swing that timeline round so that everything in the past is out of sight behind you. You can look forward to the future, imagining some event representing the most outrageous success.

Rule 6: The secret communication with your subconscious

This is probably the easiest part of your success plan. Divide a sheet of A4 paper into three, one quarter at the top and another at the bottom, so there’s a half in the middle. Now in handwriting (because that’s the best brain activator for this exercise):

  • Write in the top section about how your life is right now.
  • When you’ve found success in the bottom section, write how you want it to be.
  • In the middle half, describe how you will get from one to the other – and no cheating with magical spells or some mystical happening. Keep it real because reality is all you’ve got to work with.

Rule 7: Set your goals on your timeline

Okay, here’s a special and remarkably effective goal-setting technique. First, ensure your timeline alignment is from back to front so that you can ‘look forward’ to success. Now imagine your timeline stretching away in front of you (some people find it easier to do this with their eyes closed).

Place a marker of some sort that represents huge success away in the distance as far as you want or as close as you think is truly possible – it can be anything you like, a cheering crowd, a huge gold cup, a magnificent mansion, a pile of money, whatever you like.

Now add something close to the beginning, really close to where you are, representing the planned booster that gets everything underway or moves to the next step. It might be a phone call you have to make, securing funding, or organising a swishy website, for example.

Now, about halfway between that immediate start point (or where you are right now) and that outrageous success marker, place something that represents you being perfectly on track for your eventual goal – maybe an intermediate target being met or a celebration of some sort.

And finally, to get the whole thing rolling in your mind, let yourself look forward to the time when that midpoint is where you are when what was the far goal is now the midpoint, and you have already set an even more spectacular far goal, something that hasn’t even entered your thoughts yet.

And perhaps there needs to be a Rule 8: Nothing will happen unless you do something to make it happen.


Terence Watts is the creator of Brain Working Recursive Therapy (BWRT).

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