Are you planning to fail?

Or did the dog eat your homework?


I was born in the adopted city of that great American thinker, innovator and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin. One of his many brilliant observations: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”

So what kind of plan do you need? My own preference is one that accounts for and counteracts the main reasons we fail to achieve what we want. My plan has 7 steps and is recorded on a 7-section chart, the Personal Power Roadmap.

But is a plan enough? If I had a $100 bill with Ben Franklin’s image on it for every plan I made and abandoned, and if I had followed Ben Franklin’s instructions to save money, I’d be rolling in dough today.

Why did I abandon plans I made? The usual suspects are I ran out of motivation, I got bored with the idea, “life happened,” or some other version of “the dog ate my homework.” I tried incentivizing myself through various means: I paid for a year’s membership at a gym, then went only a few times before finding I could never get there when it was open (it wasn’t 24-hour Nautilus, which might have been a better choice given my “I can’t get there in time” excuse). Or I let work get in the way, like the time I cancelled my plans to go to Nepal and lost my $500 deposit. I look back at those abandoned plans like flotsam washing up on the beach of my life. I don’t like making plans I don’t carry out, so sometimes I don’t make them because I know I won’t do them (no more gyms or exercise equipment!). I know I need really good “whys” to get me to do things I don’t like doing. The reasons have to be ones I care about, not ones I “should” care about.

When you think back over your life, did you fail to make plans? Did you make plans but then failed to carry them out?

Some people don’t make plans because they know they won’t follow them. Others don’t make plans because they don’t know how. Others naturally do things and don’t need to write out a plan to get motivated and keep at it.

It’s time to follow another one of Ben Franklin’s adages: “Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.” In other words, turn off the notification sounds, check your email no more than three times a day, let phone calls go to voicemail and retrieve them three times a day.

The time you will save can be used to focus on the next step to take to carry out your plans, or to make plans if you haven’t done that yet. An easy way to make and carry out your plans is to follow the 7-step system in The Personal Power Roadmap: The Ultimate 7 Step System to Effectively Solve Problems, Make Decisions, and Reach Your Goals.