Make a Plan That Works

There is a famous saying that we have all heard: “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” According to Google, those words have been credited to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Winston Churchill. Regardless of who said them originally, they make sense. Planning is an integral part of success. You need to know what you want to accomplish and how you are going to get it done or you will wind up wasting time and energy.

So, as I write this, the year is roughly 2/3 over. Have you accomplished much so far this year? Are you ready to end the year strong and get lots more done?

Time for you to make some plans and make them optimistic, positive plans.

Let’s try an exercise. It is an exercise with two separate parts--Part One and Part Two


Part One:

a. Write down the three most important things you have managed to get done so far this year. Think through everything you have done over the past 8 months and write down the three accomplishments that strike you as the very best.

b. Next, for each of these three, write down one word to describe how you felt about that deed. Were you proud, bored, inspired, excited, thrilled, alarmed, what? Do not invest a lot of time thinking – just put down the first word that comes to mind for each.

c. Also, for each of these three, write down a few words to describe why these endeavors worked out so well. What happened that worked right for you? A lot of things in life manage to end up as failures. Why did these three tasks turn out so well?

Okay, what is the purpose of Part One? That’s easy. I want you to focus on what you have been able to get done and how good that success felt. I want you to be in an upbeat mood that centers on how much you are able to accomplish. You are not a loser so don’t think like one. Plus, I want you to think seriously about what has led to your successes in the past. Good things do not happen by luck. Success is not an accident. Success comes from doing things the right way and I want to bring that into your mind. There is a lot of psychology to the success you are going to have on the CPA Exam.

I very much want you to avoid thinking:

--I can’t do this.

--It is not worth the energy.

--I’ll never make this happen.

--I’m always a loser.

That is all nonsense. I want you to start focusing more on the “winning side” of your life. Focus on your winners and think about how those happened.


Part Two:

a. Write down at least five things that you would like to accomplish between now and the end of the year. Unless you have already passed, one (or more) of these must be about the CPA Exam.

b. Rank these future goals from most important to least important. I always believe that success is so much more likely to happen if you know the one or two things that are most important to you. People wind up wasting time each day on goals that are not terribly significant. As of this point in time right now, what are the two most important goals in your life? Hopefully, one or both involve the CPA Exam.

c. Now, most importantly, for each of the goals on your list, write down 2 or 3 things that you want to get done over the next 7 days that will help you achieve the goal. Don’t be vague (“I want to study hard” does not provide much help but “I want to work 75 questions on CPA Review for Free gives you a tangible goal to shoot for). Notice that I like plans that cover a very short period of time. You can only work right now so your plans should only cover the immediate future.

If you will go into the next four months in a positive way, there is virtually no limit to what you can do between now and the end of the year. These two assignments provide you with a basic system to get started and move forward. In 7 days, you can feel great about what you have accomplished and then you can create your plan for the next 7 days.

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