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Ask any professional or business owner if they think a business plan is necessary for success, and most would answer in an instant – of course! Ask these same people if they have an equivalent plan for success in their own lives, though, and you might get a very different answer.
At the same time, most people might also say that even though they do not have anything as formal as a business plan, they have a pretty good idea of what they want out of life: a family, perhaps, or professional success, or a life’s work for a cause they believe in. While these are all worthwhile goals, there is another way of looking at your life’s accomplishments.
Writing for Success.com, Jim Rohn says, “Ambitious people know that each step toward their goals is not a singular step. Each discipline is not a singular discipline. Each project is not a singular project. They see everything they do — and every discipline they adhere to — as a link in the chain of events and actions that will lead them to their final destination. Every action and every discipline achieved today is a link in the chain. Every action and every discipline achieved tomorrow is a link. And every action and every discipline achieved in the more distant future is also a link.”
Creating a life plan based on this insight involves something Rohn calls visual chain thinking. In Rohn’s estimation, living a life in balance while accomplishing specific goals requires — or at least is best attained with — visual chain thinking. The first step is to define plans for your career, family activities, investments and your health. Then, to reiterate, understand that achieving success in each area is linked to success in all areas.
Reaching your goals — and, ultimately, living a successful life as you define success — is a step-by-step process. Rohn suggests following these guidelines.
- Set goals and establish a plan for each and every day. “Do this every day,” says Rohn. “I know all this writing takes time and a disciplined effort. Remember, however, that reaching your goals is the fruitful result of discipline, not merely hope.”
- Take it to the next step: Every Sunday, set your goals for the week and establish a plan to reach them.
- Easy to guess the next step: set goals and establish your plan for the month.
Another key to this method is to create a physical map of your goals using graph paper so that you can easily visualize weeks and months — hence, visual chain thinking.
There are side benefits to creating such a plan and mapping it out. On off days, for example, when you’re lacking enthusiasm or just have a negative attitude for some reason, you can look at your map and see the process you’ve made toward your ultimate goals.
Read more about Rohn’s concept of visual chain thinking along with details on creating a game plan to achieve your goals here.