5 ways to stop “just getting by” and start building your game plan

When I travel around the country and meet people from every walk of life, I tend to find one common theme: so many people are living day-to-day with their hopes and dreams.

Forget paychecks, financial status or job title. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the stark reality that most people simply don’t have any kind of game plan. And it’s costing them a lifetime of happiness.

Think about it — whatever you’re doing right now, do you really have a plan or series of goals you’re hoping to achieve? If you’re reading this and thinking, No, then you have forfeited the right to blame anyone around you.

Society, your family, “the man”, your employer and your competitors are not holding you down. You must look in the mirror and determine what you’re willing to do.

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When you don’t have a plan or some kind of series of goals, it’s extraordinarily difficult to find success — and nearly impossible to find sustained success. I’ve seen so many people who are brilliant, bold and far more intelligent than I am fall short because they just couldn’t sustain enthusiasm or because they just “didn’t want it.”

They never made peace with their past and they didn’t have a set of values and principles that were individually tailored toward their plan in life. In an effort to help you find your way — no matter where you are on your journey — I want to share with you the five ways I believe you will find happiness and success, no matter your position in life. Good luck!

1. Start thinking creatively about the things that bring you enthusiasm and light the fire inside of you

I’m a true believer that everything begins with a thought — an idea — that becomes the launching pad for any dream. We have thousands of thoughts and ideas that come into our mind throughout the day.

For goodness sake, you were given a beautiful, intelligent mind. Start writing these ideas down on a piece of paper.

Actually, it’s almost 2018! Use your iPhone and voice record a note to yourself. Send yourself a text message. User Evernote or One Note. But the key point here is — latch on and commit to memory the powerful, bold ideas that are representative of who you are.

Think passionately about what excites you and lights the fire inside of you.

As I write about in my new book, The Value of You, this is called fire! Great athletes like Michael Jordan have used this incredible enthusiasm to power their careers, using it as a source of motivation, inspiration and energized thought.

You can do the same thing. It’s not just accessible to a few. We all have this power.

2. Use your memory to accept and make sense of your past experiences

We’ve all failed. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all been wounded in relationships. Every one of us has painful memories and experiences that have left scars on our souls.

And we often don’t like to look back at these times, so we ignore them. We don’t quite move forward — we just freeze them in time and try to avoid them. But that NEVER works.

One of the great life lessons is to make sense of your past experiences, extract all that you can learn from them, place those lessons into use in your life and begin building your new future. You must make peace with disappointments and failures.

It will be the best thing you ever do if you have the courage and confidence to act. You’ll recognize that life’s greatest successes come from life’s greatest failures.

3. Build your life on a foundation of core values

You probably know from reading my writing that I’m an enormous proponent of building your life on a foundation of core values. I believe in this as much as anything in this world — so much so, that I chose to write a book about it.

The reason why is because values like confidence, love, faith, perseverance, humility, and gratitude stand the test of time.

They don’t discriminate on age, gender, financial status, religion, skin color or where you’re from. Values can be practiced by anyone. Make an everyday commitment to living a life of values.

It will color your human experience, shaping the way you think, challenging your assumptions and encouraging you onward in the face of negativity and adversity.

4. Enter into the “Thought Life Cycle”

Thought → Desire → Belief → Plan → Action

It really is this simple. Start with your thoughts. Shut out the negative, doubting, fearful voices and begin to amplify your inner voice of enthusiasm, joy and determination. Start building a desire and back it with faith. The power of faith is the belief in yourself, belief in others and a belief in a power perhaps much larger than yourself.

The next part is for #5.

“The path to mediocrity is trodden by those who never had a plan.” — Christopher D. Connors

5. Build Your Game Plan

I’m a major proponent of putting together a five-year plan for your life. I’ve heard this wisdom from Fortune 500 executives, CEOs, retired millionaires and respected friends. I’ve heard it so often and from so many people I admire, that it’s become one of most important messages I deliver.

When recently speaking to a group of MBA students at a local university, I implored the group to begin building a five-year plan. I told them to start by the week or even the month, but also to have a plan for the next year.

It’s enabled me to write the book I just did and to work with executives across the country. I’ve managed a full-time job, writing career, growing family and speaking career because of my plan.

There’s an absolutely astonishing power that takes hold in your life when you speak and write your dreams over your life. You simply have to be willing to do it. It honestly is that simple.

Because any plan is only worth the self-sacrifice and commitment to action that you’re willing to make. The best plans in the world are nothing if you’re not willing to act.

And know this — you will need to adjust your plan. You must keep going and make changes as life changes all around you. That’s the secret of change and the secret of life.

You truly can achieve the dreams you want if you’re willing to plan and act on them. But you have to adjust because you will change, the world will change and so will the people around you.

No one ever starts out by “just wanting to get by.” But the sad part is that so many people end up living this way because they’re unwilling to do the simple, yet necessary personal development work of building themselves up.

I hope you’re that person that is willing to give this a shot. It will change your life and help to you to reach the dreams you’ve always hoped would come true.

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This article first appeared on Medium

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