Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

You Don’t Need a Plan to Change Your Life

No Plans

Photo credit: Nicola Romagna

People ask me all the time what my plan is for this blog and my writing. They want to know what my goals are, my objective. And I have no idea what to tell them.

I imagine they envision some master document hidden in a safe somewhere.

Usually, I mutter something about building a platform and getting some books published, but the honest truth is this: I have no idea what I’m doing.

If I did, I would probably be selling sweatshirts and coffee mugs with my face on them already.

I just show up every day and share what’s on my heart. And for some crazy reason, a lot of you tune in. Occasionally, I get an idea and test it out, sometimes with more success than others.

Call me simple, but that’s enough for me. Enough to keep writing, to keep showing up.

Of course, I have hopes for this blog and where I’d like to see it go, but I don’t have a plan.

I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. And I like it that way.

Plans are over-rated

I have wasted ridiculous amounts of time writing down goals and mapping out my life.

I have taken surveys and filled out my fair share of workbooks. I have heard “plan the work” and “work the plan” so many times that I am ready to throw up.

None of it worked. None brought me one step closer to the life I wanted to live.

Maybe I’m just undisciplined, but I know a lot of people who are disillusioned. They make plans, and the plans don’t happen. Frustrating, isn’t it?

This is true for other aspects of life, too. In the business world, plans don’t hold much water. As Jason Fried says:

Plans are guesses.

Seems about right. Every plan I ever wrote was a slightly-educated guess based on what I thought would happen — and I was often wrong.

Life is a story, not an event

Your life is not a marketing strategy.

It’s not some appointment in your datebook. So in what universe does it make sense to make a plan for it?

Of course, I understand the importance of values and priorities. But planning out every step? I don’t buy it.

There’s something beautiful about the unpredictable, about a good, healthy surprise. Is this not why we ride roller coasters and go bungee jumping? Because we love the thrill of the unknown?

Everyone wants to be part of a story bigger than themselves. They want to be caught up in an adventure and leave a legacy.

How then shall we live?

I’m not saying live recklessly. Please, make your life count. Pursue your dreams. Start something. Live with purpose.

I just wouldn’t waste my time with plans, if I were you.

My friend the addiction counselor tells me he discourages addicts in recovery from setting too many goals.

“How do people get better, then?” I wondered.

He says they create new habits by focusing on short-term outcomes they can control. The point is the process, not the finish line.

Changing your life, as it turns out, isn’t about setting large, unattainable goals. It’s about small changes over time.

That’s how I became a writer — by getting up every day and doing what I needed to do. In fact, this is how nearly everything important I’ve ever done has happened: not as a result of a plan, but over time with habits.

Maybe a plan works for you. If so, grew; keep doing that. But if not — if you’ve found yourself frustrated like me and so many others — then consider a different approach.

Give up on goals and plans, and instead focus on new habits.

To read the four things I did that gave me the best year of my life (without the use of a plan), read the guest post I wrote for Zen Habits: How to Have the Best Year of Your Life (without Setting a Single Goal)

What do you think of plans? Have you seen them benefit your art, work, and life? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    You make plans and then life happens. Plans change. You make more plans and life changes more. You can plan for tomorrow and, Lord willing, it may comecto pass. Beyond that….eh.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      this is a healthy outlook.

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    I love the idea of life being a story. It is more about the journey than it is the destination. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      me, too, Jeremy.

    • http://www.linchpinbloggers.com/ Don McAllister

      Agreed. I would rather enjoy the journey. I subscribe to the small step planning described here. Small, incremental changes can yield big results. 

  • http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/ Deb – home life simplified

    I like to make plans (they give a framework like a map and set the intention) but have learned they are just a guide and the trick is then to follow where the path takes you and stay open. For me, 2011 was all about being led down a path instead of  insisting i stick with the plan

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      excellent. it’s a dance.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com/ Loren Pinilis

    I was just reading this morning in Linchpin. (Crazy, I know, that I’m just now reading this.) Seth wrote:
    “Leaders don’t get a map or a set of rules. Living life without a map requires a different attitude. It requires you to be a linchpin.”
    Something about that quote resonated with me.

    I wouldn’t say that plans per se have been a big benefit to me, but strategy has. I think your references to living intentionally nails this. Picking up habits is crucial, but strategy helps inform us which habits would be helpful to pick up.
    Maybe it’s just me – but you seem to be hard-working and strategic, so congrats!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks, Loren. it’s less intentional than it looks. I just try to keep showing up. I don’t have a lot of expectations for the results, except that hard work gets rewarded.

  • http://www.theinspirednotebook.com/ Brigid | The Inspired Notebook

    Jeff, this post – and your post over at Leo’s blog – have definitely given me some ‘food for thought’ tonight.
    Right now, I’m supposed to be back at my WP dashboard, writing my own half-finished blog post, writing about needing motivation – and a plan – to achieve our goals!
    Instead, your simple, honest statement “I have no idea what I’m doing” had me agreeing wholeheartedly with you that yours is, at least from a blogging (and business) perspective, an ideal attitude to have. The quote from Jason Fried is so true. We really don’t know what’s ahead – much better to be open to the opportunities that come along than too busy focusing on our pre-planned goals to even notice them!
    I do admire that you and Leo are able to live without goals and focus simply on each day’s habits and choices. At the same time, goal-setting does seem to work very well for many people too. And when it comes to things like getting rid of debt or getting healthy, I believe it can really help to have a plan or a goal – a vision of where it is that you’re heading.
    Having just finished reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, I’m also trying to focus more on the daily habits that will move me forward. But at this stage I think I need to hold onto some (short-term) ‘goals’ as well! At least for the smaller scale things.
    As for my blog, my business and life in general, I’m with you – I won’t be writing a 5 year plan anytime soon!!
    Now to get back to the writing habit that will move my blog in the right direction for 2012!


    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks, Brigid. I appreciate it. and you’re right — goal setting works for many people. I myself has seen some (very little) success from writing stuff down. most of that, though, was luck or just happenstance, I think. my wife and I got out of debt and both got into better shape — not because of goals, but because of habits. at the end of the day, the goal doesn’t matter much without the habit. for me, I’d rather focus on the doing.

  • http://billgrandi.com/ bill (cycleguy)

    Like what you say here Jeff.  I have no plans to take my blog “to the next level” (whatever that means), nor to have ________ subscriptions.  I write because I like to have an outlet for my thoughts and to hear what others think.  I have some idea where I would like to go this year with my cycling but have no plan to ride X amount of long rides.  I have an idea what I would like to communicate with my speaking, but have to allow God to lead.  Thanks for saying it is okay not to overplan one’s life.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      good for you. speaking from some limited experience, you never arrive. there’s always another mountain to climb, another thing to achieve. you gotta love doing it; otherwise, you’ll never be satisfied.

  • http://lifebeforethebucket.blogspot.com Adrian Waller

    Thank goodness. I have goals for my blog, but my plan? There is no plan. Just taking it one day at a time, just like with my life.

  • http://muminsearch.com/ Tat

    In the last couple of weeks I have been seeing plans and resolutions everywhere. It made me worry – am I doomed to fail, because planning for me is the surest way to take teh fun out of whatever I am doing? 

    I am relieved to see that I am not alone and that success can be achieved even if you are not a planner. Happy New Year and make the most of it!

  • http://www.ronedmondson.com ronedmondson

    Jeff, as a counselor and pastor, I think some of this is semantics. You said your friend the counselor says, “create new habits by focusing on short-term outcomes they can control”. I would call that a plan.

    I think your key words for me in this post, and the ones I encourage people to follow, is to “live intentionally”. I could care less if someone has a mapped out plan (unless that’s what works for them…and for many it does) or simply takes one step forward everyday, as long as they are intentionally moving towards what they want to accomplish in life. It’s disappointing to me when the same people live with the same frustrations in their life year after year. It’s not the plan they’re missing necessarily, it’s doing something intentional.

    You may not have a life plan, but you’re living intentional and therefore you’re seeing things happen in your life. People wouldn’t be coming to your blog as much as they are without that intentionality.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Ron. It may be semantics, but the reason I picked this bone was because I see a lot of people — people I care about — wasting their time with goals and plans. It’s not that I’m saying if you plan things, you’re stupid. But I don’t like the false security that a “plan” gives a person. In my opinion, it’s a form of stalling — at least for those types of people you’re describing who keep making the same mistakes year after year.

    • Hampus Ahlgren

      “Live Intentionally”, that really nailed it – very well put.

  • http://twitter.com/CommZone_Sweden Andreas Sander

    I loved reading this post! It gave me another piece of the puzzle and made me realize what’s not really new for me, I’m NOT A PLANNER! I’m actually at my very best when I get to improvise and just act on what’s going on in front of my nose. Of course, a goal can be of great value in order to set the bearing. But interacting with life and what happens there is a lot more fun than just dreaming and planning of becoming a celebrity, a rockstar or whatever it is we want to achieve.
    So, thanks for your thoughts!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I’d be interested in a Jeff Goins coaster set (cork-backed, if possible). 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      check your email for an invoice.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        OMG. Who do you think I am? Rockefeller? I said cork-backed, not the gold-plated ones.

  • http://godtreasure.blogspot.com/ Dorci

    I’ve found I can plan all I want, but the reality is, I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next 10 minutes. Only God knows and His plans are greater than ours could ever be anyway.  Making plans isn’t necessarily bad, but being flexible is imperative.  

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://twitter.com/_ThomasMason Thomas Mason

    Sometimes when I make plans they don’t take flight, but I usually credit that to a lack of motivation. Perhaps I make too many plans, and instead of concentrating on one or two, frustration begins to set in and then nothing gets accomplished. If I don’t make any plans, for example, read my bible every day, then developing any kind of relationship with God simply doesn’t occur.

    I like what Mr. Edmondson wrote, and that is to live intentionally. Although I think I’m more wired in personality as a planner (certainly not a life planner), I believe that if I make one step forward each day, then I’m one step closer to realizing what I want or need to accomplish.

    I am in the process of breaking free from a besetting addiction. I don’t have a plan, per se, to be victorious over it. I am instead taking one day at a time, even one moment at a time, in fighting the temptation to return to it with God’s help. But I’m moving forward intentionally in succeeding in this effort. If I didn’t have a “plan” of some sort, I would currently still be in the thick of it.

    I agree with you when you say, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” I say that every minute of my day. But in my opinion, no direction equates to no growth.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Thomas. Here’s an imperfect analogy: I can head in a direction without knowing exactly where I’m headed. I can even know where I want to end up without using a map to get there. I may have to follow others or ask for directions, but I’ll eventually get there.

      I’m not saying that you don’t need to have direction or drive; that’s certainly important. But at the same time, you don’t need to sit down and write out the plan. Life is more fun if you acknowledge the ebb and flow of things and learn to live it as a dance.

      • http://twitter.com/_ThomasMason Thomas Mason

        I understand what you mean, Jeff. And I love the imagery you presented.

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    I think developing good habits (and sticking with them) are critically important. I do think planning can be useful, but it doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t follow through or chip away at it one day at a time. 

    One of my guiding principles for this year is discipline – and for good reason. I think to be successful, you have to develop good habits and then stick with it. It’s the same premise as training for a half marathon (as you and I have both done). A training plan is important (how many days to run a week and for how long), but it takes discipline to stick with it.

    Happy New Year! Here’s to an awesome 2012!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      agreed. i had said for years i was going to run a half marathon. never did. then last year, i just started running.

      turns out, come race day, i was more than ready to run.

      this is how i want to live the rest of my life: doing things I live, not to achieve arbitrary goals, but because I love them. I’m confident there will be results, but the process is what I enjoy.

  • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

    Jeremiah 29:11

    I definitely believe that we need to ultimately give our plans to God.

    Having said this, I think planning is important.  If you fail to plan, you should plan to fail.  I think a better question is how to we get our plans to match up with God’s plans.

    • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

      I’d be interested in a Jeff Goins Writer Coffee Mug.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        sweet! ;)

  • http://makebigart.com/ Lisa Call

    You wrote on Zen Habits:  “Over-commit. The adage “under-promise and over-deliver”
    is a farce. It only propagates the status quo. Real difference-makers
    push boundaries. They test, prod, and poke until something gives. You
    can do this, too, by saying “yes” to more things than you’re comfortable
    with. Learn to stretch yourself. You might be surprised by what you’re
    actually capable of. Your confidence will grow, too.”

    Webster says a commitment is “an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; especially : an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future date.”

    How is that different from a goal?

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com/ Eileen

    I think we get so fixated on the plan that we forget to enjoy the process and be grateful for the opportunity.  That’s where the rewards are.  That’s what I am trying to remind myself today. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      i agree

  • http://butterflyist.com/ Andrea – Butterflyist

    Hi Jeff – this is very much a post I resonate with! I’ve never been one of life’s planners, and always sort of felt there was something wrong with me for not having a full and updated strategy of where I want to be in five years time. And like, if I don’t do that, I’ll fail. In the business and personal development circles, the idea of goal planning is so banded about as the ‘ideal life’ bringer that it’s hard to not feel like a failure if you don’t do it.

    But if you haven’t planned any goals, how can you fail at them? Haha. Seriously though, I enjoy the journey of my life, of maybe having some goals for the next few months, and just seeing where I end up. I’m very impulsive, with a tendency to just take an idea and run with it, when it hits me. No writing down of long-term goals or plans ever. I’m glad I’m not alone in this!

    For me, it’s not even focusing on new habits as such, but just on what seems to make my life feel great, at this very moment in time, and trusting that seems to take it forward in positive ways.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    My first smile of the day came when I read your comment about emailing you if we’re interested in getting a sweatshirt or coffee mug with your face on it :)

    By the way, goals work for me because they give me something to shoot for.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I’ll be waiting for that email. ;-)

  • http://jguitarnash.com Jim Woods

    Jeff, please give me back my notebook. Seriously was working on this earlier  :) haha

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      sorry, Jim. couldn’t help but peak. ;)

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you on this Jeff. I’d make my plans, follow them, meticulously, and bang, something changed. Now all of a sudden my plan doesn’t work anymore. Now, back to revising the plan for the new set of circumstances. Again, something changed. New plan! Stop the world I want to get off. I spent more time planning or revising a plan than getting anything done. Just my two cents…

  • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

    I love this!  I think creative people are kind of the misfits that don’t really fit into the common mix.  
    Sort of square pegs that don’t fit into round holes.  I make goals and plans but…well, let’s just say it’s hard to color inside the lines.

    You gave a great talk about creatives at Podcamp Nashville last year.  As I listened I thought to myself, “Hey, I fit in with these people!”.  Instead of being a dominant personality that makes goals and achieves them, I seem to work better at heading in a certain direction.  

    I will start to be more intentional in my habits.  Thank you for sharing this!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thank you, Sutton! you’re in good company. i’m right with you.

  • Anonymous

    After relentless messages from every angle this year – I feel sure my plan should be to lay my gifts (everything) at God’s feet.  Which is scary in every way…because my little plan just gained serious potential.

  • http://www.writing4rent.com/ JaneR

    I honestly don’t know what I’d do without plans. Life is like a story to me, and I feel much more confident if I have an outline. While I don’t need to have a plan for every single detail in my life I like to know the general direction in which I want to go with my life.

  • http://profiles.google.com/susanwbailey Susan Bailey

    Jeff, I am totally with you on this one! In my former life as a musician, I made all kinds of plans, set all kinds of goals, and exhausted a lot of my creative energy doing so and thus, a lot didn’t get accomplished. I also find that telling people what you plan to do sucks out creative energy and makes it so that you don’t actually do it, you just talk about it.

    In my “new life” as a blogger and aspiring blogger, I make no plans. I go with the flow and I try my hardest to live in the present moment. The only plans I’ve made are general ones – keep doing what I love to do, and do NOTHING in a vacuum. Creative pursuits must be done in community. I look at all the people that authors thank in their acknowledgements, and it really drives that point home.

    Your blog is a constant source of help and encouragement. Thank you!

  • Joan

    Wow! Good stuff! Life is a story, not an event~ most chapters are filled with joy and pain. Joy is living out the pain with some kind of meaning. Thank you for writing thoughts that confirm and inspire. We read because we are hungry for inspiration, for words that free us to pursue our part.

  • http://SignificantEncounters.com/ Deborah

    I’m a list maker.  Without a list, I do nothing at all.  The biggest leap for me was to realize that even though I have that list, it is not a crime for some of those things to go to the next day, or be eliminated all together.  Flexibility is imperative.  In our neighborhood, we call that the “Ministry of interruption”.  It is a great teacher.  Be intentional with your list AND your flexibility.  Your destination is His.
    Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD
    directs his steps.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      i do this, too. but for me, it’s mostly a stall tactic. and because i have a bad memory.

  • Patricia W Hunter

    Most of the blogosphere has written about plans and goals this week, and I am no exception. There are several scriptures that are directed at making plans and Whose plans prevail, but thoughtful planning keeps me from idleness and drifting in the wrong direction. Whether we are intentional in our goal-setting and planning is likely to be relevant to the time in life and season in which we are living.  Without a plan (which I hold loosely), I will drift aimlessly and unproductively. Ultimately, the parts of that plan that I’m consistently able to maintain will become habit. Morning devotions and time in the Word are no longer part of my yearly plans because they have become as much a part of every day as breathing, but had I not planned on them years ago, they would likely not be a habit today. 

    Excellent thoughts, Jeff. I appreciate your insights and faithfulness to share them. 

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Planning is good, but maybe not down to the last detail, at least with writing a blogging. With business, a plan certainly makes things easier. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        What type of clients do you plan to pursue in 2012? What is your financial plan? What are your marketing plans? Etc. 

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          the plan is to make plans?

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    This one made me think. I agree that not every individual needs a plan. Some have the natural talent to make things work without a conscious plan. Others plan consciously and by varying degrees achieve things, though often not what they expected. 

    And, I totally agree that it’s all about loads of small steps, every day. Those are small scale plans. 

    Where conscious planning works is when there’s more than one person involved in the situation, e.g., a family, a team or an organization. For a group to sustain, never mind succeed over time, it takes consciousness of a destination and how to get there. And, like every individual, every group is different. So, there’s no one way to plan. That’s when leadership – shared is best – matters. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Important point, Alan. I think when it comes to corporate agreements (whether they be families, organizations, etc.), I would rather focus on values than plans. If you get off-course with a plan, it’s very hard to get back on track (depending on the plan, I guess). If you allow values to guide you, it’s very easy to discern whether or not you’re in step with what you want to be about. I certainly believe in personal and corporate values — much more than plans.

      • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

        Sure, shared values can get you there. Plus, the importance of plans can be overblown at times. The role of plans in larger organizations – where things can get very complicated – is simply to try to make sure everyone is singing off the same song sheet. Values should drive planning, not follow it. Values help people make choices when things get ambiguous.   

  • http://www.publicationcoach.com/ Daphne Gray-Grant

    I agree – life is a story. But here’s the irony: What you’re proposing is, in fact, a plan! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      hmmm… how so? if I did, I didn’t MEAN to! ;) Seriously, my thought is this: a plan is the whole thing fleshed out (which is virtually impossible to predict); living a story is submitting to the unpredictable parts that you can’t expect — and embracing them as they come.

  • http://filonswords.com/ Dave Filon

    Follow your heart; it will lead to your passion, and then live the passion. I sorta paraphrased your recent advice to me.  I guess this looks like a plan, I better read this post again.

    Thanks again for your recent help.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://zeroto60andbeyond.com Barbara Hammond

    How funny to read this right after I put up a blog post about needing to incorporate discipline and organization into my life this year.  It was very tongue in cheek, but something I do need to work on.  I get what you’re saying loud and clear.

  • elise

    Really honest, really novel, really refreshing. I do get frustrated by so many messages about planning. However, I  agree that intentionality is key too. Every change, every activity does begin with one intentional step. Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      agreed. we need the next step, not the whole plan.

  • http://www.4thandgoals.com Jeff Williams

    Plans have always intimidated me.  What if my “plan” doesn’t work?  What if everyone thinks my “plan” is stupid?  I believe in plotting a course to get from one place to another, so you can call that a plan I guess.  But ultimately, things go according to plan as often as not.  Life is about experiencing that journey.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://www.thompsonkelly.wordpress.com/ Kelly Thompson

    Until I read your post, I would have said I’m a hard-core planner. Certainly I am at my full-time job because with an advertising budget of more than half a million dollars to manage, I better have a good plan on how to spend it. In the rest of my life, I also make plans…had planned to sit down and work out my writing plan for the year this afternoon, as a matter of fact…but in all honesty, those plans haven’t been working out and I am frustrated with that. Maybe your post was just what I needed today.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      cool, kelly. i’m glad. maybe it’s time to work on habits?

  • Sandy

    Love your blog. Thank you for your ideas. I am a writer and a blogger too. Sadly in spanish  is very uncommon to  find this kind of resources for new writters. Keep the good work. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://flailingthroughlifeandlove.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-year-resolutions-dont-become.html Hillary

    Goals are great, especially when you’re stuck out in the middle of some proverbial desert and don’t know what to do with yourself. But, when meeting goals becomes the object of  living, rather than a direction to grow in, you’ve got a problem. Goals are bullets on an outline, not a tyrant for action. They’re like potting soil, but eventually, you outgrow the pot. They work as starters, kind of like writing prompts, but they aren’t the piece itself, just the starch in the seed, the beginning. They change, just like we do. A goal that doesn’t grow with you or get accomplished for a new one to take its place is like a suture that’s never removed and eventually becomes embedded in the healed over wound, causing inflammation, swelling, and infection. Not good.

    Nice post. And, congratulations on a good year. Hope this one is even better.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      you hit the nail on the head, Hillary — when goals are the end, we’ve missed the boat.

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

    Donald Miller (probably stealing this from someone else) says that a story is a character who wants something and who overcomes something to get it. Living a good story isn’t about not having a plan, it is about having something you want and being willing to work hard for it. You probably had more plans for this blog than you think. I know you try and make it as good as possible. You try to make it easy for people to subscribe. You try to offer helpful content. That doesn’t mean you planned to have a super successful blog, but you did plan what you wanted the blog to be about. And you have worked hard for it to be so, and it is a great blog.

    I have a plan for my blog. that plan is to blog my way through the Bible. It won’t always go the way I want it to, but I hope to overcome adversity and get that thing finished!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      hmmm… but Ben, the best stories involve characters who experience things they never would have expected. where is the room for that in a plan?

      • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

        Ooh, great point.

        Perhaps they had plans and larger forces thrust new ones upon them. At some point, Frodo chooses to bring that ring to Mordor. That becomes his plan. He doesn’t know what will happen along the way, but he is going to keep walking until it is done.

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          Hmmm… I think you have a looser definition of plan than I do. A plan presumes an understanding or expectation of outcome. I don’t want to debate semantics, but I think Frodo knows very little about what to expect. He just wants to defeat evil. He has a mission.

          • http://iamconvicted.com Brett Henley

            Can’t tell you how excited that this convo evolved into LOTR references … WIN

          • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

            Aha! There it is! Yes. I agree with you on that. I was mistaking mission and plans. One is your anchor. The other is the water. Or something like that.

  • sweetpea

    Yep. I’m with you.  There are emergency plans. We need them in case of fire, flood and other natural or unnatural disasters. Then there’s the mortgage plan, the wedding plan, eating and fitness plan, travel plan, financial plan, retirement and funeral plan. 
    Years ago I travelled to Budapest and when the plane touched down and we unbuckled our seat belts, the flight crew  began their emergency drill.  ” Here are ze emergency doors… in case ov turbulence and a drop in ze cabin pressure ze oxygen masks vill drop down… life jackets… under your seats ..”(in case there is a flood on the tarmac ?)  I still chuckle about it. Some plans just stifle every bit of spontaneity and kill creativity if they are purely results driven.  Ask any school student. We are “schooled” that way. Most artists, musicians just learn to “unlearn” and unpick the straitjacket of  “the plan”. My greatest “fear” is not not having a plan, the “just in case” model, but being locked in a room with four people demonstrating their plans with back to back powerpoint presentations.  (this is where you check for your life jacket under the seat…darlinks..( I still have to learn how to write a thick Hungarian accent!)I’d rather eat cardboard.  PS. Pencil me in for  the tee shirt. 

  • Todd

    Well said Jeff – I couldn’t agree more. I do like your style and will begin to follow and learn.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      appreciate it, Todd

  • http://www.jonstallings.com Jon Stallings

    Jeff, I really enjoyed this one.

    If we create all the goals the experts suggest, we are quickly overwhelmed and the result is we get nothing done. I get the need for having a purpose, but sometimes (most times) we just need to enjoy life as it happens.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks, Jon.

  • David King

    Writing fiction is a second career for me.  I’ve been gnashing my teeth over  every aspect of  building a platform, and publishing, while polishing my first novel.   Your article reminded me that I achieved tremendous success in my last career without grandiose plans.  I knew what I wanted to do, and did it by focusing on perfecting “short-term outcomes,” and bingo, I woke up one morning running a substantial business.  

    Hopefully I can apply the concept to my writing and get unstuck from the overwhelming machinations of preparing to be published.   I’ll spend most of my time writing, and some on the other elements of the job.


  • http://KatieAx.blogspot.com/ Katie Axelson

    I think there needs to be a mix of planning and spontaneity.  Like a skeleton plan that allows room for change, growth, etc.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      i think that’s fair, katie

  • http://twitter.com/salsabeela Ollie

    Plan is needed, just don’t overthink it and be flexible for changes 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks for sharing, Ollie. I wonder if you could just do the latter and be okay? What does a plan provide but security?

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    I find that I get too caught up in the planning {Proverbs 16.9} and often fail to live out the process. I love to plan {and I do think that planning has its place – Luke 14:28}, but I often over-plan and fail to execute.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://iamconvicted.com Brett Henley

    Oh man … *rolls sleeves up*

    I claim zero expertise on this subject, as self proclaimed Planosaurus Rex.

    But I think Jeff nailed it. It’s easy to stay attached to the merry go round and never get off.

    It’s far more difficult to resist the fear to plan instead of act. Resistance anyone?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      As the name suggests, that species is about to go extinct. And rightfully so. It’s a dinosaur.

  • http://twitter.com/croyseniles Christine Niles

    Don’t tell my boss that plans are overrated…then I might have to make a living by writing.  That’s a lot harder!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      hah! well then… plan away!

  • http://twitter.com/AdamLegg Adam Legg

    I believe that the famous boxer Joe Lewis probably said it best “Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit”.

    I have seen a lot of great plans that people have put hours and hours into fall apart once something “unplanned” happens. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      that’s good.

  • Matt

    Thanks for this, Jeff.

    I wrestle frequently with making “life-change” plans.  I have set up numerous throughout the last few years, only to fail at completing most of them.  And there inlies my problem – I get frustrated and feel guilty when I don’t complete my plans.

    Granted, some of my plans have been unrealistic and borderline foolish.  But at the same time, I appreciated what you said in your guest post when you said life is crazy.  Schedules are always changing and life just happens differently every day.

    On the other side of the coin, though, plans are helpful because they can provide direction.  I need to know where I’m going (at least generally) because otherwise I have a hard time getting started.  

    I like the your encouragement to live intentionally.  That will involve scheduling and even some plans (i.e. carving out time in my schedule to finally get my blog off the ground).  But I’m giving up the idea of finding some magic life plan that will all of a sudden change my life.

  • Anonymous

    :) I must say that I’m surprised by this! You sure have accomplished a lot! my plans are sort of intentional suggestions for my day and my time. They help me focus when I’m at that “okay, so what’s next?” moment in my day. And I scrapped my writing plans in order to spend the afternoon with a few local artists. And I’m so glad I deviated. Now I’m even more inspired to write! Can’t wait for the morning!

  • Tanya

    Oohh thank you so much for this!!! I always felt that plans are grey and intentions and daily actions are colorful. There are people who have to do lists, that is so upsetting, stressful, fearful and one just might be procrastinator because of all things he “has” to do. Also thanks for your free ebook, I just read and subscribed your blog now. 

  • Bob Holmes

    Jeff, Thanks again for getting me thinking.
    As I see it, there are two paradigms for growth here.
    The discipline of the ‘outside in approach’, ie planning, and the discipline of the ‘inside out approach’,  ie. living our core passion.
    The second is sustainable, while the former measures progress.
    I don’t think it’s an either or choice though. I think it’s a ‘both and’ choice.  
    So it is with discipline we sculpt the vessel that holds the treasure within.
    And in both, God is in the thick of it.

  • http://www.madebydenise.net Denise Smedley

    I definitely agree with this one, Jeff.

    I’ve done the planning, the goal setting, blah, blah, blah…..
    it just ends up being discouraging, disappointing, etc.  I put my focus on my values, my purpose, my habits… the rest seems to flow, and fall into place.  

  • Kriztalladen

    I have this habit of listing down things (what to buy, what to read, what to do, etc.) and technically, listing is like planning as well. I agree to this post because I NEVER had a list completely accomplished. Haha! These lists give me directions but, yes, it’s a complete waste of time. Maybe I should list less this year so I could conserve more ink and paper. :) Sometimes our plans are not the things God wants us to go through anyway. Maybe planning/listing is good but then it isn’t the best thing. We must still be open for sudden twists of fate. :)

  • http://www.thomsthoughts.wordpress.com/ Thomas Vertrees

    I know that I came in at the tail of this conversation, but I tend to agree with Ron E., at the start.  Some of this seems like semantics … well, maybe not semantics, but about perspective.  What you mention, living life intentionally, filling your life with things that are important to you and seeing what happens … for some, this is very natural.  For others, it really isn’t.  For some folks (at least for me at some times in my life) we get so busy with things that we think are vital to our life, that without some kind of “guide”, “plan”, “vision statement”, or whatnot, we continue in the same patterns that keep us stuck.

    I will agree (as you commented down here with us little people :) ) that maybe this discussion is a critique on the old maxim of “beginning with the end in mind”, but instead, “beginning with the process in mind”, not being so arrogant to know where your year/life will lead, but “planning” by changing behaviors that will lead you in the direction to go.

    We make “little plans” all the time – setting the alarm earlier to go running, creating a meal plan to increase nutrition, setting a phone reminder about our multi-vitamin, setting meeting times with partners in accountability – these are all important – but we should be careful about “BIG PLANS” – the ones that can box us in, and potentially keep us from what we really need to do, or keep us inflexible to the opportunities that come along the way.

    I actually wrote a little about this on my blog this week, about the “lie that there is not enough time in the day”, which I think ties in with what you are talking about here.


    Love the blog, and glad I found it.  Will also pay close attention to increasing my meaningful habits.

  • http://www.wordsforyouonline.blogspot.com/ Meenal Jhala

    I loved your blog-post especially the line-“I just show up everyday and share what’s on my heart.” Wonderful!

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    As has been said, everyone one is different. I read your blog and a blog like zenhabits and you have the same message as far as goals and plans. However, I read and listen to guys like Dan Miller or Dave Ramsey and even Michael Hyatt has a book about creating a life plan, and they are big into setting goals and planning things out and it has obviously helped them become really succesful.
    I have made plans and goals for most of my life, I’ve been trying it the other way now since discovering zenhabits, after this year I’ll see what works best for me. That’s the key I think, what works best for each individual.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • Anonymous

    Hi Jeff,  Firstly congrats on winning the writers blog competition well done.

    I have read all the posts you and Leo have written about not setting goals, ditching productivity and plans and I have to say I strongly disagree.

    I agree with Ron’s comment 100% it is a matter of semantics, goals, plans, habits whatever way you look at it you are intent on changing your life in some way. I think what has happened is people who have been self developing for so many years have finally found a method of goal setting that is not so rigid as the traditional. They have figured out that focusing too intently on a goal does not work and that in life you make a plan and stuff happens to throw you off course. But that doesn’t mean plans and goals don’t work, it means we have to allow life to happen, just like a football game the plan will never play out exactly as intended but good luck to the team that goes out there without a game plan.

    I think if you didn’t have a plan, a vision or some sort of goal for your blog it wouldn’t be as successful and informative as it is.

  • Miss_lassie101

    Well said! I’m a college student and whenever my friends and I plan for a night-out, it doesn’t happen. However, if it’s a spur-of-the-moment celebration, it’s more fun. As part of the spontaneous bunch, we don’t waste our time planning. We move based on the circumstances and timing.

    However, people usually suggest that planning is a must. Especially now, that I don’t know where I am in life.

  • Kelli James

    “I have wasted ridiculous amounts of time writing down goals and
    mapping out my life. I have taken surveys and filled out my fair share
    of workbooks. I have heard “plan the work” and “work the plan” so many
    times that I am ready to throw up. None of it has worked. None brought
    me one step closer to the life I wanted to live.”

    Ugh. Me too!

  • http://twitter.com/Kimisabel Isabel Merano

    I started writing when I was 10 years old but  one day, when I was finally seriously up for it, serious enough to get a degree for Creative Writing in a great university, I got cold feet and never checked the results of my exams. From that time on, I gave up serious efforts to finish atleast one novel. Thinking that it involves planning and experiencing the places I wanted to write about. What am I trying to say? I just need to say Thank you for this entry about not making plans and the other entry you published about writing about what is true (forget if it will ever be published).  Now I am already on my 3rd page for my Chapter 1, not long but it is a start. You are a life-changer and perhaps you do not even know it :) Have a great new year you your family- including your ‘little one’ :)

  • http://www.cautiouscreative.com katie

    i think there’s a difference between living by a plan & living with a plan in mind. i think living with a plan in mind is good stewardship of time. living by a plan borders on a need for control for most of us. 

    but then i guess it really all depends on how we each define the word “plan”…the connotation & denotation it carries in our minds. 

  • http://connectingdotstogod.com/ Judy

    Planning is satisfying because it makes me feel like I can control my future.  If only I really could. Since the future is anyone’s guess, I agree that strategic daily habits toward lightly held goals is about as much as we can control.  Annie Dillard said it well: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” 

  • Molly K

    Hi Jeff! New to your site via your recent zenhabits post & I love everything I’ve browsed here so far. All this goal-setting vs. intention vs. planning vs. just starting talk reminds me of this quote, whic I have posted on my wall as a constant reminder to let go and just live. (As a recovering “planner” “listmaker” “goal-setter” extraordinaire myself): ” Discipline arises only when there is a contradiction. To be integrated does not demand any form of discipline. That is, if I am doing what is good, what is intrinsically true, what is really beautiful, doing it with my whole being, then there is no contradiction in me and I am not merely conforming to something. If what I am doing is totally good, right in itself – not right according to some Hindu tradition or communist theory, but timelessly right under all circumstances – then I am an integrated human being and have no need for discipline.”  Krishnamurti  For the expanded version of this, go here: http://www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/think-on-these-things/1963-00-00-jiddu-krishnamurti-think-on-these-things-chapter-14I don’t think it’s just semantics. I think it comes down to a fundamental change in the way we think, and it’s hugely challenging for people in our culture particularly to live from this integrated center, so they (myself included) resort to the next best thing: planning, goal-setting, life-visions, etc. It IS a great way to move toward becoming more intentional in your action if you are far from understanding the motives for your current actions, etc.(Hence why building new habits in line with your values is a great way to move toward this integrated way of living as well.) I see it as steps of growth. If you can skip a few steps, great. Many cannot. So they start with plans. They may plan for years, reach some goals, have some success, but as they do, they begin to integrate their visions for their lives into their daily actions, thus creating “habits” that lead them to a more integrated life where less “planning” is required. 
    I won’t say planning has not gotten me anywhere in life. I’ve achieved many goals I set, and others I set aside as I grew and changed and either outgrew or modified various goals. I’ve also been on the other side of goal-setting that you describe (the frustration, wasted time, going round and round in circles, and basically stalling) and I find it less and less useful to me. I haven’t completely abandoned lists yet, but each day I live more in concert with my intuition, my body, my energies, I find my planners growing smaller and smaller. I’ve moved from the Franklin Covey daily planner pages system years ago to a simple monthly/weekly planner this year (yep, I’m still a paper person) where I jot down birthdays and the few monthly meetings and other activities I need to remember times and dates on now. I’m working toward reaching a completely unplanned, unstructured, ‘in-the-moment” flow existence one of these days. Oops, guess that’s still a “goal”! Well thanks for the inspiration and reminder on this key topic!

  • http://poetscircle.wordpress.com/ David Andrews

    Hi Jeff.  Great post. Really liked your comment – ” I just show up every day and share what’s on my heart. And for some crazy reason, a lot of you tune in.  Vision,and mission statements really don’t work with blogs.  Keeping it simple and flexible seems like a good approach.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://sagoyism.com/ Josh Sarz

    That’s the truth, Jeff. I’ve made lots of plans, but when life has different plans for you, your plans are going to be shattered into a million pieces. I’ve learned this the hard way, way too many times.

  • http://enreachinglives.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    I set out what I want to do and visual where I want to be, and just go with the flow. Nonetheless, some visions may change along the way but the goal is set steadier and stronger.

  • http://enreachinglives.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    I set out what I want to do and visualise where I want to be, and just go with the flow, letting the mission unfold towards the vision. Nonetheless, some visions may change along the way but the goal is affirmed and stronger.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    “The point is the process, not the finish line.” I like to sit down each morning and write down my priorities for the day and put together a simple to-do list. I then focus one one thing and do that for 48 minutes and finish it up with a 12 minute break. Repeat as necessary.
    The process of focusing on one item at a time has really helped me gain clarity. When we look at that one item, and learn how to do it better, we improve the process.

  • http://www.myfootstepsinchess.com/ Johan

    Plans do not work, goals on the other hand … .

    A plan you have to follow rigorously to follow (thinking plan = blueprint)  You have to follow the rules written down, step by step,  you may not go off the setup plan.

    Goals on the other hand just says something about what you want to achieve. How you get there is not know. Each step towards your goal has still to be invented. It brings you to surprising places you didn’t know they excisted. Exciting!


  • http://www.facebook.com/MelissaMashburnMelsWorld Melissa Scarbrough Mashburn

    Wow, wow, wow…not sure I have ever commented here or not, but today I just HAD TO! I read your blog every day…at some point in my day I open it up and almost 90% of the time I click it over to Evernote to look back on as as reference…but this post…this one is different!

    I am a messy creative…there I said it.

    I love the unexpected and the ability to follow the bread crumbs God leaves. I wake up each day ready for whatever He brings my way.

    I’m married to a planner…for almost 20 years.

    Needless to say he can’t stand my messy creative, but he loves me and has learned that’s just how I am…all that to say, that for many many years I have tried (repeatedly) to make lists and plans and maps and goals and whatever else they are called each year, but rarely is that the way it ever works out.

    I’ve finally learned that I need to do my part and make a plan/goal, but I have to hold on to it with my palms open and facing upward…it’s not my small little plan that matters but what He wants me to do that day.

    I love this…
    Life is a story, not an event

    So, I go on this amazingly beautiful journey enjoying the story that is being woven around me…and if…there’s a part of my plan in it, then great…if not, then chances are that His plan was way better anyway.

    LOVED this post!!! Great job Jeff!

    ~ Melissa

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks Melissa!

  • http://profiles.google.com/melindatoad Melinda Todd

    I know what I want my site to be about but I don’t have a plan either. Because I believe God is in control of my life, my plans don’t really mean a lot :) I don’t know what His plan is and when I get my head and heart set on a certain thing, I set myself up for serious let down. I pray for wisdom and when I have an idea, I pray for it to be made clear if that is what He wants me to pursue. When I do this, God confirms things for me. I think it’s okay to set goals but we need to be flexible enough and realize, they may not come to fruition.

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • http://www.lipstickmakeseverythingbetter.com/ Arden Mac

    I dig this post. I spend some much time planning at my job (I’m a fundraiser who does way too much event planning). So when I’m in my creative space I want to see where the words take me… having them planned never works. The beauty of creativity is allowing it to flow out and being surprised by what happens. At least for me that’s the beauty.

  • http://rebootingworship.com/ Jamie Kocur

    I have learned this lesson so many times throughout life. Every time I try to plan, it never goes according to plan. So I’m trying to just make baby steps and work toward the goals I’ve set.

  • Anonymous

    First time visitor, first time commenter. Jeff, your influence as a writer has been growing in the media stream and I can see why. 

    My first thought about this topic was that I wish I could “not plan” and write as well as you do. I think God wired each of us differently (personality, skills) and has given us unique life experiences and spiritual gifts to carry out the plans He has for us. You seem to be nailing yours.

    I came across another line of thought to the notion of “planning” from John Piper, written nearly three decades ago, but it is still relevant today I believe. http://bit.ly/uuGSz3

    I’ll be back!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ratandeepbansal Ratandeep Singh Bansal

    I feel not to have a plan is a plan in itself ;)

  • Alkyoni

    Actually, I’m pretty good at making plans. What I suck at is following them. I’m just a last-minute kind of person. I always get distracing by something interesting along the way. Also, I have reached the conclusion (after several incidents) that I can actually focus better on the subject (be it a school project or a sketch or something) when I do them at my own pace rather than on a plan. Not that plans are not beneficial, but when they’re absolute they just don’t work for me.

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  • http://www.andrewroberts.com.au/ Andrew

    Thanks for this post, but I dont know.  I find I am extremely free when I plan.  I simply do all of the thinking at the start of the project, and then just implement the plan.  This allows me to save a lot of time and stress – particularly if I really plan with a lot of depth and detail.  I find I am more creative and have more free time to enjoy my life.   I actually wrote a blog on this and recorded a video if you would like to see how I do it.  I think everyone has to do what is right for them


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  • Bassam Tarazi

    It’s all about long term visions and short term goals. I completely agree that some people get so caught up in what their goals are for the next 3 years that they forget to live today. Which is why New Year’s Resolutions are such fodder. By May, no one remembers the promise you made.

    But if we made daily or weekly goals part of our repertoire, a repertoire of habit, those larger visions start taking some sort of shape, although never forming quite in the manner as we had “planned”.

    Thanks for your insight and delivery, Jeff. It’s always respected.

  • Sherri

    Excellent advise! I think a plan can often limit us or make us too focused on the plan vs. being open to different avenues and unexpected opportunities. My dad has a saying: “Do SOMETHING even if it’s wrong.” Meaning, take a step forward and do something. You never know where it might lead! Better than being stagnant and never trying. It’s a little scary for a type-A like me, but not having a plan is actually quite freeing.

  • Michael Najim

    I recently found your blog and have been enjoying it.  I like this post a lot, particularly about making small changes…and doing them well. I’ve heard-and pondered- the phrase: “Life on life’s terms.”  I like that a lot. 
    Peace and blessings!

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  • http://www.qwitr.org Tony Fuentes

    Great read Jeff. I’m starting to notice that making plans and setting goals is starting to become a thing of the past. Years ago I simply stopped. It wasn’t intentional but I found life more enjoyable when I didn’t try to control it. If your mind and heart in the right place, simply living is enough. Your values will take you where you need to go.

    Thanks for writing this. Much appreciated.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      my pleasure, Tony

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511706063 Nick Blakes Evans

    “Usually, I mutter something about building a platform and getting some books published, but the honest truth is this: I have no idea what I’m doing.” 

  • http://beautifulsong.com/ Chantel

    I don’t know when you wrote this, but it popped up in a google search of mine while trying to identify the author of a quote. I missed it, apparently, in my feed. But it slammed right down into the middle of my “I need a plan to be successful at this, don’t I?” ponderings. I have goals, but the truth for me, too, is I have no idea what I’m doing.  I have hopes, but I really don’ t know if they’ll be a reality someday, or if they are even meant to be. I’m okay with that. 

    Every once in a while, though, in the middle of the masses of bloggers who all have a plan and who all seem to know what they’re doing and where they’re going 10 years from now, you get a little nervous that your “just write what you can” approach is all off and you’re missing the big picture.

    Maybe for some of us, it really just is making the most of one little day at a time. Making goals, but leaving the planning up to someone Bigger than Us. 

    In any case, this is just a thanks. 

  • change your life

    Yes small changes are important but its the cumulative effect of many small changes that creat the momentum for a big change in your life

  • John Mfanimpela Chambers

    One of the few blogs (and articles online) that would tell me straight up that I do Not need a plan… And I agree to some level. Thanks. I notice that often times when I have articulated exactly all my plans for the year (or two), I end up doing less than half those and end up discouraged somewhere mid year (or disappointed with myself). So what I do now is write them all up, keep them there (visible spot) but intentionally remove them after 2 months – knowing they are then ‘engraved’ on my mind: then I’m all out there in the world executing them. In essence, you may not plan but you do need to reflect on your plans / intentions. thanks (chagbert).

  • Elizabeth Jones

    I agree with everything you’ve said. (And I agree with your friend the addiction counselor, too!) The point (change) is the process, NOT the finish line. I can’t plan too far in advance. A day, two, maybe a week ahead. Perhaps a general overview. But NOT an excruciatingly, exacting step-by-step plan. That’s a straight-jacket! And, death for my creativity. Thanks for the post.

  • Mahi Tuna

    Framework is better than a life plan. Say you want to be a veterinarian, scope out the career, find schools that offer education, determine funding and expenses. move and get going. you don’t need to account for every hour. Besides, motivation is the only thing one needs. Many people make plans for things that do not motivate them. Those always fail. If one is motivated then one finds a way. Money is not a motivator that lasts long but if someone told you that you need to travel across country in less than 3 days by car only to a location there would be 700k waiting for you almost everyone would find the time, the car, the directions, deal with the uncomfortableness of 18 hour drives and get to the location. You find a way because the motivation is high. The higher the motivation the higher percentage of success. Eliminate the people, places and activities that do not motivate you and focus on those things that do motivate you. That is all the planning you need.