Don’t leave life to chance: Surefire tips to plan for success

Remember when you were a kid and you had big ideas about what you wanted to do with your life?

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Remember when you were a kid and you had big ideas about what you wanted to do with your life? It’s easy when we hit adulthood to forget that wide-eyed innocent view of the world and become cynical about our own potential as we become more pragmatic about our options. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have goals and things you want to achieve. It’s easy to drift from day to day without really considering what you want in the long term and whether what you’re doing in the now is contributing to you achieving this or distracting you from it.

The first thing it’s important to think about is whether your goals are actually realistic for you. Sadly, it’s rather pointless to dream of being a long legged catwalk model if you’re of small stature. Railing against the world that you’re not taller is not going to change anything and will simply get in the way of what you could achieve. Instead, auditing your skills in a realistic way will give you strong foundations for building a bright future. This can sometimes be emotionally tricky in itself. Many of us are too self-deprecating; far more willing to point out our own flaws than our talents, but being honest about what you are good at is just as important as understanding where your weaknesses lie.


Once you have achieved this, setting goals for your future requires a great deal of thought. Being too vague can lead you to get off track early on. For example, I deal with many clients who have weight issues and come to me seeking help to lose significant amounts in order to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Critically for them, it’s vital that I manage their expectations early on. Losing thirty kilos is perfectly achievable if they follow my methods, but it’s unlikely to happen in two months. Change takes time and the motivation to succeed. It needs to be planned for in incremental steps, with marker posts of celebration and reflection built in along the journey to the final destination. Without this structure, achieving anything becomes a lot more haphazard.

Structuring your goals is key to achieving them. The first thing you should do is to identify one over-arching final objective. This can apply to anything in your life from weight-loss to career prospects, learning a new skill or even improving your personal relationships. Next, work backwards and put in the milestone points that will lead up to that end point. Take the first milestone and put the others to one side for later in the process. Now, you have a mini-goal. It’s crucial to put a time scale on this, so think realistically about that, but also build in sufficient challenge so that your motivation doesn’t wane. Questions like how, who and why should be at the forefront of your mind. “How am I going to achieve this?” will lead you to working out a pathway. “Who am I going to turn to for support?” will lead you to identifying the key people in your life that you need to share your plan with and “Why am I doing this?” when written down, will give you a document to refer to when you feel your motivation weaken as inevitably it will at some points.

Planning for success is a great motivator and helps you to make the most of your potential. Letting life drift is easy, and sometimes pleasurable, but if you really want to move forward, energize yourself and make those changes the only way to do it is to plan it!


Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based clinical and cognitive behavioral hypnotherapist. He can be contacted online at or via Facebook at

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