The 5 Steps Series - Step 2) Planning

Once you have Awareness, you can then start to put together a plan that will work best for you. That’s because you now know what the puzzle should look like once finished, all that is left for you to do is work out where to put each piece.

The aim of this step is to ensure that you put together a plan that addresses all of the elements discovered at step 1 so that putting it into action thereafter is exciting and enjoyable for you. If it's not, than you've likely failed before you've even begun.

Let me explain by using a fitness example.

When I was a Personal Trainer, I would use the Awareness step to help clients become aware of the Goals they wanted to achieve, why they wanted to achieve it, where they were starting from and the obstacles we needed to address overtime. Often clients wanted to lose weight (goal), so they could feel more energised and enjoy their life and time with their kids (value) but they were starting from a place of being overweight, unfit, unhealthy and had bad eating and exercise habits (starting point). We also knew the (roadblocks) that had got them to this point and were holding them back were a lack of time, lack of desire and a lack of knowledge about how to eat and exercise properly. Often this also included certain movement restrictions due to previous injuries and/or lack of movement for prolonged periods. Knowing all of this about my clients, I could then take everything into consideration and create a plan that would best suit them personally.

This meant the plan I created would need to include food and exercises recommendations targeted at weight loss. But everything else recommended was based on its ability to fit within my client's unique lifestyle, personality and preferences (food and exercise). It would be considerate of their personal work schedules and commitment levels. And it addressed their roadblocks by gradually getting them to swap their bad habits for better ones.

By tailoring the plan to best suit my clients individually, it meant they were more likely to get excited about the plan and then put it into action to progress towards their desired results. If I did not tailor the plan in this way, it usually failed. Often it failed before it even got started because if it didn't suit my client personally, they usually were not very motivated to start it or follow it from the outset. That’s because what’s good for one person is sometimes bad for another.

Again running with the example from above, some clients (Person A) wanted to take an aggressive approach to get fast results. In that scenario, they’d train 3-5 days per week, give up alcohol, eat a perfect diet and be 100% focused on getting things ticked off. However, for other people (Person B) that type of plan was too extreme, and if that was their only option, they wouldn’t do it and therefore not get any results. By being able to adapt the plan to be subtler (some alcohol, less training days, some naughty foods) Person B was more likely to change their behaviours for the better (even just slightly) and stick with it long enough to get (slower) results, because they felt comfortable doing it that way, and that’s what matters most - doing something is better than doing nothing.

The same principle is true for your money. It’s about making sure that before you do anything with your money (such as buying property, investing, saving, spending, etc) you have a plan in place that takes everything into account, so you can be more certain and confident that the plan is right for you and the actions that follow will be too.

If you don’t create a plan that is best for you, then how can you be sure that any actions you take will work or suit you? Sure, you can just "have a crack" or copy what someone else is doing. But how well does that usually work? In my experience, it usually doesn't work very well at all.

So, remember “failure to plan is a plan to fail” but even more so, failure to create a plan that is right for you, is as almost as worthless as not creating a plan at all.

Up next in the series is Step 3) Action.

#No plan is still a plan (and it's usually not a good one)

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Blake Fitzgerald of Coached Financial Planning (ABN 28 452 214 548) is an Authorised Representative (1236826)

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