So far in Hitting Your Target I & II, we have considered what we want, and we have raised our commitment to a level where we have some chance of attaining success. At the end of these stages you are at the “I’ll do whatever is necessary” rather than ‘it would be nice to attain it”.

The next phase is the planning phase. Proper planning involves a roadmap leading to our goals IN THE MOST DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENT. In short we determine the environment/environments that are most likely to bar success and prepare our response/responses to that environment. I have found the best preparation is a two-step process:

  1. Identify and anticipate our responses to possible troublesome environments and
  2. Prepare for a generic response/responses to unexpected emergencies.

Once we have done this, we can plan the steps that will lead us to our outcome. After that it’s a question of ‘executing the plan - the do phase’.

The ‘do phase’ involves rewarding behaviour as soon as the activity leading to out goals is carried out. In the beginning, it’s a focus on the behaviour, not the results; later, when the behaviour becomes habitual, we reward results.

This idea is important when we are self-coaching. In the early stages of a new behavioural pattern e.g. keeping a journal, it’s the keeping of the journal that is to be rewarded. Once journal-keeping is habitual, we then turn to the form of the journal - is the form providing the results I seek?

This leads to the last element of changing behaviour - the review phase. It’s critical we keep a journal. I keep two journals, a private and a trading one. I do this deliberately because:

  1. I want to ensure that personal and trading goals mesh. By keeping separate journals and noting when the two clash, I am able to see the larger picture.
  2. Sometimes the two areas overlap: One has lessons for the other. I have found that by keeping two journals, I am better at spotting the cross-pollination.

This ‘do’ phase requires we daily do something that will lead us closer to our goal/goals. It does not mean each must succeed; indeed I learn more from┬ámy failures than successes; but I seek lessons from both.

The review of our goals also allows us to determine and define if success has been achieved or whether it is time to release the goal.Learning when to let go is an important skill - we need to draw a distinction between perseverance and stubbornness.

Interestingly , I have found that by pursuing the steps we have covered, to attain success, I need less will-power than I would need without the steps.