[How To] Make A Plan To Succeed in 2019

Change, Life improvements, Resolutions, New Years

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” – Brian Tracy

If you use any social media platform, then you have no doubt witnessed an avalanche of resolutions, hopes, and dreams for the new year being shared over the last few weeks. You may have participated yourself. If not, that’s okay too.

Resolutions are good intentions with a better name. Hopes and dreams are much the same. We all want to be better, and most of us tell ourselves each new year will be different than the last. Some of us make lists filled with changes we hope to make, while others choose just one or two areas of life they would like to improve. Both methods are useful, but neither one guarantees results.

Most people don’t understand that a declaration of a desire for betterment is not enough to create meaningful change. Most know what they want in life, and many try to get there, but the vast majority fall short of their goals for one simple reason: They don’t have a plan.

Resolutions are nothing without plans. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Maybe you want to sign a record deal this year, or perhaps you want to launch a label of your own. Maybe you want to write for your favorite magazine or speak at a half-dozen conferences. There are no apparent reasons for those goals, or any other (within reason), to be considered impossible. You can do more than you know, but even the simplest of goals can feel hard to achieve without a good plan.

To borrow a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

This week, take some time to sit down with pen and paper. You can use a computer or phone if you desire, but studies have shown that writing — real writing, by hand — helps forge a meaningful connection to what you are creating.

Once you’re seated and comfortable, write out the things you hope to accomplish this year. Dream big and use as many details as possible. If you want a record deal, what kind of deal and with what label? If you’re going to write more, how much and for whom? If you want to write a novel, what will it be about?

After the goals are in front of you, grab a second sheet of paper and outline your plans to achieve every goal you’ve set. We all have to start somewhere, so where will your next journey begin? Details matter. You cannot go from writing once a week to churning out chapters overnight. Just like those who wish to lose weight must commit to lifestyle changes so must those who want to be more creative commit to changing their habits. Maybe you need to get up earlier, so you have more time to create, or perhaps you need to find a new career that allows you to express yourself better. Whatever it is, write out exactly how you plan to achieve that thing, step-by-step.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.