Whatever Gets Measured Gets Done
A genius without a roadmap will get lost in any city, whilst an average person with a map will find his way to any location in the city. So even if you have a clearly defined picture of where you are and a crystal clear picture of where you want to go, you will never make it from one to the other without a proper map or plan.
Always remember that a vague plan will at best deliver vague and unsatisfying results, whilst a clear and concise plan will be well designed with great measurement criterion. Unless you constantly measure your progress against a well thought set of measurement criterion you may very well be taking actions that are not aligned with your goals.
When the space shuttle takes off, if they are of track by only one inch, the shuttle will miss the moon by 300 000 miles. So to ensure that they remain on track they are constantly making in-flight corrections. They are only able to do this because they have a set of measurement criterion and as the shuttle passes these locations the actual location is checked against the required location.
So it is not only important to have a plan, but when you are creating your plan make sure that you have a set of measurement criterion against which you can measure your progress. Apply the discipline to measure progress as often as feasible and then make any small changes that may be necessary to keep you on track.
The challenge when we are on the path of success is that we get impatient and often have unrealistic expectations about when projects or goals should be completed. As Anthony Robbins says, we always overestimate what we can achieve in a year and significantly underestimate what we can achieve in a decade.
Not having an understanding for this we often feel that things are not happening at the rate we expect. When you are standing at the station and you look down the tracks and all you see are empty train tracks, do you just go home and say the train is not coming or do you walk over to the time table and check when the next train is expected and then wait for the train and when it arrives you just continue your journey.
Whatever gets measured, gets done. This is why the reason we need to have a realistic set of measurement criterion against which we measure our progress. This measurement criterion must be time defined and they serve as our time table for success. As you know life is dynamic and things change all the time. These measurement criterion are guidelines only. How many times do you think trains are delayed? Well the same is true for your goals; they can also be delayed by all sorts of unexpected delays.
When you plant a seedling, if you constantly pull on the roots, do you thinks that it will grow any quicker. Obviously not, the same is true of your goals; they will materialize at the right time. The only thing over which you have control is that the more meaningful energy and effort you apply the sooner your dreams will materialize.