Successful Planning: The ABC’s

“For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.”

Moses 3:5


As God created things spiritually to ensure their physical success, we can ensure our future success by planning it.

In 2008 I met Scooter Plowman, a senior at BYU.  For his last semester he was taking 29 credits.  He triple majored in Neuroscience, Latin American Studies and Geography.  Interviewing Scooter changed my vision of the future.  In eight semesters, Scooter took 240 credits- double the requirement for graduation.

I asked Scooter how he was able to take 29 credits while caring for his wife and child.  He told me his schedule- wake up at 3:30-4 a.m., homework until around 7 a.m., get ready and go to campus, go to class and study until 6 p.m.  Return home and spend 6-10 p.m. with the family, go to bed- repeat the next day.

I realized that with good planning extraordinary things could be accomplished.

I found another example in the Austin family from Lehi, Utah.  Their eight kids did homeschooling.  The three oldest started BYU at 12 and finished their Bachelor’s at 15.  I met with the Austin parents and two of their children- Hannah and Timothy.  I was impressed- they seemed very intelligent, well-mannered, sociable and religious.  The children each read the entire Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price before reaching age 13.

During my interview, stereotypes I had about homeschooling melted away- these kids showed none of the negative “side effects” of homeschooling.  The children seemed very purposeful in their educational and professional endeavors.

From Scooter Plowman and the Austin family I learned that we can achieve great things if we plan for them.

ABCs of successful planning:

A- Achievable– Set goals that are achievable.

B- Believe– Believe that God can help you do anything to bless His children.

C- Consistent– Be consistent in working on your goals, every day.

D- Dream– Dream of and reach for heights you never thought you would.

E- Envision– Envision your future self accomplishing all you set out to.

F- Friends– Find good friends who will support you in your efforts.

G- Good– Set good goals- if your goals not evil, Heavenly Father can make the way possible.

H- Help– Seek help from and be willing to help others in their goals.

I- Individual– Make plans individual to you and your unique talents, desires and opportunities.

J- Joyful– Be joyful, especially when challenges come.

K- Kind– Be kind to others in your ambitious efforts.  No goal is more important than those around you.

L- Listen– Listen and learn from others’ sincere comments.

M- Measurable– Set goals that are measurable.

N- Note– Note down your goals and how you plan to achieve them.

O- Open- Be open to adapting your ideas if they’re not what the Lord has in mind for you.

P- Pray– Pray in faith for help.  God has power to help You in any way to achieve your righteous goals.

Q- Quick– Make quick progress.  Things can be completed much faster than traditionally thought.

R- Record– Record your progress.

S- Specific– Set specific goals.

T- Timely– Set Timely goals

U- Useful– Plan to do something useful for others.

V- Value– Seek things that have real, eternal value.

W- Wake– Wake up early, you’d be surprised how much more you can do (I wrote this story between 3:30-6 a.m.).

X- Xylophone– Remember to have fun- like playing the xylophone!

Y- “Yes!”– Cultivate a “Yes!” mentality, that accepts innovative ideas and is willing to try them out.

Z- Zealous– Be zealous in pursuing your goals.  No one will ensure your goals are achieved but you.

“God can make more of your life than you can, so just give it to Him.”

-Jon Schmidt


My Testament: I got excited about setting goals when I was 16.  My seminary teacher showed us a list on Excel of 100 goals he set, with dates next to the ones he’d completed.  I got excited and wrote my own list of 100 goals (that list grew to about 600 goals).

One goal I set, was to curl 80lbs with both arms, 3000 times.  When I started, I could only do five repetitions with my arms shaking violently afterwards.  After about six months of a few curls here and there, I completed the 3,000 reps and was able to do 10-15 reps in one set without much difficulty.  I added 20lbs to the barbell and decided to set a goal to do 2,000 reps.  After several months I completed the goal and moved up 20lbs more- to 120 lbs.  Starting off I could only do around 5 repetitions- after 1,500 repetitions I was able to curl 120lbs 10-15 times with less difficulty.

Within two years I was able to almost double the amount of weight I could curl from about 80lbs to 140lbs.  I only invested about half an hour to curling each week.  What made the difference in my progress was my specific goal, and the record I kept of my progress.

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