In the first article in this series, I talked about a key element of goal setting. It was important for me to create practical goals along the way to achieving my monumental running and weight loss goals. Considering my physical condition and extra weight, they were truly audacious.

The next key part of my incredible weight loss success came from planning. Business or personal, planning may be the most overlooked part of any project. Plan well and you reduce the stress and effort and often prevent problems that can arrive when unexpected challenges arise.

Plan for Success

Every plan must consist of three parts: time, materials and team. Time involves setting milestones to measure progress toward the goal. After completing my first 5k only four months after I began to run, I set my new goal. I wanted to run a marathon.

I started running in March of 2013. It was July. I decided to run and complete a marathon by the end of 2014. With the goal, I was ready to start training.

Materials for any project can vary. Here’s a secret from a project manager…always have back-up plans. For running, it meant having an extra pair of shoes, a change of comfortable clothes and a place to run regardless of the weather. There’s nothing worse than needing to halt progress because you have incorrect or not enough materials.

The Most Important Part of Planning

My experience in both business and personal projects has shown me a strong team is the most important part. Things can happen that impact time and material elements. A strong team can pull together to overcome every challenge.

What makes the team strong? It’s commitment to the goal and each other. The commitment to both makes all the difference.

In business, it makes sense for a committed effort to both the goal and the team. For me and my running, my team committed to helping me and see me to my goal. Maybe they couldn’t help me put one foot in front of the other, but they did one better.

You see, the further I wanted to run, the harder it got. The bigger the goal, the greater the resistance. As I struggled, a member of the BFO team asked me how I continued. My response…
“Just one more step.”

When I ran, I kept “just one more step” in mind. Sometimes I tired and wanted to quit but the team was there to provide motivation. As a project manager, I apply this understanding to every effort. Sometimes these four words are all that’s needed to overcome a seemingly impossible task or problem.

The Easiest Part of Any Effort – Almost!

Planning is the easiest aspect of any project. Setting goals requires making decisions and a little testing as I noted in part one. To plan, identify the time and materials needed. Then document it and track progress with milestones.

The most difficult part of planning is team building. This requires finding the right mix of people. Individuals who will support each other no matter what happens. Do this part right and you can achieve anything. Even if that anything is running a marathon, which I did in December 2014.

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Stay tuned for the third and final part of this project planning series and why 26.2 miles was only the start.

Check out our ‘Marketer’s Guide to Getting it All Done‘ to learn more about project management strategies!

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As always, if you have a question, start a conversation with us!


Also published on Medium.