Vail Daily column: Success means making a plan

What do successful people do to attain their aspirations? The answer is they plan and keep focused on their pursuits. In the business world these pursuits are formulated on paper and referred to as a strategic plan. I would argue that a written strategic plan can also play an essential role in keeping one’s personal life in order.

Everyone admires that certain person who seems to have it all ­­— health, success, great friends, a life of adventure and fun! A closer look at these individuals would reveal structure, careful planning and diligence that produce success.

What exactly is a strategic plan? Wikipedia defines strategic planning as: “An organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.” I would define strategic planning as knowing where you want to go and making clear and often tough decisions about staying the course.

How can you implement a strategic plan for your personal life? It all boils down to the best use of your resources. It really is about choices. If you don’t have a plan, it is easy to justify any whim. Ask yourself the following questions:

• What specific aspects in my life do I most want to target for success?

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• What do I need to utilize to achieve my goal?

• How will I implement my plan?

• What accomplishments/milestones will confirm my endeavor?

• What changes and sacrifices am I willing to make in order to succeed?

Strategic planning helps clarify tough decisions and instills motivation. The following is an example of how to use strategic planning in your personal life.


• I will be successful saving money and being debt free.

• I will achieve my success through a six-month emergency reserve account, a house down payment fund, retirement plans and budgeting food purchases.

• I will accomplish my goals with automatic savings in Money Market, Roth and simple IRA accounts. I will set up a savings account for a home purchase. I will follow a grocery budget, plan meals and pack lunches to economize.

• I will know I have achieved my financial goals if: Every month 20 percent of my income is deposited in Money Market, Roth and simple IRA accounts, 2 percent of my funds go into a savings account for a home purchase and 10 percent or less of my income is spent on food.

• To reach my desired goals: I will resist buying the latest high end sports equipment. I will not buy an expensive vehicle. I will live in reasonable housing with rent no more than 25 percent of my income. I will avoid high priced restaurants.

Fitness and health

• I will be successful in keeping fit, following a healthy lifestyle and maintaining my weight.

• I will achieve my fitness goals at the gym, in the great outdoors and by eating healthy foods.

• To accomplish my targets: I will maintain a three days off, one day on, 365 days a year exercise plan. I will purchase a monthly gym pass, and will say yes to outdoor activities with friends. When I cannot go to the gym I will do an at-home workout. On my planned days off, I will still get up early to keep my momentum. I will not go to the grocery store hungry, and will not buy processed foods. Planning meals, shopping with a grocery list and packing lunches will be my routine. Limiting unhealthy snacks to 400 calories or less per day or 2,800 calories per week is essential. I will take a daily vitamin. I will invite friends to dinner instead of going out to eat.

• I will know I am on track if: I maintain a weight of 195 pounds, exercise at least five times a week and lower my spending on food.

• To reach my goals: I will avoid bars and restaurants. I will change my routine to healthier habits (elevators and close parking spaces are overrated).

Strategic planning is a pivotal organizational tool. Outside influences continually bombard us. Avoiding unwise decisions is essential. You have the power to create a personal format for success. Write a plan. Make it as simple or detailed as you want. Remember, it is meant to inspire you! Put it in a place you will easily see it. Read it often. Adjust your plan as you grow and tweak it to suit your ideals. It is your guide to personal gratification. Take action and follow it! Don’t sell yourself short. With a little work and dedication you can achieve any goals. Good luck on your journey to a successful fulfilling life.

Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the Vail Chamber and Business Association’s weekly newsletter, email us at to start receiving it. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and Business Association and what we have to offer to businesses in and that do business in Vail, call 970-477-0075 or email Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top of level of the Vail Transportation Center, so stop by and say hello.

Cabal Yarne is the owner of Arriesgado Clothing. He is a board member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association.

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