The Third P in the P4 System: Flight Plan

January 04, 2021

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and made it through safely. Hooray for 2021!

It’s that time of year again when many make resolutions that most won’t keep. According to an article in Forbes, less than 25% of people stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them. So why not do something different this year?

I have flown 18,773 hours in my professional aviation career. Let’s do a little math to put that number in perspective. It equates to 782 twenty-four-hour days, 112 weeks, 26 months, or about 2.2 years. Any way you cut it, that’s a lot of time in the air. And here is one plain remarkable fact. Never, ever-not even once-did I take off without knowing exactly where I planned to land.

To be honest, there were a few times because of weather, mechanical problems, or passenger emergencies that I ended up somewhere other than where I had planned. However, those were the exception to the rule, and my original statement is still true. I always took off knowing exactly where I planned to land. Oh, and I never made a resolution to land anywhere. 8% of resolutions achieved, 99.9% of landings with a Flight Plan.

From Resolution to Flight Plan

As in aviation, so it is in life. You want to have a clear and specific destination before you even begin your journey, and then you’ll need to plot a detailed course to arrive on time. It doesn’t matter the goal or desire; the process remains the same. Be very clear about the target with an exact route to follow.

Do you want to get in shape and lose weight (the most common resolutions), save, or have more money, or spend more time with family and friends? These are four of the top 10 resolutions, and without more, you’ll get that 92% failure rate. But you can convert any one of those resolutions into a Flight Plan and dramatically increase your odds.


Let’s take money as an example. First, get specific about the actual destination. How much do you want to accumulate, and when do you want to have that amount? This gets you clear about your target rather than “save or have more money.” Then you’ll need to plot the route. Can you get started from your current cash flow, or will you need to cut back in other areas? Do you get bonuses or raises? Can you continue to live as you currently do and put those extra amounts toward your goal? Do you need to get another job or become an entrepreneur to generate more revenue to reach an aggressive goal?

What will you do with the money when it begins to accumulate? Does it go into a savings account or an investment account? If you are going to invest some or all of it, what vehicle will you use? These questions are not meant to be exhaustive, but this is how you chose a specific destination and plot your planned route.

Let me repeat what I said above because it is so critically important to achieving your outcomes; you can convert any one of your resolutions into a Flight Plan and dramatically increase your odds. 99.9 % beats 8% every time!


“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year. ”
-Vern McLellan