Independently Happy

I take happiness seriously. So you don't have to.

The Best Way to Grow is Imagine, Plan, Prepare and Act

The self-help gurus all think we should all read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” so I did.  The message I hear from the book and from the gurus is “think about rich, become rich.”  Think about anything and become it.  We have to read between the lines, though, between the panels as we comic book nerds might say.  Otherwise, we’re led to believe we can just think our way to success.  Thinking is just the first step, though.  Imagine, plan, prepare and act is the best way to progress. Actions are what get us what we want. 

Disclaimer:  The above link to Think and Grow Rich is an affiliate link to purchase the same edition I own and read.  That second one is too!  I will get a commission if you use that link to make purchases on Amazon.  Okay, back to the post.  Enjoy!

Don’t just think, imagine.  Then plan, prepare and Act.

Imagine Plan Prepare Act Progress

Don’t Just Think,

Thinking about being rich won’t makes us rich.  Thinking about being thin won’t make us thin.

Thinking about being happy won’t make us happy.  Quite the contrary, thinking too much about being happy will probably make us unhappy if it doesn’t drive us insane.

What we think will influence our actions–and if we act–but only our actions will cause our results.

Just thinking won’t do it.

Focus on healthy and act healthy.

I don’t know which causes which.  Are healthy people healthy because they think about being healthy? Or do healthy people think about being healthy because they‘re healthy?

It is probably safe to assume that thinking unhealthy won’t make us healthy.  The Beast loves for you to think unhealthy, though.  It feeds off it.

Let’s go ahead and think healthy.  It’s our little way of ignoring the Beast.  Maybe if we ignore it, it will go away. Hint: It won’t.  The Beast never gives up, and it never goes away.

Thinking is just the first step.  Don’t stop at thinking.  Move on to the next step, and …


Next let’s imagine having what we want, being what we want or being where we want.  I think throughout the book, Napoleon Hill described Imagining more than thinking.  He wrote it in 1937.  Let’s give him a little latitude.


Let’s imagine being healthy and fit.

Imagine how it would feel:

  • having plenty of energy all day
  • being more productive
  • accomplishing more tasks and making progress on goals.
  • excitingly scheduling and attending all our routine medical checkups
  • spending no money on prescriptions and not having to remember to take them
  • not feeling ashamed at the beach or pool
  • trying new adventures and activities we used to feel too old or out-of-shape to try

Wouldn’t all that be great?  In addition to generally feeling better all the time, we could add so many new pleasurable experiences to replace tiredness, boredom, and regret.

I was going to suggest that we also imagine the alternative, but I daresay we either spend too much time imaging–or living–the alternative already.

So let’s just imagine the good.


Worrying about money sucks.  It’s one of the biggest causes of stress.  Not being able to afford experiences sucks.

Let’s imagine being wealthier

Imagine how it would feel:

  • having money left at the end of the month
  • being able to attend concerts and events
  • actually booking those trips to Disney and Europe

We’ve probably already done this with big houses, name brand clothes, and nice cars.  I will always argue that a wealth of experiences or a wealth of choices is better than stuff, but let’s each imagine our own wealth.

Someplace awesome

I’m lucky enough that I get to replace imagining with remembering, so here’s a partial list of mine:

  • walking through the entrance of Magic Kingdom
  • having a butterbeer Diagon Alley.
  • playing in the waves in the Mediterranean
  • eating tapas and drinking wine in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor

It wasn’t that long that I had to imagine, but I did imagine all those things.  (Okay, not Plaza Mayor.  Although I had seen it in movies, I never actually dreamed of eating and drinking there.  That was just a bonus!)

We imagined, though, and then we made a plan and prepared.

Plan, Prepare

Next, we find out what we need to do.  Lay out the steps.  Make a list.  Stick it on the fridge, so we’re reminded every time we grab an apple.


We gotta find out what foods to eat, print some recipes and make a shopping list.  Let’s plan out what we’re going eat each day of the week.  Then when Thursday gets here, we don’t have to make a decision.  By Thursday, we’ll be tired and all out of willpower.  We’ll give in and pick up some junk food.

We gotta decide on a few exercises to try.

Each night, set out the exercise clothes and set the alarm a little early.  Make exercising in the morning convenient and easy.


We gotta think the B word.


Budgets seem awful, but I promise they’re not.  It is so nice knowing where money is going instead of trying to figure out where it went.

Then we need to work on increasing income, so we can live a bigger life.

We were so excited about Disney and Spain, we were happy to give up the extra spending.

Someplace awesome

Where do we want to go?  Do we have to fly?  Can we drive?  Do we need a hotel or tickets?

Planning a trip is part of the fun!.

We had so much fun and got so much happiness and excitement planning our Disney trip.

Preparing for trips to Spain and New Orleans, I was constantly on Pinterest looking for fun and interesting things to do.

The research and the anticipation are a really fun part of going someplace awesome!

Here is my board for our next trip to Madrid.

Here is my board from our trip to New Orleans.


The best action is immediate action.

Action is what it’s all about.  Action is what makes it happen.  It won’t happen unless it happens. It’s simple math.

Let’s eat an apple on the way home from buying groceries.  That’s right.  We’re not waiting for Monday. We’re starting right now because that’s the best time to start.

What’s the second best time to start?

Well, we missed yesterday.  We missed last year and last week.  That would have been the best time to start.  Now we have to settle for the second best time to start.

The second, third and fourth best time to start is…

right now!


Let’s clean out the pantry.  Throw out the candy and cookies.  Don’t save it to donate it. Trash it.  Feel bad for wasting it.  Then we can avoid feeling bad for wasting junk food by not buying any more junk food.

Let’s go buy the groceries.  We only buy what’s on the list.  We stay out of the middle of the store.

Then we cook our meals and eat.

Since we’ve set our alarm and set out our clothes the night before, all we have to do in the morning is:

  1. Wake
  2. Walk
  3. Done

While walking, let’s imagine all those things in the Imagine section again.


When we’ve got the budget, then we stick to it.  Hopefully, in the budget, we’ve included saving money to go.

Someplace awesome

Save the money.  Let’s open a special account or buy a special jar.  Let’s look at Pinterest.  Let’s plan what activities we’re going to do each day.  Just highlights.  Let’s allow the game to come to us and not ruin all the fun by trying to micromanage and overplan the whole trip.

Don’t just think, imagine.  Then plan, prepare and Act.


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