This month, I’m working my way through Brian Tracy’s Eat that Frog! Since I spend so much time in my car, I’m using the audiobook version (why are audiobooks so expensive? What a racket!) available through iTunes.

It’s useful to me to use success strategies from people like Brian Tracy to strengthen my goal-achieving muscles.  Left to my own devices, I think I’d probably wish for change but not know how to make it happen.  The principles in plans like Eat that Frog are useful for all types of goals — whether they’re financial, health-related or academic.

Some people don’t need these sorts of books; they have an innate sense of what to do to accomplish large and small tasks.  Others (like me) don’t know that things like writing down goals, focusing on one task at a time (I can do anything while Facebook-ing. Except shower), visualizing success or having a clear definition of purpose increase achievement and productivity.  For people like me, we need a system to teach us what to do.

But which system?  Everyone has a different one.  Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker…. the AntiRat likes the book Getting things Done  It’s like fitness plans — which one is better?  Running?  Interval training?  We all know someone who lost weight by walking around the block every day after dinner.  We also know people who lost weight with a personal trainer and Weight Watchers.  So which one do we pick? What system is best?

Too many choices can be paralyzing. Studies show that people actually make fewer choices when too many options are available to them. Why? Because we fear being wrong.

An imperfect plan executed violently is far superior to a perfect plan. — George Patton.

Luckily, once we understand this aspect of our psychology, we can counsel ourselves out of irrational inaction.  Most of the plans out there will share certain characteristics.  If it’s a fitness plan, it will focus on quality nutrients, sufficient rest, water and medical check-ups and a variety of exercises.  If it’s a time management plan, it will deal with ending procrastination, setting priorities, eliminating time-sucks from your day and putting organizational systems in place.  The details will vary but the gist will be the same.  You can evaluate a plan based on online reviews or what experts in the industry say about the program.

One thing that every plan has in common is that action is necessary.  The best system — whether it’s a health plan or time-management plan — is one that you will do consistently.  Forget about finding THE PERFECT PLAN.  Action, any action, is better than no action at all.