Types of Planning

Decoding Triumph: 4 Types of Planning to Unlock Success

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. ~Walt Disney

What is the difference between strategic planning and tactical planning? When does contingency planning come in? Learn all about the 4 Types of Planning and how to use them to your advantage in reaching your goals.

1. Strategic Planning:

Imagine standing at a mountain peak with a clear vision of where you want to go and how to get there. That’s the power of strategic planning. It involves defining long-term objectives, analyzing the internal and external environment, and formulating strategies to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. 

Strategic planning helps align every aspect of your life toward a common goal, ensuring that every decision and action contributes to the overarching mission.

Key takeaways:

  • Long-term goal setting and creating a roadmap for success.
  • Analysis of your current circumstances and environment for internal and external factors influencing your current habits.
  • Formulate strategies to overcome challenges and resist triggers.

Example: You are trying to quit smoking. Utilizing strategic planning as a tool would mean first identifying your common triggers (like certain emotions, stress, or routines). Having identified that, follow up by, e.g., designing alternative response paths to these triggers, setting clear goals to gradually reduce nicotine intake, and enrolling in a support group.

Call to action: Take a moment to reflect on your long-term goals. Consider how strategic planning can help you map out the path to success. Challenge yourself to initiate a strategic planning process by analyzing your habits, how they impact your long-term goals, and how to adapt them if necessary.

2. Tactical Planning:

Now that you have a strategic roadmap in place, it’s time to dive into the details with tactical planning. While strategic planning focuses on the big picture, tactical planning zooms in to determine specific actions needed to accomplish strategic mid-term goals  and objectives. 

It involves breaking down the strategic plan into actionable steps, allocating resources effectively, and defining clear timelines. By zooming in on the details and mapping out the actionable steps, tactical planning empowers you to make consistent progress toward your goals.

Key takeaways:

  • Guideline for the day-to-day routines and operations.
  • Bridges the gap between strategic planning and actual operational execution by defining mid-term goals and actions.
  • Emphasizes the allocation of resources, setting priorities, and defining clear timelines to achieve specific objectives.

Example: If you want to lose weight, through tactical planning, you would first set achievable weekly weight loss targets, then calculate your daily kcal intake to lose some weight, create an appropriate meal plan, and schedule continuous, regular exercise sessions. 

Call to action: Review your strategic goals and identify the tactical steps required to achieve them. Challenge yourself to develop a tactical mid-term plan for one of your key objectives, outlining specific actions, resource allocation, and adequate timelines.

3. Types of PlanningOperational Planning:

Having accomplished the steps of strategic and tactical planning, operational planning involves translating the tactical plans you just defined into practical, executable, and detailed actions that drive progress and keep you on track in the surroundings of your everyday life.

Operational planning outlines a detailed plan with specific actions you need to take on a daily basis. Thus, it will ensure that you stay focused and organized, and make steady progress toward achieving your personal goals.

It also means managing your resources properly, such as allocating time, energy, and any necessary tools or materials required to accomplish your goals. And finally, it helps you stay motivated and on track by tracking and monitoring your progress.

Key takeaways:

  • Focus on short-term goals, translating tactical plans into detailed actions and tasks.
  • Assigns tasks, manages resources, and monitors progress
  • The objective of operational planning is to execute the tactical plans effectively and efficiently.
  • It emphasizes the day-to-day activities, task assignments, resource allocation, and monitoring progress to ensure smooth operations and timely execution.

Example: If your personal goal is to run a marathon in the next four months, through operational planning, you would create a specific training schedule, set weekly running targets, and allocate time for training, rest, and recovery.

Call to action: Consider how well your tactical plans translate into daily operations. Challenge yourself to refine your operational planning processes, ensuring that you have clear directions, well-defined tasks, and the necessary resources to execute the plans successfully.

4. Types of PlanningContingency Planning:

Life is full of surprises, and disruptions will come up in your daily life, disrupting your thorough planning. That’s where contingency planning comes into play. It involves anticipating potential risks and developing strategies to minimize their impact on your carefully developed plans. 

Contingency plans act as a safety net, providing you with a proactive approach to handling unforeseen circumstances. By identifying potential challenges and developing contingency measures in advance, you can respond swiftly and effectively, minimizing disruption and maintaining business continuity.

Key takeaways:

  • Anticipates and prepares for potential risks and disruptions.
  • Updates and develops your plans as needed, typically in response to an unforeseen event disrupting your normal routine.
  • Focus on minimizing the negative impact of a crisis and facilitate a quick and effective response.

Example: Let’s say you want to start a regular workout routine that involves working out three times a week. For instance, if unexpected commitments arise, having a contingency plan would mean shifting your workout to a different time slot or day. Or if the weather is unfavorable for outdoor workouts, have alternative indoor exercises or home workout routines ready. Are you feeling fatigued or injured after the second workout? Consider modifying your workout intensity or focusing on low-impact exercises to ensure you still stay active. 

Call to action: By anticipating and adapting to unforeseen events and challenges, you can maintain consistency in your routines and continue progressing toward your goals. Reflect on potential risks and disruptions on the path to success.  Challenge yourself to develop contingency plans for at least one critical area of your life. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to navigate uncertainty and safeguard the continuity of your operations.


By understanding and implementing the different types of planning, you’re equipping yourself with powerful tools to reach your goals. 

Remember, the planning process is not just a theoretical exercise—it’s a catalyst for transformative action. Embrace the opportunities and challenges that come your way, armed with effective planning strategies. Have fun in the process and navigate the path to unlocking your true potential!

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