Unless you’re a member of, say, the A-Team, planning never sounds all that cool. It’s something girls do for weddings or civil engineers do for a county. And yet, nearly every awesome scene you’ve ever watched in a movie started with somebody mapping things out. Whether it’s Ben Affleck robbing Fenway Park in The Town or Batman saving Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises, planning gets our guy where he wants to go. And it can work in your life, too. Study and mimic the three scenarios below to dramatically improve your love life, career and health.

1. The Plan to Get the Girl

She’s good for a drink, eye candy and possibly great advice too!

Most advice on winning over women is totally useless because all women are different. So to set up a great first date with the hottie you’ve been eyeing, you have to plan. Before you ask her out, take note of the following: 1) Where do you usually see her?  2) Why is she there? 3) Do you have any mutual friends you can probe for info? 4) Is there anything she’s worn, said or done that can be a clue as to what kind of woman she is? 5) Is she seeing anybody?

With answers to these questions you should have no problem planning the perfect first date. For example… 1) You see her at one of the bars you like to frequent. 2) She’s there because her friend is a bartender. 3) Her bartender friend tells you she’s in vet school. 4) Clearly, she loves animals. 5) The bartender says single… which leads you to… asking her out and killing it by taking her to the zoo.

See how much further a little planning can get you than a cheesy “Come here often?”

2. The Plan to Get Promoted

This could be you! With maybe a cooler tie.

Sometimes, the guy with your dream job is only one or two steps above you at your company… and making twice as much! All you need to do now is plan on scoring his job. Easier said than done, right? Not completely.

First, identify the gossip mongers in your office and befriend them. They’re often people who’ve been with the company a long time, chatty folks who have an axe to grind against a few executives. You may have avoided these women (and they usually are women), but don’t ignore them anymore. Taking even five minutes to chat them up and get the latest on the higher-ups could be the smartest business move you make. If anyone is on their way out, about to get promoted, about to get divorced, about to sleep with a co-worker, they’ll know it.

In just a few conversations, you’ll know what positions may be opening up at your company, who the higher-ups are looking at for promotions, what their tastes are, etc. Now, you might not get the first job that opens up, but with a little patience you can gather enough intel to know who the real power holders are in your office. Get to know those people better, beef up the parts of your resume they value, and set yourself up for the promotion you deserve.

Isn’t a little chatting and planning is better than resubmitting your resume for the fifth time to the head of HR?

3. The Plan to Stay Fit with a Family

She’s tired just thinking about the arm curls you’re about to do!

Now that you have married the vet and are rolling in cash thanks to your new job, you might be thinking about having kids. For the most part, the plan is simple and great: tons of sex with your lovely wife. What isn’t simple is how to not put on 20 pounds of sympathy weight during her pregnancy and the birth of your child. Between the lack of sleep, lack of time and lack of energy, it’s not easy to maintain your physique.

A quick look around at your friends with kids should tell you all you need to know about what’s in store. How many are still in peak fighting shape? Probably not many. Most likely, they didn’t plan in this area and things went downhill fast. But that’s not going to happen to you. Why? Because you’re going to have a plan courtesy of the new book The Dadvantage – Stay in Shape on No Sleep, with No Time and No Equipment. Full disclosure: it’s short (about 50 pages), inexpensive ($2.99) and written from experience by yours truly.

The Dadvantage plan is designed to fit seamlessly into your day, helping you burn calories and build muscle in short periods where you normally just burn minutes. Ever thought of doing push-ups while the shower is getting warm? Or body weight squats while you’re microwaving dinner? Or 15 curls every time you put your daughter into her car seat? They seem like small things, but these types of exercises (and loads of others in the book) will mean the difference between you feeling like you, and you feeling like the typical doughy family man you have no desire to become.

So you really want to be happily married, financially successful, physical fit father? It all starts with a plan.

Author Jon Finkel has written for GQ, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, ComedyCentral.com and The New York Times, among others. For more about Finkel, The Dadvantage or his previous hit comedy/advice book, The Three Dollar Scholar, visit jonfinkel.com and follow him on Twitter @Jon_Finkel.