Some people say the first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem. I do not think this is true. The reason I do not think this is true is that baring mental retardation or some sort of mental disorder people know what their major life problems are. They may play it off to other people or whatever but they know what their major issues are.
The 300 pound former Infantry/ SOF guy Bob who used to weigh 225 but hasn't watched his diet/ PT and subsequently is now shopping for an extra extra large gun belt knows he is fat, the people with debt up to their eyeballs paying the Visa with the MasterCard know they have money issues, Sally whose last 3 boyfriends were druggies she met around closing time at a dive bar then immediately fell into bed with and later found out they were jerks/ thieves or general dirt bags knows that her dating MO sucks.
Other people say the first step is making a plan. Though I reject it less fully than the first idea I am still not a fan of it. The reason is that if we asked all the people mentioned above know what their issue is and have at least a general idea how to fix it. Also if you got them talking each of these people already has a pretty decent plan for how to address their problem. They might not have a plan that will get them 100% of the way but they certainly have a good enough one to get started.
The real issue these people are having is not about a perfect plan it is about ACTION! The slim positive about being way off track is that it is pretty easy to get headed back towards the right direction!
Bob the 300 pound guy could make almost any change(es) in his life and show improvement. He could switch to light beer, hit McDonalds for lunch twice a week instead of 3 times and take the dog for a slightly longer walk every day and will likely see progress. Sally could do literally anything different; heck even if she just admits to herself a one night stand with a loser was just that and cuts her loses Sally would get better results.
The plan that never comes to fruition is a big issue in self improvement. Why is this? With very few instances self improvement is not pleasurable. By the simple nature that we are failing in an area it pretty clearly shows we dislike doing the right thing in that area; heck maybe we even like doing the wrong thing. Ice cream is good, shopping for new shiny toys is fun, etc all.
You can figure out the right way to finish self improvement but for goodness sake get started.