Have you ever wondered why some people excel in achieving goals? What makes them different from others who never seem to reach any goal in their lives? Are they born with a unique character trait, or is there something else going on?
The answer is simple: achievers create a plan of action. They make sure they have every single step towards their goal outlined in a detailed form. So if you wonder how to create an action plan to achieve your goals, this article is a must-read for you!
Benefits of an action plan
Designing an action plan ahead of time has tremendous benefits. It will help you to break down your goal in small sub goals. These baby steps ensure a manageable approach and help you stay motivated throughout the process.
It boosts productivity and enhances focus because it makes sure you know what to do each day to come closer to your end goal.
You can keep yourself accountable for following the charted course, and you can change the direction and adjust accordingly if needed.
Prepare the following items ahead of time, so you won’t have to interrupt your creative writing process.
- Pen and Paper (preferably some colored pens as this makes the process more enjoyable and clear)
- Kitchen timer (or you can use the timer of your smartphone)
- Planner or calendar
Step 1: determine your goals/dreams.
Before you prepare your plan of action, determine what goals or dreams you want to achieve. Because if you don’t know exactly where you want to go, it is impossible to map out a route towards your destination.
I have written an article in which you can find fifteen questions that will help you decide which goals you want to pursue. Even if you already had some goals in mind, I would strongly recommend reading this article here. It can make a world of difference because it makes sure you choose matching aspirations. A crucial factor in achieving your goals and dreams is making sure the selected aim is right for you.
When you’ve finished answering the fifteen questions from my blog post mentioned above, make sure you thoroughly investigate your answers. This procedure is also clearly explained in this blog post.
Step 2: determine when you want to achieve your goals.
Now it is time to decide which goal you are going to pick for which period. For this action plan, it is essential to pick four time spans and choose a goal or dream for each one. These are the time spans were are going to work on:
- three months
- one year
- three years
- your lifetime
In other words, you need to start deciding upon which goal you want to achieve three months from now. Which goal you want to have accomplished one year from now and three years from now. And which one will probably take you longer than three years.
Step 3: brainstorm session per goal.
The following process needs to be executed separately for each distinct goal. Firstly, you need to write the chosen goal in the middle of your piece of Paper. Draw a circle around it and set your timer for five minutes.
Start to write down all small steps you need to take, on your way to your end goal, around your circled goal. Don’t hold anything back and jot down everything that comes to mind. If you want to see a video on how to do this process, you can watch this video on my YouTube Channel Unlock Your Best Self.
Step 4: determine the required period.
Make sure you keep your notes of the previous brainstorm session handy. Start to list all the small steps you’ve jotted down in order of importance. It is highly recommended subdividing between one time actions and reoccurring actions.
Write the amount of time; you will need to complete each step, next to it. Determine the cumulative amount of time you need and write it down too. Now you have the total amount of time required to accomplish your goal. Therefore, it is easier to determine a realistic end date.
Step 5: determine a deadline.
Decide when you want to have achieved your end goal. Don’t forget to assign dates to every sub goal (every single, one-time step you’ve put on your list), as this is important to track your progress and keep yourself accountable. Before going to the following step, you also need to select a designated time to execute the reoccurring actions. In other words, the steps you need to do every single day or every single week. If you want to lose weight, for example, you need to exercise a few times a week or plan a meal prep session. These are actions that will be reoccurring throughout the path towards the achievement of your goal.
Step 6: utilize your planner/calendar.
Designing an action plan won’t benefit you if you don’t plan your sub goals and reoccurring actions in your daily and weekly schedule. So pick up your diary, planner, or calendar and block the required time slots in your schedule to perform the steps needed.
Plan out your week for the recurring events and note the other one-time sub goals in your planner. Last but not least, you should mark your ultimate deadline with a highlighter in a bright color. This deadline is the end-date for your goal, so it should be the most striking appointment in your diary.
Arrange a considerable reward for yourself so you can pamper yourself when you have accomplished your end goal. This reward will keep you motivated when things get tough, or you lose your drive to keep going. A reward system can also come in handy throughout the goal achieving process. You can provide a small gift for yourself every time you reach one of your sub goals.
Step 7: plan and assess.
Make a deal with yourself to book a time in your schedule to plan out your week and month ahead. I prefer to plan out my week ahead on Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening. And I typically plan out the upcoming month on the last day of the month.
Please choose a time that works for you and make it a pleasurable appointment for yourself. It is time dedicated to you and your personal growth, so you should make it as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.
When you plan for the upcoming month, it is highly advisable to reflect on your previous month. You can do this by answering reflective questions like:
- On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel overall about this past month?
- What were the three biggest lessons you have learned in this past month?
- What are you grateful for this past month?
- Name three things you can improve on this coming month?
These questions will help you to monitor your plan of action where needed. And they will make sure you keep yourself accountable and on track. After answering your reflective questions, you can adapt your action plan or switch some dates around if needed.
Get to work!
Now you know how to create an action plan to achieve your goals it is time to get to work. There are five golden rules you should keep in mind to make this action plan work for you. And if you follow these rules consistently, you will achieve your goals, I promise you!
- Commit to working towards your goals and dreams for at least one hour a day.
- Commit to act on your sub-goals on weekends or leave days.
- Don’t stop until you have reached your goal.
- You are allowed to fall, as long as you get back up afterward and start over as soon as possible.
- Give yourself a suitable reward and a round of applause after achieving your (sub)goals.
Now you have come to the end of this blog post; you have all the knowledge you need to start working towards your goals and dreams. If you haven’t got a suitable planner or diary yet, you can download a Passion Planner for free here: https://passionplanner.com/free-downloads/
Let me know in the comments below how your action plan is coming along and feel free to ask questions. I will be happy to help you out anytime!