Last week I introduced the Goal-Setting 101 series to help you all make effective goals, ones that are practically guaranteed to direct you towards success rather than the vague goals that we’re used to making. Effective goals will help you to know why you want your goal, what you need to do to get that goal and how to proceed so that you achieve it.
Part 1 discussed the importance of finding your why. To create a goal you need know why you want it and that reason needs to come from inside of you and not from what other people want from you.
Part 2 took a tour through the S.M.A.R.T. Goal system. Effective goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. If your goals meet all five of these criteria, you’ve created a goal that is totally achievable.
Now what? Well, a goal without an action plan is just a dream! To make them happen you need to have a clear plan of action and a system where you work on it each and every day!
Create Your Action Plan
Grab a notebook or create a new document on your computer and begin to brainstorm every single thing you will need to do in order for you to achieve your goal. Don’t worry about putting it in order right now, just write what down what comes to mind. Then, start to research other people who have achieved the same goal you have and interview them, ask them what they had to do to achieve it to see if you’re missing anything or if they can provide you with some short cuts or other ideas. This may take a couple of days but it’s worth it because you don’t want to start barreling down the path of your goal only to come up against a huge roadblock that you could have prevented by taking the time to thoroughly research your goal in the first place.
Once you have a list of every single thing you need to do to achieve your goal, start backtracking. With the end in mind, start to re-write these tasks from last to first. This is your very own action plan and with this plan, your goal is practically unstoppable! All you need to do is start from the first task and work your way to the end!
Create Your To-Do List
Now, although we know exactly what we need to do to accomplish our goal, it’s important to actually DO the tasks and for many this is the hardest part! Research, brainstorming and daydreaming are a lot of fun but when it gets down to doing the dirty work, this can be a bit more difficult. Sometimes it’s our own inherent fear of success or failure, other times it’s just plain forgetfulness! If we don’t think about our goals on a daily basis they are super easy to forget about so what we need to do is create a system where you are reminded of them every day and then take the time to work on your goals every single day until you accomplish them.
First of all, the easiest thing for you to do is to make a visual representation of your goal. Whether it be with a vision board (a large piece of board with cutouts from magazines or your own artwork that represent your goals), a new desktop wallpaper with a photo or phrase that represents your goal or just sticky notes arranged around the house with reminders of your goal, create something that you will see several times on a daily basis to keep as a reminder. This way you won’t be able to go through a day without being reminded of your goal.
Secondly, you’re going to start a to-do list immediately! I recommend using your phone for this but you could also use a small notebook and pen, just make sure it’s portable enough to keep in your purse or pocket. If you’re using your phone, start experimenting with the many different task management apps (I use AwesomeNote) but even if you don’t have a Smart Phone just use the memo section of your phone! What you’re going to put in your list is 1-3 items from your Action Plan, tasks that can be done in minimal amounts of time (between 5 minutes and an hour – if your tasks take longer, rework your plan so that you break those longer tasks down into chunks). Every day your priority will be to accomplish those 1-3 items! If you do this you will find that not only will you see each and every goal you make come to fruition, you’ll find that they happen much quicker than if you just made a vague goal and left it up to chance!
Check your to-do list frequently throughout the day to make sure you’re not wasting time when you could be working on your goal tasks. If you’re super busy, block out a specific amount of time in your schedule so that you can work on your goal (even if it means getting up a half hour earlier to do it). Set an alarm on your phone for every hour to remind you to check your to-do list, this also acts as a reminder of how important your goals are to you and so you never forget about them!
When you find your why, create S.M.A.R.T. Goals and take action your goals will no longer be stuck in the realm of wishful thinking and thrown head first into reality! It doesn’t matter if your goal is to get a promotion or organize your house, using this model of goal-setting will get results and make you confident in your ability to get things done!
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Photo Credit: Important Life Lessons