How To Set Achievable Goals By Creating An Action Plan

By April 8, 2010 General 17 Comments

Apolo Ohno didn’t hope himself to the Olympics.

He didn’t sit on his couch, with Olympic anthem playing softly in the background, close his eyes, clench his fists and hope as hard as he could…until, finally, the U.S. Olympic committee called him and offered him a spot on the team.

Even with all his amazing talent, he still needed more than hope to become one of the most medaled Olympians in history.

1. Plan it all out.

We can’t just set goals and hope we achieve them. We need to create a detailed plan of action for each goal.

Step 1: Select one aspect of your mission statement and set a goal you can accomplish this year.

Most goals fail because they aren’t planned out. We pick a big goal and take the first step, but we don’t plan out all the steps in between. When an obstacle arises, we’re caught off guard, lose momentum and often give up.

Step 2: Use these questions to plan your goal:

  1. What is the first step I need to take to reach this goal?
  2. What is the last thing I need to do to reach this goal?
  3. What are the steps in between?
  4. What obstacles might I face? What will I do to conquer them?

2. Break It Down

Just like most of you have cut up the food on your child’s plate to make it easier for them to eat, you need to “cut up” your goals to make them easier to achieve. Every step needs to be a bit sized chunk that doesn’t discourage us.

Step 3: Make EACH step bite-sized.

For example, if I wanted to write a book about the Alamo and I planned it all out, one of my steps might be “Visit the Alamo.” But I might never make that visit because I am overwhelmed by the idea of planning the trip.

More often than not, if we find it difficult to act on a goal, it’s because our steps are too big.

So, if I’m putting of my novel because my next step is the Alamo trip, I need to sit down and break that step down.

  1. Request time off work.
  2. Book hotel.
  3. Buy airline tickets.
  4. Pack.

Ah. That’s much more doable.

3. Inspire Yourself

Write down why you are pursuing your goal. Be detailed. When you are feeling unmotivated or discouraged, read it and let yourself be inspired again.

Remember that success is accomplished one step at a time. The choices you make TODAY matter. You will have to make difficult decisions. You will have to work hard. You will face obstacles.

But consistent forward progress always results in success.

4. Write It Down

Take a piece of paper or open a document on your computer. Write down your goals, steps and inspirations.

Print it out and post it on your fridge for both you and your family to see.

Knowing others are expecting you to work towards your goal will keep you inspired and motivated.

Conclusion – Living With Purpose

Rita never finished college. She started, got married, had kids, quit school and never went back. She always wanted to, but she kept putting it off. She thought she’d be too old. Maybe it would be too hard.

Finally, her husband put his foot down and said,”Rita, you WANT to finish school, why don’t you just do it?”

“If I start now, I’ll be 64 by the time I finish!” Rita replied.

Her husband smiled and said gently, “You’re going to be 64 someday whether you have a college degree or not.”

Our children will grow up. We’ll grow old. Time will pass one way or the other. Let’s make sure we’re spending it purposefully.

What is one goal you’re working toward?

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