Why Create a Goal Setting Action Plan?
A life without a plan is like driving from A to B in a foreign city without a map. Creating a Goal Setting Action Plan is essential to moving forward towards your dream life. Not only do you need to question the rules of life to keep yourself on track to achieve your dreams, but you need a road map to make it happen.
Writing a goal setting action plan allows you to:
- Create the life you have a vision of on paper
- Gain control of your overall life direction instead of just going with the flow
- Start working on a step-by-step plan to achieve the life you really want
- Divide your daily actions between what is essential to achieving your goals and what is irrelevant
- Maintain focus and dismiss distractions
- Long-term vision + short-term motivation = the life you dream of
- Gain relevant information and resources related to your goals
- Track your successes which in turn encourages you to take further steps forward
- Boost your self-confidence as each step in your plan is completed
Where to start
Your Goal Setting Action Plan is created step by step. Set aside some time to do this, preferably somewhere quiet where you can think without interruption.
Step 1 Defining your Large Scale Life Goal/s
You might be one of those blessed people who knows what they want out of life and can write their goal/s out very quickly. The rest of us need some prompting. Here are some areas to gather ideas:
- Do you want to make a career change or adjustment? What is your ideal career path?
- Are there any major life purchases you want to make such as buying a house, car, wedding, holiday etc
- Is there anything you need to study?
- Do you want to relocate?
- What areas of your relationships do you want to focus on?
- Are you as healthy as you would like? What changes and improvements would you like to make in this area?
- Do you have any investing goals or wish to change something major in your financial future?
Now you have written down some broad ideas, you need to get specific. Clearly write what it is that you want to achieve. For example, instead of writing ‘I want to be healthy’ you would write ‘to lose 20 pounds before 31 December 2013 by eating healthy foods and exercising more than twice a week’ What is your target date to achieve your goal? Write that down. How would you know you have achieved that goal? In the example above this would mean that you have lost 20 pounds.
Be very specific when writing down your goals. Follow the SMART guideline. Specific (I want to lose 20 pounds), Measurable (I know I have achieved it because I can see the result on the scales), Attainable (It is possible to lose 20 pounds before the end of the year), Realistic (I don’t want to lose 20 pounds in a day) and Timely (I have written an end date).
Step 2 Break Down Your Goals
Write each of the goals you came up with across the top of a separate page. You are now going to break each goal down bit by bit until you have something you can write some short term actions for. As an example based on the lose 20 pounds goal, you would write down relevant areas relating to this goal such as eat only natural foods, exercise twice a week for half an hour etc
Step 3 Individual Steps
What are the individual steps to achieve each of your goals? Underneath each goal on each page, write the next thing that needs to be done to get to the step before. Using the food example above, individual steps might include:
- Donating all packaged junk/processed foods to XYZ charity
- Writing a shopping list based on healthy foods
- Spending 30 minutes each night on a healthy food website
- Trying new healthy recipes once a week
Step 4 Add Deadlines to the Individual Steps
This means putting a time limit on each of the steps. For instance: donating all packaged junk/processed foods to XYZ charity prior to 5pm Friday 3 May 2013.
Step 5 Resources
What resources do you need to complete each individual step? Does the step need a Mentor? Information? Money? Time? Add your answers to these against every single step.
Step 6 Positive Effects
What positive effects will ticking off this goal have on your life? This is a very personal area of your goal setting action plan. Knowing what the positive effects each goal will have on your life can make a massive difference in your motivation to stay on track.
Step 7 Prioritize
Look at the all the items in the individual steps from Step 4. Sort them into order with the close deadlines and most important first. What are the top three most important things you want to achieve? What are the things that will move you forward the most? These are the ones to focus on. Create a To Do List based on your priorities.
Step 8 Results
Ticking a completed goal off your list is very rewarding, but it doesn’t always happen for one reason or another. You never know when you will come across a roadblock to your dream life. Don’t give up. Merely review your goal setting action plan and reschedule. Reviewing the area of a goal that hasn’t happened is vital to this process. You may find that the goal wasn’t what you really wanted in life. You might also find that one or more of the steps you had written were unnecessary to achieve the goal you set. Some steps might have been missed and you may need to break it down further. In Step 8 it is important that you don’t get disheartened. Look at what went wrong, come up with new ideas and steps, then set a modified target.
What does this have to do with Dreamlining?
Goal setting is very complimentary to Dreamlining though they are different from each other. Personally, I see goal setting a big picture thinking that steers your life in a particular overall direction. Dreamlining is about the specific things you want to do in life to live your dream life. The BE-DO-HAVE of life. By creating a goal setting action plan, you are working on your overall big dreams in life, and breaking them down into smaller, achievable steps.
So what are some of the goals from your Goal Setting Action Plan? Share them below in the comments.