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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How To Make Plans And Achieve What You Want (7 Pandemic-Proof Steps)

How To Make Plans And Achieve What You Want (7 Pandemic-Proof Steps)

There’s no question that times are uncertain right now. It’s also clear that old strategies that worked in the past—maybe even just last year—may not be as effective now given how the pandemic has changed our world. Knowing how to make plans and achieving our goals now require new strategies.

Luckily, there are some steps that you can take to achieve your goals even during a pandemic.

Most people know how to set SMART goals. That’s not overly difficult. But the challenge is knowing how to make plans that enable us to achieve those goals.

During the initial days of setting a goal, enthusiasm drives motivation to achieve results. However, it isn’t long before until it’s life as usual, and the goal you set becomes a distant memory.

Research suggests that only around 8 percent of people feel that they achieve their goals.[1] That means around 92 percent don’t, which is a staggering number. The question is, what do the 10 percent do that the 90 percent don’t?

Many factors go into whether or not goals are reached, but two of the most important components are making a plan and making a commitment to work on the plan.

If you’re ready to realize your goals, here are 7 pandemic-proof steps on how to create a plan and achieve your goals.

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1. Select Your Current Main Goals

The first problem that many people have when it comes to goal setting is that they select too many goals.

Think about it. Figuring out how to make plans for 10 goals is significantly more challenging than creating plans for 3 or 4 goals. Less is more here. The reason that this is true is that by selecting fewer goals, you can truly focus on them and make real significant progress. If you select too many goals, you’ll spread yourself too thin and likely won’t be able to make any progress at all.

So, take some time to pick 3 to 4 main goals that you want to work on right now. These can change over time or change as you accomplish them. But ideally, you want to keep this list narrow so you can have a sharp focus!

2. Create SMART Goals

SMART goals give you clarity and a deadline for achieving them. SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Your goal is clearly defined. “I want to make more money” is vague. “I want to make $10,000 per month” is specific.
  • Measurable: You need to quantify your goal so you know you achieved it. This is where being specific and keen on details helps. What constitutes “more” in more money? A specific dollar amount is measurable.
  • Attainable: It’s good to set goals that make you stretch and challenge yourself, but you set yourself up for frustration and failure if your goal is impossible. Make a plan and set a goal that is attainable.
  • Relevant: Your goals should fit within your ultimate plans in life. There is no point going through the process of learning how to make plans for goals that aren’t relevant to the life you want to live.
  • Time: You have to set a date by which your goal should be achieved.

Note that goals work for large achievements, such as making $50,000 per year working at home, but also for smaller projects, such as, “I want to start a blog in the next 30 days,” or “I want to get five freelance clients in two weeks.”

3. Work Backwards to Create Your Plan

A big challenge to creating effective plans is that people often have no idea what it’s going to take to achieve a certain goal. They often underestimate the amount of time and effort needed to succeed in attaining something.

So, when you ask yourself how to make plans for these goals, look at the amount of time you have and the goal you want to reach. Then, create mini-goals that move you toward the big goal.

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For example, if it’s your goal to make $10,000 a month in your business within six months, then create mini-goals of how much you’ll earn at the end of one month (i.e. $2,000/mo) and three months (i.e. $5,000 per month).

You’ll know you’re on or off track by the time the first and third months come and you’ve hit or missed your mini-goal. From this point, you can adjust your goals and methods accordingly and make appropriate changes in your timeline.

Overall, this step will help you to create the stepping stones you need to cross to make an effective plan and achieve your goal.

4. Determine Necessary Outcomes and Create a Timeline

Of course, learning how to make plans is going to involve figuring out what needs to happen for you to realize the goals you’re planning for. During this step, be specific on what it would take to reach your small and big goals within the time frame.

Using the $10,000 a month goal example we stated above, to make more money, you need to get more clients or customers. In this step, you want to determine how many clients you’ll need to make $5,000 and $10,000 per month in your business.

How many prospects need to enter your sales funnel? How many pitches need to be made to generate a sale? Once you’ve figured out what needs to happen for you to have achieved your goal, the next step is to select the necessary actions.

5. Select the Necessary Actions

Now that you know what needs to happen, you need to figure out what actions you must take. What tasks do you need to do regularly to achieve your goal?

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For example, if you need to talk to 10 people to make two sales, what actions do you need to take to find 10 people? If you need to have 100 leads to find 10 people to talk to, what actions will it take to find 100 leads?

In business, the tasks in this section usually involve marketing. However, it also involves providing a quality product or service and keeping your customers and clients happy so they’ll keep coming back and/or refer you to new prospects. Making effective plans for success is dependent on the details. So, plan out all the details.

6. Schedule Those Necessary Actions

When you complete step 5, you should have a list of tasks that need to be completed to reach your goal. Now, it’s time to put those tasks into your schedule by making a daily plan.

These are the tasks you would do each day to generate prospects and leads. They are also the tasks you should do to create and deliver your product or service.

If you’re starting a part-time business around an already busy life, it can be a challenge to add more tasks to your daily routine. However, this step is crucial to achieving your goals. One way to make it all work is to learn how to manage and maximize your time.

7. Begin Taking Action and Follow Through

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you should have your daily schedule and targets to shoot for during the process of working on your goal. The next step is to follow your schedule.

Do the daily tasks you’ve assigned yourself to do. When you feel like things aren’t going well, find a way to keep yourself motivated. That seems like a no-brainer, and yet most people don’t achieve their goals because they don’t do the work regularly and consistently. In most cases, the plan doesn’t fail. What happens is that people simply quit.

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While you’re at it, keep track of your accomplishments and results. Set aside time every month or so to evaluate how well your plan is working, and tweak it if you’re not making the progress that you want.

The true test of whether or not you’ll succeed in your home business is not only by having a good plan but also by being able to consistently work on your plan.

Many would-be entrepreneurs get the point that they have a plan, but then give up on it. The solution to this is to get excited about your goals, create ways to celebrate the small successes, and always keep your eye on the prize.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—the pandemic-proof 7-step process to achieving your goals. Remember, though, that the most detailed plan in the world will never work until you do.

It’s not enough that you know how to make plans, you also have to put in enough time and effort to work on your plans. So, put in the work! You got this!

More Tips on How to Make Plans

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Focus on Yourself and Accomplish Your Goals in Life

How to Focus on Yourself and Accomplish Your Goals in Life

How often do you focus on yourself? During your morning meditation? Before bed, when you’re winding down?

If you want to accomplish your goals, it has to be constant. You have to put yourself first, even when it involves saying no to others.

At a high level, focusing on yourself is about paying attention: What do you truly want? What’s standing between you and your best, happiest, goal-conquering self?

Focusing on Yourself Isn’t Selfish

Just like everyone else on this planet, you deserve to get what you want out of life. That doesn’t mean you’re a selfish person; it simply means you’re the one who has to work for it.

Say your goal in life is to be an amazing parent. To do that, you can’t take care of your kids 24/7. Although you’re going to have to clean up after them sometimes, you can’t support them without a stable career. You can’t teach them to manage their mental health if you don’t take care of your own.

Before you can give others your best, you have to sort out your own priorities. And again, it has to be constant: Your goals might change, and that’s OK. What isn’t OK is focusing on others at the expense of yourself.

How to Focus on Yourself And Get What You Want in Life

Achieving your goals has to be a lifelong endeavor. That’s why it’s so important to start today. Use these strategies to go after your goals and get your life moving in the best direction possible.

1. Spell out Your Dreams

Get a college education. Land a job that makes a lot of money. Reach that next rung of your career.

The traditional vision of success appeals to a lot of people, but it may not be right for you. Ask yourself: What does the life I actually want look like?

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It’s up to you to create a vision for your life. You don’t need to know all the details, but you should be able to paint the broad strokes.

Say you know that you enjoy history and writing. The key stages of your life vision might include:

  • Work for a state historical society.
  • Become a freelance writer.
  • Write a historical fiction novel.
  • Win the Booker Prize for Fiction.
  • Become the modern Leo Tolstoy.

Or, let’s say you are working in healthcare, and while you don’t want a complete career change, you do want to pivot the direction you are headed. You can start looking into online programs that would allow you to earn certifications without having to go back to school to earn another degree.

There’s no “right” or “wrong” dream. All that matters is one thing: that you’re willing to work for it.

2. Practice Constantly

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing, and you will have the power.” That “thing” is whatever your goals require of you.

One way or another, you have to put in the work. Writing skills don’t build themselves. Strong families aren’t forged by an absent parent.

The good news is, you don’t have to do it all today. Break your goals into small, manageable pieces.

If reading a craft book is what’s stopping you from taking the leap to be a freelance writer, start by reading just 10 pages per day. Over a month, that’s 300 pages—a full-size book. How does learning the business of freelance writing in just a month sound?

Small steps add up. Take one or two each day, and you’ll make more progress toward your goals than you thought possible.

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3. Face Your Triggers

You’ve been told to avoid your triggers, but when it comes to focusing on yourself, that isn’t the best advice.

How can you grow as a person if you run away from every trial? If you truly want to focus on yourself, you have to face your triggers.

Say your heart is set on holding public office. If you want to accomplish your goal, you’re going to do things that might scare you, including:

  • Speaking in public
  • Saying no to people
  • Taking personal attacks in stride
  • Working with people who you disagree with

Remember, you grow most when you’re challenged. Focusing on yourself means putting yourself in tough situations.

4. Tap Into Your Sixth Sense

Focusing on yourself isn’t a science. Finding your path requires you to get in touch with your intuition.

When you’re intuitive, you can sniff out a bad relationship before getting too close. According to best-selling author Malcom Gladwell, you can evaluate people with about 70% accuracy[1] in a mere five minutes.

How is that possible? Because past experience is powerful. Intuition is another word for using your experience to see beneath the surface of a situation. To focus on yourself, you have to trust yourself.

With that said, intuition isn’t infallible. Don’t let it stop you from seeing what’s right in front of you. For example:

  • Your intuition is heavily influenced by your biases. If you find someone attractive, you may be more likely to glass over their bad characteristics.
  • If you’re in a bad mood, you may be overly pessimistic. Take another look at the situation once you’re feeling better.
  • Hearsay isn’t a good base for intuition. Don’t read too much into what others tell you.

The bottom line? Be aware of your gut feelings, but don’t let them drive the car.

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5. Switch It up

Focusing on yourself isn’t the same as being single-minded. If you want to achieve your goals, you need new experiences to help you climb higher.

Every so often, try something new. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to do it again; what’s important is that you learned something about yourself.

Not sure where to start? Try one of the following:

  • Go ziplining
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Dye your hair
  • Travel to another country
  • Fix an unfamiliar car or home problem yourself
  • Invert your schedule

Experimentation helps you build skills and deepen your sense of self. Both of those things are critical if you want to reach your goals.

6. Put Your Health First

What better way to focus on yourself than to prioritize your health? When you feel better, you’ll get more done than you would working yourself into the ground.

You can get a long way by taking a “mother’s advice” approach to your health. That means:

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least three times per week.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Spend less time on social media.
  • Meditate for 10 minutes per day.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Take breaks often.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

If you struggle with maintaining healthy habits like consistent exercise, then try to make it more fun. For example, I’ve started taking electric bikes that have pedal assist and an accelerator out with friends.

7. Start a Side Project

Side gigs allow you to call the shots. It’s a lot easier to focus on yourself and achieve your goals when you’re in it for yourself.

Side projects teach you to love work again. The key is to choose projects that are aligned with your life goals. For instance:

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  • If you want to become an acclaimed artist: Moonlight as a graphic designer.
  • If you want to become a professional driver: Be an Uber driver in a big city.
  • If you want to become a veterinarian: Volunteer for the Humane Society.
  • If you want to become a famous musician: Join a local band.

Although it’s nice to earn some extra income via a side gig, that shouldn’t be your goal. If it is, look for a different job. The point of side projects is self-exploration.

With that said, side gigs can help you further your main gig. Engaging in one shows potential employers that you’re willing to go the extra mile. Unlike many nine-to-fives, they let you build a portfolio of work that reflects your true interests.

8. Work Backward

When you’re old and gray, what kind of life will you wish you’d lived? Taking an end-of-the-road perspective can help you see blind spots in your plans.

For example, it may be a dream of yours to live in a dozen different countries. If you achieve that, however, will it bother you to feel like you never really put down roots anywhere? If you also want to be a parent, will you be able to do both while giving your kids a stable upbringing?

Working backward is how you play devil’s advocate with yourself. Make sure your life goals don’t require you to make an unacceptable trade-off along the way.

The Bottom Line

What legacy would you like to leave? Are you willing to put in the work and accept the consequences? Make a change today, and you’ll have taken the first and most important step to achieving your life goals.

More on How to Focus on Yourself

Featured photo credit: Anastase Maragos via unsplash.com

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