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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

Reference

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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