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Last Updated on April 30, 2021

How to Make Plans for Success (7 Pandemic-Proof Steps)

How to Make Plans for Success (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 achieve our goals now requires 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 a plan that enables 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 8 percent do that the 92 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 make plans 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.

Figuring out how to make plans for 10 goals is significantly more challenging than creating plans for 3 or 4 goals. 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 as you accomplish them. 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[2]. 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.

SMART Goals Definition

    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 learning how to make 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.

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    When you ask yourself how to make a plan 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.

    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 timeframe.

    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.

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    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? Incorporate them into an effective action plan to stay motivated.

    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.

    If your plan lacks details, it could fall into the hands of procrastination, which will cause issues for both short-term and long-term goals. If you find yourself struggling with procrastination, there are solutions. First, you can check out Lifehack’s Fast Track Class – No More Procrastination.

    6. Schedule Those Necessary Actions

    You should now 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.

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    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 as you learn how to make plans.

    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.

    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.

    More Tips on How to Make Plans

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Mark Lynch

    Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

    How to Make Plans for Success (7 Pandemic-Proof Steps) 13 Essential Personal Qualities for a Successful Life How To Bounce Back From a Failure At Work 20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You 6 Keys to Achieving Great Success in Life

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    Last Updated on May 12, 2021

    How to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for Your Goals

    How to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for Your Goals

    Creating a personal strategic plan is necessary to achieve your goals. Most companies do that, but for some reason, some talented, motivated individuals don’t. It makes no sense and yet, people broadly think about their goals but don’t create a personal strategy to achieve them.

    In this article, I’m going to address that as it is one of the most critical single tasks you can do to change the course of your life.

    Defining Your Personal Strategic Plan

    Let’s start with the perfect example of John (pseudonym). As a child, he played football, baseball, and basketball, but he wasn’t great at any of them.At the age of 15, he tried to join the basketball team and failed. He was too short and managed to get in to carry the uniform of the star player. The story continues as he continued to practice hard, waking up at 6 am each day, and after a year finally making it to the basketball team that lost the first three tournaments.

    He continued practicing even harder and eventually became perhaps the most influential basketball player of all time—Michael Jordan.

    You might argue that it is definitely a combination of raw talent and hard work for athletes. Still, no one can say that without practice and working hard for years on the same goal, this hard-working individual would have never achieved his achievements.

    This is why it is crucial to define your strategy and then pursue it. It cannot guarantee that you’ll become a world-class athlete, but it can guarantee that you’ll have the best chances of getting to your goals with your unique set of capabilities.

    We’re going to provide you with research-based proven methods of preparing your personal strategic plan.

    What Is a Personal Strategic Plan?

    According to an article in the Journal of Management Research, “effective personal strategy means being able to think in multiple time frames, clarifying what one is trying to achieve over time as well as what needs to be done in the short term to get there.”[1] In other words, it means setting a vision and a plan to execute it.

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    A growth mindset is essential when preparing a personal strategic plan. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be ambitious enough—and if you’re here thinking about your long term goals, it means that you likely already have a growth mindset.

    According to an essay in Harvard Business Review, “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).”[2]

    The main trait that is associated with success is planning. It is sometimes more important than talent.[3]

    There are many methods for building your personal strategy, and I’m going to cover some of them. They all share an understanding of a high-level vision, a sense of your values, and practical steps on how to get there.

    Horizons of Focus

    David Allen is one of the leading time management specialists globally with his famous book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. One aspect of time management is the understanding of what you need to get done in a personal strategic plan.

    His method includes the following horizons:

    Horizon 5: Purpose and Principles

    This is where you set your vision for life. Of course, this is a big thing that requires you to think about what you would be happy with accomplishing decades from now. Sub-questions are which jobs, lines of industry, impact, and legacy are you interested in.

    An excellent method to examine that is by using the “five whys” process. In this simple method, you should ask yourself “why” to help you understand the real reasons for choosing your vision.

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    For example, if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you can ask yourself why that is. If the “why” is to make an impact, you can ask yourself additional questions, such as whether this is the best way to do that.

    If you decide that it is, you might wonder why you want to create an impact. Perhaps it is because there is something you deeply care about.

    Your vision shouldn’t be only on professional goals; it should be on every life goal you care about. A bad example would be: “To be the most successful entrepreneur ever.” It is not unique and does not address your inner wants and needs. A good one would be specific, non-generic for you and your personal goals.

    By choosing a long-term goal specific for you, you can continue to the next step of figuring out how what the next few years will look like.

    The second part of this horizon is principles. By choosing your principles, you can re-examine your choices and see if they amount to your expectation from yourself.

    Horizon 4: Three- to Five-Year Vision

    Now that you have clearly defined your goal in life as part of your personal strategic plan, you can plan the next few years. Every ambitious goal takes time to accomplish. You should plan how to get there and understand that flexibility is vital during these times, as there are a lot of changes going on.

    This is when you decide on specific goals, such as a career path. If you aim to be a writer, and your goal is to become a columnist in the New York Times, what would get you there? If your dream is to start a successful startup, what can you do to learn the right things to qualify you as a leading entrepreneur?

    When considering the next specific moves you should take, it is always recommended to find a mentor to consult with. This is someone you look up to and picture their life as one that you would like to have. They are usually at least 10-15 years older and successful in achieving their goals.

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    What would be the next step to get you to your vision? This is not an easy question to answer, but broadly speaking, you should envision a road that can’t be 100% clear sometimes and still takes you in the right direction.

    Horizon 3: One- to Two-Year Goals and Objectives

    What objectives will the next year hold?

    Let’s say that you chose a specific career path. Now, you should focus on the main criteria and key performance indicators that would help you get there. That may seem far from your vision, but visions are, by nature, a bit far out.

    If you decided that you want to be a successful entrepreneur in five years to impact climate change positively, but you still don’t feel that you have the knowledge to do that, a first step might be working for a startup that’s doing that.

    When you take a look at the first year of working for that startup, it might be a good idea to understand your job requirements and prepare to be excellent doing them. By doing that, you’re on the right path to your dream.

    Horizon 2: Areas of Focus and Accountability

    After learning what you need in order to plan the next few years, we’re now getting to the important daily stuff. What are the primary few things that are important for your success in achieving your goal?

    This is the part when you understand your day to day responsibilities and excel at making them. Making a daily to-do list may be helpful at this stage. This is one way to hold yourself accountable when you decide on the daily steps you’ll need to take to carry out your personal strategic plan.

    This is also the horizon that will help you avoid procrastination, as you’ll have a clear idea of what to do and when. If you fall into a rut of procrastination, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

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    Horizon 1: Projects

    These are the open loops of your goals that need to be achieved. One example can be editing that company movie. Another might be finishing that report. It can also be personal things, such as organizing the birthday party for your brother.

    You have tons of these, and every once in a while, it is suggested to ensure that they align with the higher-level goals you have.

    After you add everything to your calendar, the last step is to actually get it done. You can use tons of project management systems, such as Monday, Asana, Notion, and others. In Notion, they actually have a prepared template for this suggested method.

    Additional Methods

    The above method is just one out of many for developing your personal strategic plan.

    Another one is called V2MOM, invented by Salesforce’s founder[4]. The idea is to ask yourself five questions—some of them were also asked above—which would help you clarify your vision and get it.

    The five questions are:

    • Vision: What do you want to achieve?
    • Values: What’s important to you?
    • Methods: How do you get it?
    • Obstacles: What is preventing you from being successful?
    • Measures: How do you know you have it?

    Final Thoughts

    As mentioned, knowing where you want to go and preparing for it has a huge impact on your success in life. That may seem obvious, but some ambitious people don’t manage their lives in a way that helps them position themselves in the best way possible to succeed. Spend a few hours thinking and coming up with a personal strategic plan to put yourself on the right path today.

    More About Goal Planning Strategies

    Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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