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Last Updated on April 30, 2021

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

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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.

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    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

    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life 20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You 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

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    Last Updated on September 27, 2021

    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

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    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

    The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

    Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

    Thus, this article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question — why is goal setting important?

    1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

    It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

    But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

    Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

    Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

    “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

    And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

    Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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    So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

    2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

    Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

    You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

    Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

    Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

    So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

    3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

    A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

    But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

    Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

    Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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    So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

    4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

    This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

    Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

    What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

    This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

    If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

    So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

    5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

    This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

    What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

    The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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    Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

    So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

    6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

    Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

    For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

    A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

    Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

    So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

    7. Goals Make You Feel Good

    Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

    Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

    Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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    If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

    So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

    8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

    I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

    Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

    Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

    There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

    Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

    So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

    If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

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    Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

    More Tips About Goals Setting

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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