“The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them.” (The Decider, July 21, 2007) – Bill Maher
In my life I have had seven definite ideas that have held me back from being the best person I can be. When I think about what Bill Maher says about ideas, mine were ridiculous, but I believed them to be “true.” If you feel you are not living your life to your fullest potential, keep reading! Because if you nod yes to one or more of these seven stupid ideas, then maybe you need to change your ideas.
1. I don’t deserve success, it is unachievable so I wont try.
This is an idea that is based on a limiting self-belief, and that actually says you have no hope inside of you and therefore don’t believe you deserve to be successful. Your mind is using a truck load of energy focusing on the negative elements of you — it’s very draining! Instead focus on the positive elements in your life and I guarantee you will feel so much better about yourself.Advertising
2. Others will think I am stupid if do this.
Here’s another limiting self-belief and the words of Ellen DeGeneres say it all about this stupid idea:
“Start thinking positively. You will notice a difference. Instead of ‘I think I’m a loser,’ try ‘I definitely am a loser.’ Stop being wishy-washy about things! How much more of a loser can you be if you don’t even know you are one? Either you are a loser or you are not. Which is it, stupid?” – Ellen DeGeneres, The Funny Thing Is…
Surround yourself with people who make you happy, who support you, believe in you and who see you at your best. They are the people who will stop you from thinking you are an idiot and stupid. I do, however, like what Ellen says about being more definite in saying you are a loser rather than saying you think you are!Advertising
3. It’s too late for me to change or to do what I want to do.
This is just an excuse to accept our lot in life. The older we get, the less opportunity we believe we have to follow our dream. It is never too late — it is only because we choose to believe it is too late. The power of choice sits with us.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.” – Henry Ford
If you are a mid-lifer like me, then you will be surrounded by people who believe that it is too late and are waiting to retire. Go surround yourself with young people just starting out on their journey and absorb their energy and positivity about life. Hopefully that will ignite you to go and do what ever it takes to follow your dream.Advertising
4. I tried, but it didn’t work out as I expected, so I am not doing that again.
This is a stupid, negative idea that focuses on your failure. This idea could so easily be turned around to an idea that says, “I gave it a go and it didn’t turn out as I expected, but wow what a journey! I learned heaps and next time I will be more aware of…” Which idea feels better to say? I am guessing that it is the second idea that feels better. So why focus on negative thoughts when they make you feel yuck? Failures are part of the package of life, so embrace failure, learn from your failures, adjust and keep going.
5. I am actually comfortable with how things are at the moment.
Not only is this idea stupid, it is dangerous and it is tricky. Because to be your best you have to be courageous and uncomfortable at times. I too like the safety of comfort and contentment, but after a while it does get boring. You start to feel worse and even more discontented. I find that once I take up a challenge and push myself out of my comfort zone, life becomes a good-scary and exciting! If you choose to step out of your comfort zone and you don’t feel energized and excited, then you haven’t stepped out far enough!
6. To be my best requires too much hard work and energy and I don’t have that right now. Maybe later…
This crazy idea suggests that you maybe lack a vision of what it is you want. You actually don’t know what your best looks like and therefore you will find an excuse for not doing what it takes to be that. If you lack clarity about what you want to be, then the desire and motivation are nonexistent. I know that, personally, I have to be clear about what it is I want and what success looks like for me. If I can feel it, smell it and visualise it, then I will do what ever it takes. If not, I will find any excuse as to why I can’t do it.Advertising
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn
7. It’s too overwhelming and I am scared.
To be our best we actually have to change who we are and what we think. And yes, it is overwhelming and scary! If being our best was easy and not scary, then we would be going for it and living our life to our fullest potential. Life is not like that and this stupid idea illustrates how fearful we are of change. Life is not a straight line, it’s full of twists and turns and tough times. However, if we choose it to be, we can live a life full of joy, happiness and love. To be the best person you want to be embrace change and your vulnerability.
When I watched Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability, it was like a whole new world of thinking opened up to me. Once I stepped into my power of vulnerability, I stopped being scared and overwhelmed and became free of my fear and my stupid ideas.
So get rid of your stupid ideas, embrace change, take up the challenge and go for it!
Last Updated on September 28, 2020
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.
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.
This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.
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. 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.
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.
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).
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. 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
- How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success?
- 20 Examples of Personal SMART Goals To Improve Your Life
- How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them
Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com