Discover how to make an action plan to achieve your goals. Set SMART goals and turn your dreams into realities. Start your journey to success today!
This is the third post in a series of uplifting articles you can give as a birthday gift to friends and family who need an extra dose of inspiration to achieve their dreams. The first post is about Facing Your Deepest Fears and the second is on Living Life to the Fullest.
Setting goals is easy. Planning to achieve them and sticking to the plan is, well, not so easy. At first, you’re pumped up, ready to take on the world, but soon enough life just seems to get in the way. Your goals fall by the wayside.
As John Lennon once sang, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” If you’re like most people, what happens is you set solid goals for your personal development but lack the specific steps to achieve them. That’s where an action plan can make all the difference.
With a clear, well-defined action plan, you can set yourself up for success, no matter what life throws your way. What does an action plan look like?
Put simply, it's a strategy that outlines every small, actionable step you need to take to stay focused, keep on the right track and reach your goals.
Setting precise and measurable goals empowers you to identify all the steps you need to take to achieve them. That's why every solid action plan begins with SMART goals.
What are SMART goals? "SMART" is actually an acronym that literally spells out how to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound goals. Here's a guide to get you started on your SMART goal-setting journey:
Whether your goals are short-term or for the entire year, setting SMART goals can help you crystallize your dreams and track your progress, ensuring you know how close you are to what you've set out to do.
As one of the key steps of an action plan, setting SMART goals can help you move forward and reach the health, happiness and prosperity you want out of life.
Ready to learn how to make an action plan to achieve your goals? Here's how to do it every step of the way:
To make an action plan to achieve your goals, convert your non-SMART goals to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound goals. Here are some examples to get you started.
Let's be real, we've all been there. We set these colossal, skyscraper-like goals for ourselves and we're immediately filled with excitement at the sheer vision of reaching them.
Yet, sometimes, those towering ambitions can cast such a vast shadow over us that they feel more daunting than motivating. Our steps toward them become hesitant. We may even halt and question the path altogether. Don't worry, you're not alone here. But there's a nifty trick to scale these skyscrapers of our ambitions.
Let's say that your dream is to write a riveting, 100,000-word novel in a year—an incredible vision, but also a mammoth task.
Writing a novel might feel like trying to climb a mountain in a single stride, which could end up freezing you in the foothills of the first chapter.
But here's where the magic happens. You can transform that towering ambition into bite-sized, actionable steps. What about writing 2,000 words per week? Doesn't that sound more doable?
Writing a set number of words per week is like breaking down that mountain into a series of manageable hills. You'll be conquering them one by one, step by step.
Each week, you'd be hitting these little victories, like checkpoints on your expedition to the summit.
You'd be inching closer to the pinnacle every week, fueled by the joy of these little triumphs.
And the best part is that your journey becomes flexible. If a week proves too steep, you know you need to recalibrate your stride for the next one. Or, if you find yourself sprinting across these hills, why not raise the bar a bit?
At the end of the year, when you're standing victorious on the peak, looking down at the thrilling journey you've completed, you'll have a 100,000-word masterpiece in your hands.
So, you have this spectacular vision, an exciting goal that sparks a fire in your eyes. You can already feel the rush of accomplishment at the thought of achieving it.
But before you start sprinting down the track towards it, you've got to figure out the game plan. You need to unravel the mystery of "how" you'll transform this vision into reality? Well, the answer lies in one crucial step: research.
You're like a detective in your own life story, set on a mission to uncover the secrets of your goal. Get ready to dig deep and uncover every possible nugget of knowledge.
In this age of limitless information, your computer becomes your powerful ally. Take the plunge into the vast ocean of the web, scouring through the goldmine of resources available at your fingertips.
But don't stop there! Your local library is a treasure chest of wisdom, brimming with books that might hold the key to your quest.
And let's not forget the wisdom of those who've already been where you're trying to go. Find an expert in your field, a guru who can guide you on your path.
Engage experts in conversation, seek their wisdom, learn from their journey. This is not just research—it's an exploration, an adventure in the land of knowledge.
After embarking on this thrilling exploration and gathering a wealth of insights, you'll be buzzing with new ideas, ready to charge towards your goal.
But wait! You need a clearly defined path that will lead you to your destination. In other words, you have to create a list of pitstops along the way, each one a stepping stone that will bring you closer to your goal. It's like laying out a trail of breadcrumbs for yourself to follow.
Let's say your goal is to open a bakery. You've done the research and you're ready to move forward.
So, you start jotting down the steps you need to take to reach your ultimate goal:
As you hit each milestone, you'll find yourself closer and closer to your dream. You'll not only have a clear path but also the thrill of seeing your vision unfold right before your eyes.
Let's say you're about to embark on a thrilling treasure hunt. You've deciphered the cryptic clues, you've sketched out the mysterious map, and now, the only thing between you and the treasure is the journey.
Just like every successful treasure hunter, you need a list that breaks down your grand quest into the bite-sized, actionable steps you identified in Step 2. That's your checklist, your action plan, the golden key to your treasure chest of goals.
First things first, your checklist needs an order. Not just any order, but one that's designed to lead you to your goal quickly. This is where you determine the sequence of your quest.
Prioritize your steps based on their importance and urgency. And ask yourself: which step, if accomplished, would create a domino effect, making subsequent steps easier or even possible?
Let's say your goal is to open your own coffee shop. The first crucial step could be creating a comprehensive business plan. This step could inform and facilitate subsequent steps, like securing funding or finding the perfect location.
Once your first step is nailed down, you're ready to launch into action. Embrace the exhilaration of seeing your plan in motion as you tick off that crucial first task.
But the excitement doesn't stop there! With the first step done, it's time to move on to the next task on your list, like securing the necessary funding.
The key to the magic of this process is maintaining momentum. Keep going, one step at a time. Each checklist tick-off will bring you closer to your treasure—your goal.
And remember, even if a step feels tough, you've got the momentum of all the previous steps propelling you forward.
Finally, the day will come when you've ticked off every last item on your list. You've completed your action plan and, just like that, your grand vision has transformed into reality.
Imagine you're the captain of a grand ship sailing towards the "Island of Goals." The journey is filled with tasks and challenges that need to be overcome before you reach your destination.
Some tasks are exhilarating, perfectly suited for your skills. Others, not so much. They seem daunting, or maybe just tedious. Should you wrestle with them on your own? You don't have to.
Like any wise captain, you understand the secret to a successful journey isn't doing everything yourself, but rather steering the ship towards its destination as quickly as possible.
If there's a task on your journey that seems too overwhelming, too time-consuming, or just something you'd rather not do, it's time to pass the torch. Delegate!
This isn't about shirking responsibility—it's about playing to your strengths.
Every task you delegate brings you one step closer to the "Island of Goals." So, let go of the reins when you need to. Trust your crew. By doing so, you'll navigate through your journey more efficiently, allowing you to reach your destination faster and more effectively.
Remember, a smart captain knows when to lead and when to delegate. So, unleash your inner captain and set sail towards your goals!
As you embark on your journey, let this sample action plan serve as motivation. The big goal here is to write a book within one year. Notice how each SMART goal below progressively builds upon the one before, leading to our sample action plan.
Sample Action Plan
Keep in mind that it's okay to adjust your plan along the way. The most important part is to keep moving forward towards your goal, even if your progress is sometimes slower than you expected.
Ready to make an action plan to achieve your goals? Use this template to get going.
The world is full of goal killers. Procrastination. Fear of change. Unrealistic expectations. Self-doubt. Every single one is an obstacle to overcome.
Identifying potential obstacles and following an action plan, step by step, could prevent them from getting in your way.
But even if you have the perfect action plan to achieve your goals, it could be hard to
keep going. To get you through the thick of it all, day after day, don't beat
yourself up. Reward yourself with a small indulgence for even the tiniest of
If procrastination is still a major problem, stop procrastinating with productivity and time management coach Brian Tracy. Need a little more inspiration? Check out my entire collection of inspirational birthday wishes, quotes and poems.
If you’re ready to make an action plan to achieve your goals—and stick to it—here's how to do it every step of the way:
The foundation of every smart action plan are SMART goals. What are SMART goals? "SMART" is actually an acronym that literally spells out how to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound goals.
A SMART action plan can guide you in achieving diverse goals for personal or professional growth.
As one of the key steps of an action plan, setting SMART goals can help you move forward and reach the health, happiness and success you want out of life.
Setting goals is easy. Planning to achieve them and sticking to the plan is difficult. Life just seems to get in the way. Your goals fall by the wayside.
If you’re like most people, you set solid goals for your personal development but lack the specific steps to achieve them. That’s where an action plan can make all the difference.
With a clear, well-defined action plan, you can set yourself up for success, no matter what life throws your way. Put simply, an action plan is a strategy that outlines every small, actionable step you need to take to stay focused, keep on the right track and reach your goals.