Post Updated on December 27, 2019
Do you love setting goals but never seem to follow through with them? I’m sure you’ve felt the excitement of setting goals…only to forget about them a few weeks later. Don’t worry, I’m right there with you.
If you’ve ever not achieved a goal you’ve set for yourself, I’m guessing your goal wasn’t specific or realistic enough. You probably felt overwhelmed by how much work it would take. Maybe you gave up because you weren’t making progress when you weren’t actually taking any action.
If you want to start achieving your goals, you have to break them down into steps that don’t completely stress you out. I recently mapped out my yearly goals into action steps, and I’m determined to make them happen this year.
I’ve set goals for my health (train for a 5k), finances (pay off debt), and business (more clients, products sales, and sponsors). From there, I’ve figured out what I need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to make them happen.
Goals don’t have to be daunting. You simply need an achievable action plan. Because I want to help you achieve your goals, I’m sharing a simple process you can use to break down your goals into action steps. Keep reading so you can create your own step-by-step goal plan!
Goal Action Planning 101
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”– Pablo Picasso
What is an action plan?
An action plan is a step-by-step method to get things done. I like to think of it as a plan of attack. It’s a way to break up huge, overwhelming tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work your goal will take, an action plan will make it feel achievable.
Why do I need an action plan?
Creating action plans for my goals is something I’ve done since I was in college. Before that, I kept vague goal ideas floating around in my head until I forgot about them (surprise, surprise). Breaking my goals down into an action plan helped me get more done and generally feel more on top of my life. Also, it’s rewarding to feel like I’m making progress even if I haven’t achieved the end goal yet.
What if my goal isn’t actionable?
If you can’t find a way to break a larger goal into smaller steps, it’s most likely not the right goal for you. To figure out the right goals for you, I recommend reading through these posts first:
- How to define your top priorities in life
- How to create a clear vision for the future you want
- How to set intentional goals and actually achieve them
- 30 Goal Ideas to Nourish Your Mind, Body, and Soul
How To Create Your Action Plan
There are so many ways to plan out your goals, but this is a simple (yet detailed) process that has worked for me. Start by grabbing the free goal planner then follow the steps below.
Step 2 / Bigger Goals
Write down your top 3-5 goals for the year. For each goal, repeat steps 3-10.
Step 3 / Set Deadlines
Set a deadline for your goal. Be realistic with your time frame, but challenge yourself to get it done sooner rather than later.
Step 4 / The Why
Write your reason for pursuing this goal. The “why” is important for helping you identify the positive impact this goal will have on your life.
Step 5 / Habits
Identify a daily or weekly habit that will keep you on track with your goal. For example, keeping your phone in airplane mode while you work. Habits are the framework for success, so it’s important to align your habits with your goals.
Step 6 / Action Steps
List out every single step that needs to happen to achieve this goal. What it would take to get from A-Z? What about from A-B? Once you’ve done that, condense your list into 3-5 action steps.
Step 7 / Order
Review your list of action steps and order them in a way that makes sense based on what needs to happen first.
Step 8 / Smaller Tasks
For each action step you’ve identified, ask yourself what smaller tasks need to get done to make the larger action step easier for you.
Step 9 / Due Dates
Set a start date and end date for each action step and smaller task. Add them to your calendar or favorite to-do list tool (I love Asana).
Step 10 / Reminders
Set up reminders on your phone or computer so that you always know when to work on each action step or habit.
How To Stay Focused On Your Action Plan
Be clear on what you’re trying to do by writing down exactly how you’re going to do it. Keep your goals in a visible place (download this goal planner) so you’re reminded of them often. Review your goals every morning or week as part of your routine.
Take responsibility for your own actions. You have an obligation to yourself, so commit to yourself and your future. Don’t blame others for holding you back or delaying your success. Work on being consistent with your actions and putting effort into your goals day in and day out.
If you get off track, pick up and keep going. There’s no point using up your energy by worrying about how far behind you are. You might have to adjust some deadlines here and there (or completely), and that’s okay. Keep your vision for your future top of mind, and you’ll find a way to get there.
Need more tips for sticking to your goals? Read this post about goal setting.
“By thinking about your goals every morning, many times during the day, and every night, you begin moving toward it and bringing it toward you.”– Bob Proctor
Which goals are you working on right now?
I hope this post has encouraged you to break your own goals down into actionable steps. I’d love to know if this process works for you and what your top goals are right now. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
Get the Goal Planning Worksheet
A step-by-step guide to help you turn your goals into an action plan.