In my last blog post, I talked about how you can upgrade your typical New Year’s resolution to a SMART goal (check it out here). A goal is good and a SMART goal is great, but having a plan completely laid out before you is best. In this article, I want to expand on some of those ideas from my last post and help everybody reading this create an action plan to accomplish the SMART goal you all set for yourselves.
Creating a Vision
Before we actually create this action plan together, I want to backtrack a bit. Return to that SMART goal we wrote a few weeks ago and turn that into a vision. Was your SMART goal “I will lose 10 pounds of body fat by March 15, 2018”? or was it “At the USAPL Raw National Championship on October 19 I will finish with at least a 1450 pound total”? Take a minute to actually envision that goal. What do you look like with 10 pounds less body fat? What does your life look like when you’re a bigger and stronger version of yourself in October? How does it feel to perform so well at a national competition? See the action you take, the sensations you experience, and the emotions you feel having accomplished that goal as well as the process along the way.
What Value Does This Achievement Add to Your Life?
Once you have that vision, you can create a sense of the value that completing this goal will add to your life. We are not just setting goals for the sake of being able to tell people we’re trying to better ourselves. We are setting goals to actually improve and create more worth in our lives. To give you a more concrete example, let’s revisit my goal from the last post:
By March 31, 2018, I will have a total of 10 online personal training clients.
I see the wide smiles on my clients’ faces as they get their medals on the podium after a successful powerlifting competition. I feel the satisfaction of having a positive impact on more individuals. I appreciate the opportunity to apply the knowledge that I’ve worked so hard to learn and to continue to hone my craft. I love the autonomy that I have being my own boss and creating my own work schedule.
The happiness, satisfaction, growing opportunity, and autonomy are the value that is added to my life by way of accomplishing this goal. Before you set out to tackle your SMART goal, I implore you to answer the question posed in the heading of this paragraph. Accomplishing your goal is going to be difficult. If it’s going to be difficult, you ought to establish the value to keep you motivated along the way.
Developing an Action Plan
Think of your action plan as mini objectives necessary to completing your overarching goal. In doing so, you have a concrete plan for what you need to do AND you get to accumulate small wins along the way, which has been shown to be vital in establishing habits of success. With each time you complete an objective, you get to give yourself a little checkmark. Enough of those and soon enough, you’ll realize you’ve reached your goal, if not surpassed it.
What Kinds of Objectives Should I Set?
There are tons of great ways to set an action plan and they vary in how meticulous they are. Generally, the more detailed your plan is, the more likely you are to succeed; however, with a more detailed plan, you may become overwhelmed. I’d like to share what I think is a great compromise to this predicament. There are three types of objectives I would set:
For every goal, there is something you can do day-in and day-out. This should be your top priority. In fact, if you only did this thing every single day, I would bet that you end up accomplishing your SMART goal. Weekly and monthly objectives are more so to help you stay on track and remind yourself of where you started, where you’re at, and where you hope to be. They can also be things that you just don’t need to do as frequently, often requiring more time and resources.
Example of An Action Plan
Let’s revisit my SMART goal of wanting 10 online personal training clients by 03/31/18. My objectives may look something like this:
- Daily – I will post on social media daily to drive interaction with my followers, i.e. potential clients
- Weekly – I will respond promptly to my current clients, keeping them engaged and interested in continuing to work with me
- Monthly – Each month, I will spend at least one weekend researching what other online coaching services look like. What does a check-in look like for them? What do they do with new and/or potential clients? What can I learn from their success? How can I incorporate this into my own business model?
Start with one specific objective for each category, and I would suggest writing 2 or 3 for each. As I mentioned, the more thorough the plan, the more likely you are to accomplish your goal. Are you going to complete your daily objective every day? More than likely, no; you will not. If you write 3 objectives for each category, are you going to satisfy all 9 objectives each month? Nope! The process of writing out an action plan for yourself, however, will set you up for greater success. The satisfaction of a small win per day alone can create the keystone habit that could be the difference between you accomplishing your SMART goals and not.