Action Plan – Annual Planning Process – Week 5

This week in the planning process we will take our goals and turn them into actionable tasks.

A strategy is important when it comes to getting things done. By creating an action plan of exactly how you aim to reach each of your goals, you are much more likely to achieve them.

If you missed the “overview” post which explains the when, why, and how of this entire process, you can click here to go back and read from the beginning. I generally do this process once a year during December, but anytime your life needs a reset this is a great way to do it!

In week three of this process, we set annual goals. Now in week 5 we will revisit those goals and flesh them out. Thinking about how exactly we will be successful in accomplishing them.

Remember, there is a whole year to work on your goals; it isn’t necessary to try to finish all of them in the first month. What is important is staying focused and working consistently throughout the year.

Action plan, chess pieces are shown to symbolize strategic thinking

How to Action Plan Your Goals

Our brains are physiologically conditioned to respond to questions. By using this question/answer format to finish off our planning process, we are using this conditioning to our advantage. Consider each goal individually, using the following questions:

What and Why?

Taking each goal, think about what you realistically need to do to achieve it.

For example, if one of your goals is “to write a book”, a novel’s word count starts at 50,000 words. That means, to achieve the goal of writing a book in a year, the “What” is to write 50,000 words.

Let’s take another example. If you have set the goal of starting an emergency fund and you currently don’t have one at all, a good start would be to save $1,000. That means the “what” part of this goal is to save $1,000.

Also, think about the why. Why did you choose this goal. Remembering why you want to do something is very helpful along the way in keeping yourself motivated.

How? What will you do to achieve this goal.

How exactly do you plan to accomplish each goal? If you aren’t sure, do some further brainstorming on ideas of how you can accomplish it. Write down the “How” in detailed small steps.

The smaller steps you use for this the better, as doing things in small bits at a time reduces your unwillingness to do them. Small tasks seem easy, while big tasks seem hard.

By breaking down the goal into a series of tasks that need to be completed it becomes more realistic.

When? Think about the year ahead.

When would an appropriate time be to work on this goal? Are you going to do a little bit every day? or are you planning to get it done over a month. What time of day do you have time to work on this goal? How much time are you realistically able to devote each day to working on these goals.

It is overenthusiastic to plan out the entire year, but you can choose which areas you want to work on, for example, what tasks you want to complete in the first quarter, and set some deadlines for yourself.

Think of deadlines more as a guide than due date, and plan out some small rewards for yourself if you follow through!

Where?

The location might seem like a strange thing to think about in connection with planning, but when you ask “where” it is more about creating an environment where you can focus than an actual place.

Who?

Is there anyone who can help you with your goals this year? Who might be able to make it easier or has the knowledge you need?

Barriers

By thinking about what could go wrong, or what reasons you might not achieve a goal from the beginning, you can come up with solutions in advance. By having a plan for when don’t go as planned, you are more likely to overcome.

For example, if you are tired and don’t want to do the task you have planned, how will you circumvent that feeling? Maybe a reward, or by lowering the time commitment that was set? In any event, think about what your barriers are going to be and plan for them.

Action Plan Summary

In summary, the questions to ask for each goal are:

  • What and Why?
  • How?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Who?
  • What Barriers stand in my Way?

Thank you!

I hope you enjoyed this goal planning series and I wish you all the best for the coming year. Please let me know if there was anything you would add, or if you found this helpful.

Good luck with your goals!

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