In January many people set goals for the new year. We hear people talking about resolutions. These usually involve losing weight, exercising more, finding a new job, getting a promotion, or starting a new business. All of these goals are worthy. But what you really need to do is make plans. Goals are good, but they mean nothing if you don’t take action.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Here are four steps to achieving your goals through planning.
1. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish. Write down everything. Do you want to get more customers? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to make connections? Get a better job? List it all out.
2. Choose one thing from your list. Figure out only one thing to work on for the next 30 days, or 60 days, or whatever time frame you choose. Which of your goals will do the most for you? It’s important to pick only one at a time.
3. Set a specific timetable. How long will it take? Choose an exact date and mark it on your calendar. You pick the date. It doesn’t have to be the end of January or February. Focus on a date that is comfortable for you. When do you need to make this happen for you?
4. Write out the steps you need to take to accomplish your goal. Figure out how you’re going to make it happen. Break it down into actionable steps. Make a checklist. Check off each step as you move forward. If you don’t know where to start, think about what has worked for you in the past. Will it work again? Is there somewhere you can find the answer? Do you need to do research, or take a class, or find a webinar, or ask for advice? These are your first steps. Only engage in activities that work toward your goal.
5. Put them on your calendar. Schedule these tasks for specific dates and times. If they are on your calendar, you are more likely to get them done. Schedule them the way you would a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Set the reminder bell on your phone calendar. Be accountable to yourself.
We all have grand goals for making the new year our best year ever. But you need a plan. It’s the activity, not the goal, that makes it happen. Create your future.
By the time you reach your end date, you will have accomplished your goal, and then you can move onto the next one.
Make plans. Take action. Celebrate. Repeat.
It’s going to be a great year.