Goals may be more difficult to accomplish than they are to set. Let’s pledge to set achieveable goals for October. Monthly goals are fun to set, and now that Fall is in full-swing and the start of the holiday season is upon us, now is a time to dive into goals.
So let’s get SMART about our goal setting so be accomplish the goals we set for ourselves this month.
- Specific: Make your goal as specific as possible. Instead of making a goal of eating healthier, be specific about what you want to do. A better example would be to eat one piece of fresh fruit with your lunch every day for the month. It’s not perfect, but it’s smarter.
- Measurable: How do you know if you’ve completed your goal? Can you measure your progress? Include numbers in your goal or other ways of showing you made progress over the month. For example, instead of the goal of make sure people read my blog, which doesn’t specify how you will measure if somebody is reading your blog, you would make the goal of increase the amount of time readers stay on my blog or reduce my bounce rate from 95% to 80%, which can be measured using Google Analytics
- Achievable: Can you accomplish your goal? Plain and simple. I like to pair this one with T for Time-based, so the question can be can you accomplish your goal within your given time frame? Do you really have the time to read 10 novels by the end of the month? Exactly. Let’s be realistic when setting our goals, but don’t sell yourself short, either. Instead of the goal clean and organize the entire house maybe take it one room at a time. Achievable is one of the biggest differences between a hope and a goal.
- Relevant: How do you know if a goal is Relevant? The question is, is the goal relevant to you and what is going on in your life? Does it have something to do with what you care about? For example, you wouldn’t set a goal to quit smoking if you don’t smoke in the first place. For me, I wouldn’t set: Get at least one Pumpkin Spice Latte because I don’t care for coffee. Why would I invest energy in something I don’t care for?
- Time-based: If this is your goal for the month, you are set in this department! If this wasn’t a month goal, give yourself a deadline. It will be easier to put your goal lower on your priority list if it does not have an end date.
Now that we’re setting smarter goals, let’s take a moment to answer a few questions:
Question: Where do I start?
Question: How do I accomplish the goals I set for myself?
An action plan looks at your goals individually and breaks them down into smaller “chunks” or tasks. If you like making lists, imagine your action plan is a checklist of things to do in order to reach your goal.
This may seem like extra “work”, but in the end taking the time to make an action plan for your larger goals will help keep you on track. You probably won’t need to create an action plan for a goal like make my bed everyday before leaving for work, but you probably will for a goal like clean and organize the garage so my car will fit inside.
Metaphor alert! Your goal is a fountain in the middle of a lushly landscaped garden, your action plan or the stepping stones leading to the fountain. Sure, you can go off and find another way to the fountain, but an organized and logical route will get you to the fountain and you wandering around may not.
When setting your action plan, look at one goal at a time. You will make one action plan for each goal.
The basics of writing an action plan:
- Write your goal on a sheet of paper, or open a new document in your word processor and type your goal at the top of the page.
- Ask yourself: What steps do I need to take in order to reach my goal?
- Write down your answers, no matter how basic they may sound, with a little space in between
- Look at your answers…for each answer you came up with, ask yourself, Are there any steps I need to take in order to get to this point?
- If the answer is yes, and the steps are not already listed, make notes under the original answer. Do this for each for the first round answers. Just really flush everything out.
- Re-write or re-type your action plan and organize it in a way that is logical to you.
- As you make progress on your “steps”, cross them off the list! You are only that much closer to the bigger goal!
Like I mentioned earlier, October is quickly approaching and now is a good time to start working on your goals for the month and creating an action plan to help you on your road to success with your goals. I want to help you get started, so here is an action plan sheet for you to download and print out! All you need to do is click the link and download the PDF :)
Action Plan Sheet