Goal Planning and Taking Action
Your goals start with planning, but ultimately, actions speak louder than words. How do you achieve your big goals in life? You break them up into smaller goals that are easier to reach. How do you reach these smaller goals? By breaking them up into actionable steps, you can ensure that you will achieve them. Goals are reached in stages, not all at once.
Turning Goals into Actions
When you’re breaking your goals into action steps, pick tangible targets. This means making the action step something that you’ll know you’ve finished. In other words, it has to be measurable. Each of these steps may be a task that once completed gets you closer to the goal. Choose one or a handful of actions to take each day.
You and Your Cluttered Garage
As an example, let’s say that you want to clean up all the random junk in your garage. What sub-goals would you use? One tangible sub-goal with a measurable outcome is to put everything away. Another sub-goal to having the garage organized is to label your storage containers. Getting rid of extra stuff you don’t need would be another.
You’d then break each of these sub-goals into action steps. Remember that the end result has to be achievable. For the first sub-goal of putting things away, you might break it into an action step for each area of the garage. Divide the garage into smaller areas that can be de-cluttered within an afternoon (or however much time you choose to designate to it).
The Devil’s in the Details
Tangible means something that can be measured. Depending on the type of goal, you should use facts and figures. If you’re trying to lose weight, decide on an exact number of pounds. If it’s money, break it down into dollar amounts. Use action words to define your tasks. On your list of things to do, don’t write ‘gym’ or ‘garage sale.’ Instead, write ‘go to the gym’ or ‘have a garage sale.’ The verb is important because it reminds you that this is an action that needs to be taken.
Keep It Realistic
Don’t forget that the reason we break goals down into steps is to make them more realistic. Any goal is achievable if you break it into bite-sized chunks and affix realistic time frames to these chunks. Goals that revolve around learning a new skill are especially daunting, but when you break them down in this way, they become possible.
If your action steps seem more like giant leaps, this doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you need to break them up into smaller actions that are easier to achieve.
Monitor Your Progress
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Once you’re several hundred miles on your way, it doesn’t seem so far at all. Monitor your progress and log it in a journal or computer file. This shows you how far you’ve come in working toward your goal and that adds more motivational fuel to the fire.