In part 1 of this article, I showed you how to properly set goals by being specific, giving yourself a deadline, making your goals positively oriented and find yourself an accountability partner.
I also showed you a technique where you actually visualize yourself after you’ve hit that goal and you imagine what it actually feels like.
In this article, I’m going to show you a step by step process to take that goal, and create the action plan that will help you achieve that goal. When you are creating this plan, remember this:
“You can’t reach the top of the mountain in a giant leap-but you can get there if you take the stairs.”
We are about to do is take your mountain of a goal, and break it down into individual obtainable steps (The Action Plan). For the sake of this exercise, we are going to continue with the example we used in part 1, which involved losing 30 pounds in 10 weeks.
Remember the goal that you wrote down? This is our
“Today is December 5, and I am 30 pounds lighter. I look a lot better, and I feel great. People have complemented me on how I look healthier and am a more enjoyable person to be around. I can now participate in activities I’ve always wanted to do but felt limited by my weight.”
So how can we break this down?
Well since we gave ourselves 10 weeks, the best way to me sounds like breaking this up into 10 obtainable milestones that we need to complete along the way. Hitting the 10th and final milestone would complete the mission. Now we need to set up each milestone accordingly. If your goal is in fact, weight loss, I recommend speaking to your physician about what is realistically possible for you (and then try to outdo what they say of course).
Since we are using weight loss as our mission, it is ok that we don’t set our milestones equally because it is much easier to lose those first 10 pounds then it is the last 10 pounds. I would recommend this schedule. Weeks 1 & 2 lose 4 pounds a week. Weeks 3 – 8, lose 3 pounds a week. Weeks 9 & 10 lose 2 pounds a week.
Now did you notice something about these milestones?
Pounds don’t just disappear in chunks just because you made the number smaller. Completing a milestone may not be the same as leaping to the top of a mountain, but it is like leaping to the top of a hill.
Like what we did with our mission statement, we will continue to chunk down on our milestones until we can break them down into smaller more obtainable goals. Write down each milestone down on an index card on the top line. On each index card, further, break down your milestone into an individually achievable goal.
For example, on one card, you may list: down on our milestones until we can break them down into smaller more obtainable goals. I would recommend writing each milestone down on an index card on the top line (sticky notes work well too). On each index card,
- Week 1 Milestone: lose 4 pounds
- Monday: run 1 mile
- Tuesday: lift weights for half an hour
- Wednesday: run 1 mile
- Thursday: lift weights for half an hour
- Friday: run 1.25 miles
- Saturday: lift weights for half an hour
- Sunday: day off (eat healthy!)
If you are really feeling diligent, you can break this down even further! You may want to list exactly what you eat on Monday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I find that having a meal plan can really help you stay accountable and focused. You may want to plan out a sleeping schedule. Remember, the more specific and detailed you are, the more likely you are to achieve your desired outcome.
Do you remember hearing about the
In high school, everything was planned out for them. They had English first period, Math second period, Chemistry third period and so forth. They followed a schedule that was strictly enforced, and they were able to thrive in that situation, even if it was to avoid the negative consequences of things like cutting class and it held them accountable.
However, once they got to college, they were given a lot more freedom, such as optional lectures and readings, and at some point, they couldn’t keep up because they lost that feeling of an automatic schedule, where everything is laid out for them.
You may think that this involves a lot of work. But in reality, the amount of time spent on this activity is only a fraction of the amount of time spent on achieving your mission.
You can talk about your goal all you want but without an actual plan that can help you stay focused with all the details, it isn’t going to happen with ease. The action plan is not only the road map to show you how to go from point A to point B but it’s a way for you to stay accountable to yourself.
Only you can decide how much support you want and need in this journey and if you are open to getting the guidance, accountability