How To Create an Action Plan
Everyone has goals, but some seem to accomplish them far more than others.
That’s because people who accomplish goals at a higher rate than the average person are those who use a systematic, proven method of goal setting and goal attainment.
The answer is simple — you need an effective action plan.
Here are 6 steps that you can take to create an action plan that works.
1. Seek Clarity
The first step in creating an action plan is deciding exactly what you want.
Clarity is the most important single quality of goal-setting and perhaps the most important single quality of success.
Instead of fuzzy goals like more money, better health and happiness, be specific about how much money you want to earn in a specific period of time or what level of health and fitness you desire.
You need to set goals that are multi-dimensional and for every part of your life so that you function like a well-oiled machine.
You need goals for your health, career, finances, relationships, personal and professional development, and your community and spiritual growth.
This will immediately put you in a separate category of people because most people have no idea what they really want.
Most people are unconsciously preoccupied with the fear of failure, which blocks them from setting clear specific goals.
If you don’t set clear, specific goals, then you can’t fail to achieve them because they’re so vague.
2. Write Down Your Goals
Only three percent of adults have written goals. Everyone else plans to write them down, someday.
Success begins with a pad of paper, a pen, and a few minutes of your time.
You can start with the Three Goal Method: In less than 30 seconds, quickly write down your three most important goals in life, right now.
Whatever three goals you manage to write down is probably an accurate picture of what you really want in life.
When you actually write a goal down, it is as if you are programming it into your subconscious mind and activating a whole series of mental powers that will enable you to accomplish more than you ever dreamed of.
You begin to expect to achieve the goal and you start to attract people and circumstances into your life that are consistent with the attainment of your goal.
3. Set A Deadline
The next step is to set a deadline.
If it is a large goal, set a series of sub-deadlines.
And what if you don’t achieve your goal by the deadline? Set another deadline.
Remember, a deadline is a guesstimate of when you will achieve it.
You may achieve your goal well in advance or it may take much longer than you expect, but you must have a target time before you set off.
A deadline acts as a “forcing system” on your subconscious mind toward achieving your goal on schedule.
If you want to achieve financial independence, you may set a 10 or 20-year goal, and then break it down, year by year, so that you know how much you have to save and invest each year.
There are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines.
4. Make A List
Now, make a list of everything you could possibly think of that you will have to do to achieve your goal.
After having a written goal, one of the things that hold people back is not taking the time to lay out a list of all the little things they will have to do to get there.
Identify the obstacles that you will have to overcome; identify the knowledge, information and skills you will need; and identify the people whose help and cooperation you will require to achieve your goal.
The more comprehensive your list, the more motivated you will become, the more intense will be your desire, and the more you will believe it is possible.
Combine all these things into a plan organized by priority and sequence.
Priority is what is more important and less important.
Sequence is what you have to do before you do something else, and in what order.
List every single step that you can think of that you will have to follow. As you think of new items, add them to your list.
The 80/20 Rule says that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities.
The 20/80 Rule says that the first 20% of the time that you spend planning your goal and organizing your plan will be worth 80% of the time and effort required to achieve the goal.
5. Create A Plan
Now that you have this comprehensive list, schedule it into a comprehensive plan.
Plan each day, week, and month in advance. Plan each month at the beginning of the month; plan each week the weekend before; and plan each day the evening before.
The more careful and detailed you are when you plan your activities and tasks, the more you will accomplish in less time. The rule is that each minute spent on planning saves 10 minutes of execution.
Then as you go through each day of your plan, select your number one, most important task for the day. Again, you can set your priorities with the 80/20 Rule.
Ask yourself, If I could only do one thing on this list, which one activity is most important? Put a number “one” next to that activity. Then ask yourself, If I could only do one other task on this list, which one would be the most valuable use of my time? Then write a number “two” next to that task.
Keep asking this question until you have the top 20% of your tasks, organized by sequence and priority.
And now you have an action plan.
6. Take Action
Your next step is to take action, keep track of your progress, and make adjustments along the way.
Make sure you’re doing something every day to move you in the direction of what you really want in life.
Now I’d love to hear from you: What is one goal you want to accomplish? Learn more about Brian Tracy’s goal-setting methods from his SMART Goals Template.