Feb 15, 2021

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals

Are you a to-do list-maker? How about a sticky note-maker? Or do you have to write a sticky note to remind you to look at your to-do list?? Today, I’m talking about how to create an action plan – a to-do list that gets results through the action planning process.

A quality to-do list has six action-planning steps. It’s not complicated – actually, it’s quite intuitive – and it will get things done.

I grew up in a household of nine plus pets. A home that full requires a lot of organization to keep on-task. Some members of the family were born with a strong organization gene, but for some of us (including me), organization was a learned skill. I swear my sister, Sharie, was making a to-do list and assembling the troops to get things done from her crib! Her action plan for goal-setting, now that I’ve learned it, has changed the way I do business forever.

Step #1: Identify the goal.

If you haven’t yet set goals, I encourage you to revisit A is for Act Consistently, where you will learn to set SMART goals for business and how to act consistently on those goals.

Step #2: Create an action plan that is realistic.

Perhaps the most important step of the action-planning process is to break down the bigger goal into specific, doable tasks that can each be done in a specific, short period of time. Instead of approaching the job of updating your website as a simple task, break it down and instead focus the smaller tasks of 1) getting new headshots taken, 2) writing content, 3) reworking your logo and 4) rebranding your colors. These four specific tasks require specific skills that each take time. Breaking them out will help make the whole project much more manageable.

Step #3: Assign each task.

As a solopreneur, you might feel like everything is your job or hiring out might cost too much. Or you just may want control over the whole process. (Who doesn’t when they’re working their dream??) But thinking that you need to do it all is the wrong answer. In fact, it is a lie that the business owner needs to wear all the hats. The reality is that be done best by the people who have the time, skills and willingness to help you get it done. Frankly, you might not be the best person for the job. You need to play to your strengths, do what you can and consider delegating or hiring out for some tasks in order to get the job done, get it done well and get it done in a timely fashion.

Step #4: Match tasks to those who can best complete them.

Handing over the reigns to key tasks in your business might be one of the most important decisions you make as a business owner. Recognizing that others have the skills it takes to do the job at hand can elevate your business to heights you’d never imagined.

Step #5: Create a timeline that fits.

Set a deadline for each task within the action plan. If your overall deadline is to overhaul your website within 90 days, you need to work your way backward and assign each task that needs to be completed to a shorter period of time so that meeting the overall goal is attainable. In this process, you may find that the overall timeline simply isn’t long enough. That’s okay – you know early on whether you need to (if you can) move the deadline in order to get it all in and accomplish what you set out to do. This is a way you can determine whether the goal is attainable and be realistic as you go. There’s nothing more failure-inducing and confidence-reducing than setting goals in business that you cannot achieve, so do not say you can get something done tomorrow that is going to take a week to accomplish. This only sets you up for failure!

Step #6: Plan to be successful ( action planning process ).

You must decide that your action plan to achieve goals will work, or you’ll doubt every step and become your own barrier to success.

The number one reason people procrastinate is that they put too much on their plate. The project is too big. It looks enormous, and you can’t even imagine where to start, so you sit on the sidelines because there’s too much to do. Being overwhelmed is the number one reason people procrastinate. My action-planning tool works because it limits what’s on your plate at any one given time.

Don’t make your action plan infinitely long. Set it for a short, doable period of time and work on one goal at a time. Obviously, if you start now, you will achieve goals faster!

If you have big plans for this year and need some help executing them, let’s hop on a 30-minute coaching call to see whether I’m a good fit and can help you refine your entrepreneurial thinking by sharing years of planning tips that have worked for me and for countless clients. I literally wrote the book, The DAMN Plan To Find Freedom, Love, And Money In Your Business, chock-full of tips for new entrepreneurs and small business owner advice.

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