“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
Got Goals? 6 Steps to Move from Plan to Action
By Andrea Novakowski
Last month, my client, Jonathan, told me about a great idea that he thought would make a huge difference in his industry. He first needed to get funding so during our coaching session, we talked about steps he could take to achieve this goal. He left nodding his head with excitement, energy, and enthusiasm.
Fast forward one month to our next meeting. I asked Jonathan how his plan was coming along. Turned out, he was no closer to making it a reality. His face lit up when he talked about his goal, but there was something holding him back from taking action.
Do you have a plan to reach your business goals? Good! Unfortunately, that’s not enough. Creating a plan doesn’t automatically mean you will work that plan. When the time comes to take action, you, like my client Jonathan, may get tripped up.
Do you hear yourself making any of the following excuses?
- I have too many goals. It’s hard to focus. I can’t prioritize.
- Other people are getting in my way. My clients are needy, my husband wants more family time, and my kids want me to show up at all their sporting events. Help!
- I don’t know what to do next or how to do it. I’m not sure I even want to do it.
If so, there’s a reason for concern. What I’ve frequently found is that the biggest determinant of whether your plan succeeds is you and how you view your situation. It is vital that in addition to creating the plan, you also consider the roadblocks you might potentially throw in your own way.
Here are some examples of roadblocks you might experience:
Are you procrastinating? While some people derive energy from saving things for the last minute – nothing motivates us like deadline pressure – this can also lead to less-than-stellar results. If something is important, give it the time necessary to produce the outcome you want. Feeling overwhelmed? Divide your goal into small daily actions that keep the plan moving forward.
Are you afraid of failure? If you don’t try, you can’t fail, right? On the other hand, if you don’t attempt the task, how will you ever know whether you could have done it? To be successful, sometimes you have to force yourself out of your inertia. Better to take a wrong turn than no turn at all. As productivity expert Laura Stack says in her book Doing the Right Things Right, no one achieves things just by thinking about them. Staying in motion leads to results.
Are you afraid of success? Success can lead to increased pressure and expectation of more success. In a way, it might seem easier to stay right where you are. After all, if you don’t achieve your goal, you won’t have to worry about new challenges. Spending time thinking about why you came up with this goal in the first place, how it aligns with your values, and what’s important to you is a great way to get back on track.
If you’re ready to do more than set goals… if you’re ready to actually move forward and achieve those goals, check out the 6 steps listed below that my clients have found helpful in overcoming — or proceeding in spite of — these self-imposed roadblocks.
1. Check in periodically to make sure this goal is still worth pursuing. Ask yourself, “Does this matter?” Sometimes circumstances change and what was once a meaningful goal, no longer is.
2. Create a reminder of why you’re working on this goal and what it will make possible in your life. Use this cue to reconnect to your purpose and your values and keep going forward.
3. Recommit to your project each and every morning.
4. Create small daily action steps that keep you moving toward the result you want.
5. Schedule these daily actions on your calendar. Don’t just fit them in when you can find the time; make time for them.
6. Start each day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task (to learn why, read Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog).
Now it’s your turn. Create a deliberate practice to help you take the necessary steps to reach your goal. Be intentional! If you’re serious about results, give your goal the attention and time it deserves!
YOUR CALL TO ACTION
Identify what you most want to achieve for yourself and your business. Create a plan of action. Now move that plan to the front burner. Make room in your schedule and clear your pathway of roadblocks, both real and imagined. No one has time to do everything, but it’s remarkable how we find time to pursue our goals once we acknowledge that they are important to us.