Before the countdowns and fireworks going up, I am sure many of us will begin to think about the goals we would like to accomplish in the coming year.
Some of us may take this seriously by going through a process of goal setting and writing all our goals down, even to the extent of creating a vision board. Some of us may do this more casually by making mental notes of the goals that we like to achieve. Some of us may be thinking about our goals during the height of emotions while we are watching the fireworks and signing our “Auld Lang Syne”, resolving to accomplish these goals.
The first month of January is soon coming to an end. I am curious how many of us remember all the goals that we have. This is especially so for those who have not written any of their goals down. For those who can still remember, where are we at with these goals? As the saying goes, “Time and Tide wait for no man”. Soon January is gone and we are into February, so on and so forth, while another year is beginning to end again.
Recently I went to my regular barber for a haircut, the first remark he made was how fast time flies. It was like a dream, a shut of an eye, another year is gone. Strangely, I always ask my DreamCatchers (a term I like to call my coaching clients) if they are taking a nap with regards to their goals. Initially they do not understand, but then they realise that the word “NAP” can also be the acronym of “No Action Plans”. When we are taking nap, time passes by and our goals remains but a dream.
We can all have goals and we can go through the best goal setting process and techniques, having our goals aligned, clear and sometimes made into beautiful mind maps or vision boards. These goals can be very realistic, time specific, motivating, noble and will be beneficial to others. However, when we take nap, we will always remain a Dreamer and not a DreamCatcher, our goals will be nothing more but a dream.
The point where our dreams turn into goals and finally realities is when we wake up from our nap and start to create Action Plans. Nothing moves without action and in order to move in the right and desired direction, an action plan is needed to guide us. Action plans are like our map and compass, as we plot the best route to a destination and the compass keeps us on the right direction.
What is action plan? An action plan is a checklist of steps, tasks and milestones we need to complete in order to accomplish our goals. This checklist document can be created in the following 6 simple steps:
1. Set your SMARTER goals: Goals that are Simple, both Measurable and Meaningful to you, challenging but yet Achievable, that is Relevant to your situation, being Time bound that can be Evolving upon periodic Reviewing;
2. Priority: Within the list of goals you created, determine the importance of each goal is to you in accomplishing it. This can be expressed in terms of Very High, High, Medium and Low;
3. Goal Breakdowns: Breaking down your goal into smaller “bite size” mini goals, tasks, activities, and actions, then start listing them down;
4. Timeline: For each of these mini goals, set up a time frame. That is, determining the duration needed with a start and end time/date. This also includes the logical sequencing of each mini goals to be completed;
5. Resources: You have to also determine the resources needed for each of the goals and when do you need the resources and where will you secure these resources from; and
6. Monitoring: Having all these planned and written down is not enough, you have to monitor and evaluate the progress. By doing so, you will know where you are stuck and if you need to make any adjustment and fine tuning to your action plans.
To help you get started and planning, I have included a simple template specially created for you.
This template may not be the most perfect or even suitable for you, but it beats not taking that first step and move a step closer to your goals. So, do not be too distracted with finding the best or perfect system or most beautiful looking template. Start with something first and work towards whichever system or template to capture your actions plan, as you evaluate and improve upon the system or template.
Take the first step, wake up from your NAP and turn your dreams to reality!