Welcome back to the #GoalSetPlanDo series! This 4-week series is all about getting YOU prepped (and pumped) for 2016 by walking you step-by-step through my New Year prep. This includes my goal setting and goal planning process that has helped me accomplish so many goals year after year (and understand exactly why I didn’t accomplish others), and what I do to set myself up for success (early) in the New Year!
Last week, we spent some time goal setting—the SMART way! And I hope you immediately took some time to write down a few goals. If you haven’t read The SMART Approach to Goal Setting yet, I highly recommend going back to read it. Then, take a few minutes to write down a few goals for yourself and your business using my SMART approach.
Don’t worry! We’ll wait 🙂
You need to do this before you move on to today’s step, because even though they’re often mistaken for one and the same, goal setting and goal planning are two very different things.
GOAL SETTING VS. GOAL PLANNING
Goal setting is just the first step on the way to making your goals happen. Goal planning is your action plan to achieving them. But because they’re so often used interchangeably, goal planning is an often forgotten about step. You actually need both to succeed!
If you’ve ever wondered WHY you can’t seem to follow through on your goals, it’s probably because you spent all your time goal setting and no time goal planning. That’s the missing piece to the puzzle.
So let’s fill it, yeah?
WHAT IS GOAL PLANNING?
We already know that goal planning is your action plan for achieving your goals. But what does that really mean?
Last week, while going over SMART goals, I told you that your goals should be well-thought-out, carefully considered, and actionable. I also said that if you couldn’t think of an action plan or at least 3 action steps while you’re goal setting—you may need to head back to the drawing board and put on your thinking cap.
I hope you really gave this some thought while you were goal setting last week because you’re going to need it as we use the top 3 approach when goal planning today!
THE TOP 3 APPROACH TO GOAL PLANNING
I love and use the top 3 approach for a lot of things. I just love the number 3. Because it’s not big and scary, it’s cute and petite, and easily manageable (for the most part) on even the craziest days of the week. So I thought, why not apply the top 3 approach to goal planning?!
And you know what I discovered?
It freaking works!
In three different ways.
Set myself up perfectly for that didn’t I? #youknowit 😉
THE FIRST WAY
The top 3 approach works when it comes to making sure your goals are ACTIONABLE. I actually suggest coming up with at least 3 action steps for each of the goals you set. The catch? You have to do it at the same time you set your goal!
But don’t panic! They don’t have to be concrete at first. But you should at least have a good idea of what 3 action steps will be. This will help you determine whether or not your goal is really, truly actionable (or if you need to go back and make your goal more specific and meaningful).
For example, I knew that I could easily come up with 3 action steps to hold myself accountable to my 2015 goal of painting my nails more often. My first action step was to blog about my intentions (to do 52 colors in 52 weeks), post a picture on Instagram of my nail color that week (using the hashtag #52weeksofnailpolish), and post monthly roundups on the blog.
BOOM! Done. Next?!
THE SECOND WAY
The top 3 approach also works when you discover your goal has lots and lots of (big or little) steps. That just means your goal is probably going to be a GAME CHANGER and is going to require extra work on your part. But that’s totally ok because the top 3 approach will help you discover your first 3 (or top 3) action steps!
I suggest writing down all of the steps you can think of until you can’t think of anymore. Don’t worry about writing them in order at first because you’re going to go back at the end and number them sequentially (or in order of importance) to make it easy for you to follow later.
For example, my 2016 goal of having a solid social media routine and strategy has lots and lots of steps. Like figuring out which social media scheduling tool works best for me. In order to do that, I need to research different social media scheduling tools. Then I need to narrow down that list and test each tool out for a couple of weeks.
Honestly, the list goes on and on (and you’ll be really bored if I shared the whole thing with you). But I have my first 3 (read: top 3) steps! And instead of looking at the WHOLE list (and stressing myself out), I’m focusing on those 3 steps first. Because it’s MANAGEABLE.
Thank you, top 3. I think I love you!
THE THIRD WAY
The top 3 approach even works when your goal seems super simple and specific (and you think it only has one action item or step). When this happens (and it will), I actually suggest trying to break that goal down even more so that you have super simple BABY action steps to make things even more manageable. Because when you break things down so simply, you’ll honestly feel super silly if you don’t follow through.
For example, I hate going to the dentist, but I’m way past due for a cleaning and checkup (because I keep canceling). If I was so inclined to make going to the dentist one of my 2016 goals, my action items would be to set a reminder to call the dentist on January 4th, call and make an appointment on the 4th, and then schedule the appointment on my calendar with reminders.
Say it with me now:
BOOM! Done. Next?!
So how are you feeling about your 2016 goals? Feeling good? Feeling pumped? Feeling inspired? Have these goal planning and goal setting exercises been helpful for you? I hope so! I hope you’re actually (right now) adding an action plan to each of the goals you wrote down last time and are using the top 3 approach to do it! Because it works, friends!! It works!! 🙂
Before you go, I want to share this quote that I found when doing research for #GoalSetPlanDo:
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” — Greg S. Reid
I love it so much and I hope that it inspires you!
I can’t wait to hear all about your 2016 goals! Please leave a comment below to let us know how it’s going or if you have any questions. And if you share this series or your progress on social media, don’t forget to use the #GoalSetPlanDo hashtag so we can all follow along and cheer each other on!!
Until next time… I’m cheering for you!
Keep reading! The next post in the series: 7 Tools That Will Help You Have a Successful Year