Developing a personal action plan

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

What do you want from life? What do you want to achieve?

Goal setting helps us to become more aware and purposeful in making the decisions that create our reality. Without clear goals and a plan to achieve them, our dreams and wishes remain just that- dreams and wishes.

When you set goals, you take control of your life and focus on what is important. You make improved decisions and better use of your time and other resources.

Follow these steps to create your own action plan. You can also download our personal action plan template to fill in as you go through each step.

1: Get in the right mindset

Make yourself important

By setting personal goals, you are choosing to improve as a person and live a better life. Spend a moment thinking about where you are right now and where you would like to be.

Accept what you cannot change

To move forward, you need to let go of the past. Learn from it and let it go. Your new life can start now.

Identify what motivates and inspires you

It is hard to achieve a goal you do not care much about. Decide what is really important to you. Which ideas give you a feeling of excitement?

2: Write your action plan

Consider short, medium and long-term goals

What do you want your life to look like in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and beyond? It can be helpful to have goals that are both big and small.

Consider all areas of your life

Think about whether you have dreams and goals for different areas of your life:

  • health and fitness
  • relationships and friendships
  • home and family
  • finances
  • work and career
  • community
  • spirituality
  • travel and recreation
  • hobbies and skills

You might have goals for some areas but not others, and that’s okay. Start writing down your ideas.

Write your goals

Goals that are not written down are at risk of remaining just an idea. Writing them down makes them concrete and important.

Write your goals in the form of ‘SMART goals’. This means they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-framed
Vague goalSMART goal
Exercise more often.Go for three morning walks every week by the end of June.
Spend more time with my family.Plan a family catch-up at least once a fortnight, starting next week.
Buy a new car.Create a budget so I can save $5000 to buy a car within the next 12 months.

Prioritise

Put your goals in order of priority, so that you can start with your most important goals first.

Set your timeline

Now that you’ve set realistic time frames for your goals, you can create a timeline to achieve them. When we break down bigger goals into smaller steps, they feel more achievable.

GoalSteps to achieve my goal (actions)

Go for three morning walks every week by the end of June.

1.       This month (April): go for one 15-minute walk every Monday morning.

 

2.       Next month (May): increase to two 15-minute walks each week – Monday and Wednesday mornings.

 

3.       Goal month (June): increase to three 15-minute walks each week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

Plan the details

For each of your actions, write down extra details that makes the steps more actionable:

  • What information and resources you will need
  • Where it will take place
  • How you’ll do it
  • Who else is involved
  • When each step will happen

Now you’ve got an action plan that maps out how you’ll work towards your goals.

Step 3: Take action

Take action

The only way to achieve goals is to do something. Actions are the building blocks from which you create your life.

Keep your action plan in a place where you can see it and refer to it regularly. You may also wish to place reminders or prompters around your home environment.

Check your progress daily or as appropriate for your goal. Track progress on the timeline.

Accept challenges and stay positive

Achieving goals takes effort. If it were easy, you would have it already. Know that ups and downs are a part of the process. Reflect on these challenges and so that you can learn and grow from them.

Your plan may need to be adjusted as you progress. The important thing is to not allow self-doubt and discouragement to sneak in. Regardless of where you are in the process, there is always a way forward. Back yourself and stay positive.

Find support

Identify who can help you to achieve your goals. Sometimes another person can help us stay on track and be accountable for our actions.

Celebrate your success

Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they might seem. Each step you take towards your goals is worthy of celebration.

Resources

Download our personal action plan template to get started.

You might also like to look at these other action plan examples: