No matter how big or how small your ambitions are in life, knowing the right planning tips can make the huge difference between success and failure.
Goal setting can be a gratifying and empowering process. And the way you set your goals will undoubtedly affect the way you pursue them.
So before you dive in, consider these 5 tips for planning your goals and hit the ground running with an organised plan of action.
1. Start Big Then Get Small
Before you can hone in on what you need to do to be productive, you must first identify your end goal. Otherwise, you risk wasting valuable time taking steps that could lead you further from your goals.
In this part of the goal planning process, there are 3 steps you must follow.
Step 1: Think "big picture".
Ask yourself what you want to do with your life and the things you’d want to achieve. This could be as near or far into the future as you’d like but perhaps start with your 5-year plan. What are the large-scale goals you want to achieve?
Not sure where to start? Try a vision exercise to create more clarity as to what you truly desire from life.
Step 2: Break it all down.
Now it’s time to start goal planning by breaking down the bigger picture into smaller segments until you’re left with an attractive picture book of your journey towards achieving your life goals.
One of the biggest planning tips for this step is to get SMART, which stands for:
- Specific: The more specific your goals are, the more likely you will achieve them. What specific tasks will you need to complete to reach your long-term goals?
- Measurable: Simultaneously, you must also be able to measure your progress and tell when a goal is achieved. What will you do to measure this?
- Achievable: Make sure your goals are actually achievable. 'Become the owner of a multimillion-pound company' sounds great on paper, but what if you 'write a business plan' or 'search for business grants' instead?
- Relevant: Ask yourself, is this the right goal for me? Goals such as 'get a job with great pay' sound ideal, but they could cause you to take a job you hate or don't have the skills for.
- Time-Sensitive: Several goals have time limits - such as submitting an application for a job. Even if your goal isn't time-sensitive, you should set deadlines to ensure you're achieving it.
Step 3: Get to work.
Once you have your plan, you can start working on it to achieve your goals.
2. Align Your Environment to Your Goals
As intentional as you may find yourself, you - along with everyone else - are limited to the environment you find yourself in at any given time. You are less likely to carry out a task if you’re surrounded by distracting, detrimental alternatives in your home, social and workspaces.
James Clear advocates eliminating certain environmental obstacles and creating easier paths to build better habits and reach our goals faster.
By aligning your environment with your specific goals, you stop being the victim and start being the architect.
3. Make it Simple
Probably one of the most straightforward tips for planning is to create a roadmap for completion that’s easy to follow. The simpler it is to complete an action and strike a task from your to-do list, the simpler it is to get closer to reaching your “big picture” goals.
This sort of self-evaluation boosts self-confidence and gives us the motivation to continue setting practical goals in all subsequent stages of life.
4. Invest in the Right Tools
When it comes to goal planning, intention and gumption are wasted without the right tools.
One of the most essential tips for planning your long-term goals is to be able to house all of your thoughts, ideas, changes and milestones as you start getting things done. A simple solution to this is to invest in a goal planner (aka. your personal development’s new best friend).
Mål Paper’s Daily Goal-Setter Planner does just that whilst enabling you to create a clear roadmap of the days, weeks and months of your journey towards achievement. It also allows you to check on your progress with a monthly review section and gives you plenty of space for essential note-taking.
5. Have a Plan B... or Even a Plan C
Sometimes, giving yourself realistic deadlines and being the most prepared goal planner on the planet won’t prepare you for when something goes wrong.
By thinking about the worst-case scenario problems that may occur along the way, you’ll be able to cushion any blows with alternative courses of action and even re-evaluate your goals along the way. You can remain on a steady trajectory if obstacles try to steer you off course.
And if this happens, don’t give up. When something goes wrong, just think of a way to churn it back into a win. Be ready for anything life throws at you - and your goals - with the right planning tips.
Our Quick Guide to Setting Goals And Achieving Them
Following these tips for planning your goals are bound to change the way you plan and execute your goals. All you need is a quiet space to think, your planner and pen and an engaged mind.
Don’t wait until the new year for your blank slate! The time for action is now.
And remember to have fun with it!