This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please check out my disclosure policy for more info.
Among many other things, I am a collector of words. I love the different ways that people speak, and I find it fascinating how each person can interpret the words of others differently. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told something by one person and it didn’t click until it was said differently by someone else. Because I am always finding quotes that resonate with me in different ways, I thought it would be fun to start a Quote of the Week series.
Quote of the Week
It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.Scott Belsky
I’m currently at a point where I’m trying to make some major life changes. I was talking about this with someone the other day, and they told me, “we have a plan, now let’s make it happen.” This made me laugh because it is something that I’ve heard before…many times. Right after that conversation, I saw this quote from Scott Belsky in a magazine, and whether it’s a sign from the Universe or just a simple coincidence, it stuck with me.
I am an excellent goal setter and a chronic planner, but a plan is nothing without action. More often than not, we fail to take action out of fear, but the best way to fight fear happens to be with action. Following the words of Scott Belsky, I decided to sit down and create an action plan to make my idea happens.
Creating an Action Plan
Creating an action plan is a great way to make big goals feel tangible and keep you on track for achieving them. I’ve broken down the process I use to create an action plan. You can also grab my FREE action plan checklist and worksheet below.
1. Set detailed goals with a realistic deadline.
Make sure each goal you set is detailed and comes with a realistic deadline. Creating a deadline for yourself forces you to think about the actions you will need to take to accomplish that goal and avoid any delays.
I start by brainstorming my goals on paper at the beginning of each month. I will come up with 2-4 things that I want to achieve that month, whether they are personal or within my business, and then set the deadlines based on how much time I think those tasks are going to require. Since I like things to feel fluid with a bit of structure, I choose to set monthly goals. You can also do this yearly and/or quarterly. I will also create larger goals as they come to mind, and use the same process.
I also keep in mind things that are going on in my life at that time that may limit the amount of time I have to work on those goals. I’ve fallen into the trap many times of trying to achieve things that just weren’t possible for me at that time. Everyone is different, and you shouldn’t set your deadlines based on what others have done. Challenge yourself, yes, but be realistic. Making sure your goals are realistic for you and your life is key to helping you achieve them.
2. Break your goals into small achievable milestones.
When I was in high school, I remember that stretch of time between spring break and summer break feeling like it took forever. I wasn’t much of a fan of school at the time (though I love it now), and I couldn’t wait to have a couple months off. To make the wait between April and June feel a bit more bearable, I would break the time into small segments. Weekends became milestones that I was excited to hit, and fives days is much easier to get through than two months.
This is the same mindset I use in my action plan. By taking large goals and breaking them into smaller milestones, the goal feels more achievable and I am less likely to feel overwhelmed and procrastinate. I then break those milestones down into small steps and prioritize them based on the amount of impact they will have.
3. Schedule your tasks and check in with yourself daily.
It’s important to get your steps and milestones down on a calendar or planner once you’ve figured them out, and check-in with your self daily.
I choose to do my brainstorming by hand because I love the creative flow that happens with pen and paper. After I’ve completed brainstorming, I then transfer all of my tasks to my digital project management tool. I use Trello with the Planyway powerup to keep track of my goals and schedule out tasks. Rhonda Melogy has some great Trello templates and does a wonderful job showing you how to use them.
Since I use time blocking to schedule my days, I write up all of my goals into the specified card on my Trello board. Then, I open my calendar and plug in the tasks need to meet those goals into the empty space. Since my days change from week to week, I like that Trello acts as a digital hub where I can collect everything I need and easy change things as needed.
The most important part of creating an action plan is to keep at it. Create a routine and complete those prioritized tasks, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s harder to restart than it is to keep going.