A goal without a plan is just a wish – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As we close on the end of the year – New Year’s resolutions become part of the daily banter. Even those who never set goals might unknowingly find themselves considering what they would love to change in 2015.

Statistics don’t fare well when comparing goals set vs those achieved. Unfortunately, knowing your goals doesn’t mean you are going to achieve them and neither does doing a simple goal setting exercise.

Whether you want to move away from something or move towards something new, you need a strategic personal plan to get you there. Think about it – in business and the professional world – planning is key to success. Why undermine your personal success by not planning for it either?

Whether you have one, two, even ten goals, follow these 5 easy steps to create your powerful personal plan for success in 2015.

1.Envision the future
Everything starts with a vision, then goals can be set. Find a quiet place, where you won’t be distracted and where you feel at ease, allow your imagination to flow.

Ask yourself questions similar to the ones below:
• If you were FULLY living your life, what would you be doing differently?
• Where would you like to see yourself at the end of 2015?
• What do you really, really want?
• What will you love to have MORE of?
• What will you love to have LESS of?

Take time to enjoy this part of the process. Don’t worry so much about ‘what you feel is possible or not’, that kills inspiration and creativity.

Ask yourself these questions, listen to your thoughts and write down everything that you would love. Give yourself permission to get excited about what you would love and where you would love to be at the end of 2015.

2.Which goals are going to fulfill this vision?
Now that you have a crystal clear idea of where you want to be, what do you need to achieve along the way to get you there? Or what goals do you need to achieve to bring this vision to life?

Write down your goals here, remember, they mustn’t only be smart, but smarter….

S – Specific – If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be specific how much you want to lose. This question answers the ‘who, what and why – the WH questions’. A general goal will be to lose weight, a specific goal is to lose 10kg

M – Measurable – Is your goal easily measurable? How will you know once you have reached your goal? Make it measurable, it is easy to measure weight loss goals, but more challenging to measure increasing your confidence.

A – Attainable – Make it attainable – what resources, skills or mindset do you need to have in order to achieve this? What skills and habits do you need to develop to more easily achieve your goals? Perhaps you need to give up a certain way to ‘thinking’ to attain your goals or ‘take on a new way of thinking’. Your mindset is just as import as the actions you take.

R – Realistic – Only you know how ‘realistic’ or how ‘unrealistic’ your goals are. Don’t set goals that are too easy to reach, as you will lack the impetus to take action. Setting your goals unrealistically high will also leave you lacking the motivation. Think about what is easy for you to do, then what is EXTREMELY challenging and set yourself something in between those two.

T – Timely – When do you want to reach your goal and what are the milestones? Leaving a goal without a time frame doesn’t make sense. You are working towards something, by when do you want to be there?

E – Evaluate – Make your goals as measurable as possible to not only evaluate your progress, but measure your success as well.

R – Reward – How will you reward yourself once you achieve your goal? If you achieve what you have worked so hard for, you undoubtedly deserve a huge reward. Give yourself a holiday, a new piece of clothing or something else that will be amazing for you to treat yourself too.

Discover 7 easy ways to help you achieve your goals here

3. What are the best strategies to achieve your goals?
There are a few ways that you can achieve your goals, often you can get to the same place with a few different strategies. Let’s say one of your goals is to double your income by the end of the year, or to double your savings.

Write down a few different ways that you could do that. Again, this is where you let your imagination flow and just brain dump any ideas that come to your mind. Try to challenge yourself to come up with at least 3 different strategies for each goal. If you have more, of course, the more the better.

4. Choose the best strategy for you
Each strategy will come with a different set of challenges, resources required, and action. When you can see the different options all together in front of you , with a clear indication of what each one involves, you can make a much better decision as to which strategy you want to deploy.

Decide on the  criteria you will use to rate the strategies. For example, you can rate them on how easy or difficult it is to carry out this strategy, how much time is involved in each, and how motivating each strategy is for example. Rate each strategy from 0-10 accordingly.

Once you have completed this exercise, looking at all your options and how you feel about each one, select the one strategy you want to use to achieve your goal.

5. Create your plan
This is the last stage where everything comes together. You have your goal stated clearly and you have the best strategy to reach it.

What milestones will you need to reach to get you to your end goal?
It is more motivating when you set yourself smaller milestones along the way and this also keeps you on track to achieve your goal. Setting bi-monthly milestones seems to work the best for most people.
What actions will you need to take?

If your goal is to write a book or to lose weight, get clear on the actions you will need to take beforehand. Depending on your goal, your actions might be sequential (like writing a book) or recurring (like going to gym). You need to be clear on what you will be doing, however obvious it might seem.

What are your possible challenges and how will you overcome them?

If reaching your goal was so easy, you would already be there. What is holding you back and what potential obstacles could come up along the way? Don’t only think about extrinsic obstacles, but also intrinsic ones too. Write down all the challenges that you can think of.

So, what can you do to overcome them? What will you do when you are faced with the challenge to keep yourself moving forward? This is where most individuals give the least attention, but get stuck the most when carrying out their goals; understandably.

The Reward
If you followed the SMARTER guidelines when goal setting, you will already be clear on the reward you will give yourself for achieving your goal. If you didn’t follow these guidelines, decide how you would like to reward yourself for your successes now.

How would you love to treat yourself for your efforts? Don’t hold back here. Think about it, if you really achieved what you wanted, what would make it twice as exciting for you to do that?

This gives added motivation, because not only are you reaching your goal, but you have an additional reward for your effort.

Everything is achievable, if you have a super strategic plan to get you there!!

To your Success

Kirstin ODonovan


Print out your Personal Strategic Plan here

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