So, do you want to hit your New Year’s resolutions this year? Hitting long term goals can be a challenge and what I’m about to share doesn’t make it any less challenging. What it does do is make it possible to hit your goals.
Day-after-day I read articles, watch videos, and browse blog posts about setting and achieving goals and time-after-time they’re missing a key ingredient. Action plans. A goal without a plan of action is a wish.
If You Want to Actually Hit Your New Year’s Resolutions
I know, I know you put a lot of thought and work into your New Years resolution so it’s not a wish, but without a plan of action it’s nothing more than something you hope to do. Have I made my point?
I blame some of the lack of action plans in goal setting on SMART goals. Nothing wrong with any of it, specific, measurable, achievable, results focused, and time-bound, it’s all good, except where’s the plan to hit the goal? How will it be reached?
“Here’s an example I found on a SMART goal tutorial. A poorly written sales goal would be to set a goal to sign up more customers, I agree. However, the example of a SMART goal was to set the goal of adding two additional customers per month. That’s not a well-planned goal; it’s a wish. What’s missing is how. For example, in this scenario, it might be to cold call five new prospects per day and set two appointments per week. And then follow up these activities with training and tools to achieve the goal, such as the manager travel with the salesperson to appointments, the manager conducts cold call training once per week, and talks with each salesperson about their activities daily.” — Why SMART Goals Are Dumb.
Here’s one I read today about writing non-fiction books, “Instead of a vague goal like wanting to inspire, without a realistic way to measure the results of inspiration, a SMART author goal might sound something like, “I want to sell X copies and receive X amount of reviews within 30 days.” — How to Plan Your Non-Fiction Book in 5 Steps
Okay, that’s a wish. How will the author sell X copies and receive X amount of reviews? What’s the action plan? I’ve sold more than 5,000 copies of my first non-fiction book and have over 150 reviews. I didn’t hope for them. I took action and not every action worked so I had to continue to make action plans.
Here’s an Example
I made resolutions and goals with good intentions on three things I wanted to achieve, but I never had an action plan. Although I knew what I wanted to do, and when I wanted to get it done, I never got close until I made an action plan. “I committed to three things I wanted to do. I call my plan 90. It’s 30 minutes a day on each of the three, five days a week. It’s how I stopped putting off what I wanted to do. Could it work for you?” — How I Stopped Putting Off What I Wanted to Do.
One of the three things I’d been putting off was writing fiction. I had a couple of stories halfway completed that I started in 2008. They were collecting dust in a folder on my laptop. My action plan was 30 minutes a day 5 days a week writing and editing short fiction. Occasionally I’d miss a day and when I did, I made it up on the weekend. One year and one month after I started I published a 40 story, 41,000 word book of short fiction, Terrible Smiles: Short Fiction with a Twist.
I’m not bragging, to the contrary. I began this goal in 2008. I completed it in 2020. So, I failed for 12 years. For 12 years I knew I wanted to write short fiction. I knew what I wanted to write, I had ideas, I was motivated but what I didn’t have was a plan of action. It’s that simple and that hard. This wasn’t the first time I’d not reached a resolution due to lack of planning. I Failed My New Year’s Resolution and So Can You! (Originally published in 2012).
So, look at your New Year’s resolutions. Do you have an action plan that will make it happen or only what and when? What is your how?
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