Action planning


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

We all know (don’t we?) that having a goal helps motivation and that having a plan helps break down those goals into manageable tasks. If you are not sure about writing down your goals and setting a plan then Forbes reports on a study carried out by the Harvard MBA program on goal setting. The students were asked if they had clear, written goals for the future.

3% had written goals and plans to accomplish them

13% of them had goals but hadn’t written them down anywhere

84% had no goals at all

Thinking about those groups of people, which group would you fit into?

Ten years later, the same group of students were re-interviewed and the study found that:

The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84%who had no goals, however, the 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97% of the class combined. Astonishing.

The conclusion? writing down your goals and plans helps you succeed.

So what is the best way to record your goals? 

I would say it’s the best way for you. I know, it’s unhelpful. Think about it though, if you put together a giant Excel spreadsheet and then never look at it again, what’s the point of that? Think about how you work best. Are you visual? In which case a mind map or mood board.

Perhaps you prefer words in which case a well thought out document might be in order? If learn best through touch or feel you might benefit from physically writing your plan or creating a space in which you can move around and change things as you go.

There is some debate as to whether you should tell people your plans and if that keeps you accountable or not, again, I would say it’s a personal choice.

There are some key points however you go about setting your goals and creating a plan:

Be clear (this might take some time). Coaching or mentoring can help SMART goals can be useful but tend to focus on the ‘what’ not the ‘how’. They can be very effective depending on the person – have a play around. The format is not that important so don’t worry if you can’t decide what works best for you. Make them meaningful to you

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