I tend to be a tad bit ambitious, so goal planning and achieving are big for me. I find goals are most successful when you create a plan for them. So, how do you create a goal plan?
Last week I shared the beginning of my 30 before 30 list, and part of that journey is posting about setting and achieving goals, living the life you want and dream about, and sharing how my personal journey is going. With that in mind, this week we’ll be talking about how to create a goal plan.
I find that goals are better achieved if you make a plan for them. Sure, you can set a goal and run after it. But as goals get more complex, it can be easy to undermine yourself if you don’t have a plan.
So, let’s talk about how to create your own goal plan!
Create a goal plan
Step 1: Make sure your goals are SMART goals
The key to creating goals that you can actually achieve is to make sure that your goals are SMART goals. What exactly are SMART goals? They are strategically planned goals that meet a certain set of criteria. Namely, they are:
Specific: Goals that are specific are clearly defined. That means there’s no vague “I want to be successful” goals, because that’s too vague to achieve. Having defined goals means you know exactly what you’re going for. No question about it.
Measurable: Goals need to be quantified. Saying “I want to make a ton of money” is not a measurable goal. But saying that you want a yearly salary of $100,000 is.
Attainable: Goals should be attainable—if you suck at math and your goal is to be a famed physicist, chances are it ain’t going to happen. While I truly believe you can do anything you set your mind on and are willing to work towards, your goals should be attainable.
Relevant: Likewise, goals also need to be relevant. If you aspire to be an actor, you should aim for goals that aline with your ultimate goal. Not, for example, something like attaining your law degree.
Time-bound: Finally, your goals should be time-bound. That means you have a reasonable deadline to achieve.
SMART goals are the best goals to create because they exist within parameters that are set out for your success. While you can absolutely achieve non-SMART goals, when it comes to your bigger life goals, they’ll be much easier to achieve.
Step 2: Set milestones
Milestones are important in the goal process. This is especially the case when it comes to larger goals that will take longer to achieve.
Milestones help you achieve goals within goals to keep you motivated on track. If your career goal is to become a lawyer, some milestones could be:
- Take the LSAT
- Submit your application to law school
- Get into law school
- Secure an internship
Milestones will ensure that you’re achieving while you’re aiming for something bigger. They are crucial to overall goal achievement.
Step 3: Determine your goal road map
Once you’ve set a SMART goal and etched out milestones that you need to hit to achieve your goal, it’s time to map out your goal path.
Road maps aren’t essential for all goals, but they are helpful when you’re headed for those bigger goals. A goal roadmap helps connect your milestones and your schedule to keep you on track.
Step 4: Make a schedule
The most successful goals are run on a schedule, this lends to the “time-bound” requirement for SMART goals.
Schedule your milestones so that you have an idea when you want to check something off your list. This will help you follow your road map and stay on track.
Step 7: Set a reward
Achieving goals is a big feat, which means that when you achieve a goal you need to celebrate and reward yourself.
Rewards don’t have to be huge and should be proportionate to your goal. That means if your goal is to lose weight you probably don’t want to have an ice cream cake as your celebratory piece.
Likewise, if your goal is to wake up at 6 am and get a head start on your day, the reward probably doesn’t need to be a two-week Mexican vacation.
Step 6: Start achieving
Once your overall goal plan is set up, it’s time to start working towards your goal. Goals take a while to achieve, especially the big ones, so it’s important to start working towards them soon but also realize that it will take some time.
When I’m dealing with bigger goals, I try to focus on doing one thing a day that helps me to achieve that goal. Even if it’s something tiny, it still helps me stay on track and keep my goals top-of-mind.
30 before 30 goal plan example: Finish a screenplay
I thought it would be most helpful if I came up with an example goal plan for you all. That way you can have an idea of what a plan looks like to me. But remember that you should modify your plans so they work for you.
Now, this isn’t a complex goal so the plan should be pretty simple. And, if I’m being honest, it could be considered a milestone to a larger goal. But alas we’ll start off with something simple and work our way up.
EXAMPLE GOAL PLAN
GOAL: Complete the first draft of a screenplay.
DEADLINE: 31 December 2019
START DATE: 2 September 2019
WEEKLY MILESTONE: Complete 5 pages
- 30 September 2019, 20 pages complete
- 31 October 2019, 40-45 pages complete
- 30 November 2019, 60-65 pages complete
- 15 December 2019, 75-80 pages complete
- 31 December 2019, 90-100 pages complete*
*Note that the average screenplay for a full-length feature film is 90 pages.
REWARD: Movie marathon!
Let’s take some time to quickly analyze my sample plan for creating a screenplay, so we can see all of the goal planning in action.
SMART goal checklist
- ✅ Specific—this plan is specifically for a draft.
- ✅ Measurable—this goal is measured in page numbers with a goal of approximately 90 pages.
- ✅ Attainable—I can absolutely achieve it.
- ✅ Relevant—it’s relevant to my career plans and fits on my 30 before 30 list.
- ✅ Time-bound—it has a deadline of December 31.
Further to the SMART checklist, I’ve set out appropriate milestones that are both meaningful and achievable, with check-in points set out. Lastly, I’ve set out a meaningful but appropriate reward for achieving it.
What tips and tricks do you use to create your goal plan? Share it in the comments below!