5 Elements to Include in your action plan to achieve your goals
With this year making a rapid exit, many of us are in a state of reflection and analysis; reviewing the major events of the last 12 months; learning the important lessons of our past. I for one, have built a ritual around this process, spending most early December mornings revisiting and journaling. Before we begin the goal setting process for the next year, it is important to revisit the ghosts of goals past and unfulfilled. Why did those goals not manifest? Did I lose momentum? Did I not have the right support structure? Were these the right goals for me to begin with? Were they S.M.A.R.T goals?
One of the main reasons career goals go unachieved pretty early, is not having the right action plan to adequately support these goals. Having a robust plan, with all the right elements is key. If you are in the process of creating a plan, here are some of the elements to consider:
Make sure the action steps if completed, will lead to success.
Are the action steps in support of the goals, or are they just steps you feel you should be taking? Do you have the right milestones? I have seen many people create action plans that include just the steps they enjoy taking, but not the necessary steps for the goals they say they want. Challenge the status quo. Also, are you creating a hundred action steps, when there are really only five that will get you there?
Use the appropriate planning tool.
Many of us are still scribbling down our goals and plans on scraps of paper. With the plethora of available apps and planners at our fingertips, find the one that works for you. Nothing wrong with pen and paper, but you want to make sure that your goals and action plans are readily accessible and easy to amend as changes occur. Many of us have project management directly or indirectly embedded in our daily job activities. Bring those same skills and tools to your personal career planning process.
Do not forget to account for resources.
Your action plan is incomplete if it does not account for the resources needed such as time, people support, or financial investments required to get you there. If you need to save money to take a certain course, hire a coach, or attend a conference, make sure these elements are included in your plan. Be sure to allocate these resources to each single step of your plan.
Have a daily or weekly task list.
Having the right action plan means that the steps included have been broken down into actionable tasks to be completed daily or weekly. Let’s assume your career goal is to find your new ideal job in the upcoming year. You want to include specific daily or weekly tasks be completed. For instance, research 5 companies in my field this week; or reach out to 3 LinkedIn contacts on January 15th, 2018. Having specific actions for each day keeps the momentum going, even when the initial “goal-setting high” has worn off and you do not feel motivated. This is also a great time management tip, allowing you to prioritize your daily actions based on their correlation with your stated goals.
Does your plan include just plan A or do you also have plan B-Z? Most corporations are ever changing and so your plan can quickly become obsolete at any point. Do you have alternate routes to getting to your destination?
While goal setting is important, action planning is even more crucial to achieving those goals. Make the time to develop a comprehensive plan before the start of the new year. This allows you to hit the ground running towards a successful career in the upcoming year.
Intelle is a career coaching service for Black, Millennial women in Corporate America. To learn more, or get some support around achieving your career goals, visit www.intelle.us to schedule a free consultation.