In our post on how to set and accomplish your biggest goals, we broke down and shared an entire goal setting guide you can use to not only set, but also accomplish your biggest goals.
In this post, I want to focus on just 1 part of that guide: how to put a plan in place for your SMART goals.
There are 4 things that make up your plan to accomplishing your SMART goals – anyone can put a plan in place for their SMART goals if they do these 4 things.
The real test is…
Once you have a plan in place, will you take action and actually DO THE WORK to make it happen?
There have been times throughout my life where I couldn’t honestly answer “HECK YES!” to this question.
Taking action means a lot more than just “taking action”; along with taking action comes great responsibility because you’re also:
- Taking a risk;
- Putting yourself out there;
- Likely getting outside of your comfort zone;
- Giving yourself the potential of failing; and
- Giving yourself the potential of succeeding.
Taking action means you’re ALL IN.
Saying “Heck Yes!” to ACTION
But here’s the thing: over the past couple of years – since becoming an entrepreneur – I’ve learned that in order to succeed, we have to be able to say HECK YES! to taking action, knowing all along that it means we’re taking on great responsibility.
You have to believe that no matter what the outcome, you can go ALL IN on the plan you’ve created, and as a result, you will accomplish your SMART goals.
If you cannot believe this, then you can stop reading this post right now, because a plan that is created but not executed – like a goal that is not SMART – means nothing.
“Our beliefs are like unquestioned commands, telling us how things are, what’s possible and impossible and what we can and can not do. They shape every action, every thought and every feeling that we experience. As a result, changing our belief systems is central to making any real and lasting change in our lives.” ~ Anthony Robbins
If you said “HECK YES! – I not only want to put a plan in place to accomplish my SMART goals, but I also believe I can – and will – go ALL IN on executing that plan!“, then read on, my goal-setting friends!
The 4 Things that make up your plan
1. Set SMART goals
If it’s not SMART, then putting a plan in place will be impossible; accomplishing your goal is not attainable without it being measurable.
Remember, once you have a goal in mind, put it to the test: is it SMART?
Until you’ve created a SMART goal, do not move on.
For reference on how to turn a regular old goal into one that’s SMART, see this post where I dive into detail on the exact steps you can take to do this.
2. Set micro-goals
Goals are not accomplished by starting at Point A and then jumping to Point Z (your goal). Goals are accomplished through a series of smaller achievements and milestones being consistently met.
Once you’ve set your micro-goals, you’ll have a clear picture of exactly what needs to happen at Point B, Point C, and so on in order to accomplish your bigger goal.
But how exactly do you figure out what these micro-goals should be?
How do you come up with the various steps you need to take to accomplish your goal if… you’re not really sure how to actually accomplish your goal?
Here’s a set of 3 recommendations I have to help you build your list of micro-goals.
3 Ways to set your micro-goals
1. Just start writing (choose your focus)
I remember when I started my first business, Kate’s Copy, and was wondering what in the heck I was actually going to have to do in order to accomplish this big, fat, hairy (and scary) goal of, well, starting my own business.
Since I honestly had NO CLUE where to start, I just started writing.
I literally took out a piece of paper and started writing out the things I did know. In focusing on what I did know, I was able to make progress – albeit small – versus just sitting and thinking about all the things I didn’t know, and making ZERO progress at all.
My list was crazy – no rhyme, reason, or order. It looked something like this:
- Payment processor
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Coach / mentor
See – there are a lot of broad, somewhat unclear words / tasks on my list, but that’s not what mattered. What mattered is that I had some place to start.
Now that I have this list, I can choose my first step (and my second, third, fourth, etc).
My first step, and what I would focus on accomplishing first, was creating my website.
Then, with all of the other words / things I had written down, I chose what I thought was the best logical order of steps to help get me to my overall goal of starting my own business.
Once I had put my steps and tasks in some type of logical order, I started doing research on my FIRST STEP.
2. Do research
Now that you have your first step / focus, start doing some research.
When doing research, ask yourself any and every question that comes to mind.
For me, I thought of things like:
- What does every website need?
- What should I title my pages?
- What should my URL be?
- Where can I buy a URL, and how do I actually “host” that URL?
- What’s WordPress – and why is there a .com and a .org?
Then, I googled EVERYTHING. I started doing research to find resources and posts that were created to answer the very questions I had about creating my website.
I found a lot of content, and so in order to curb overwhelm, I stuck to the resources that were MOST helpful for me. If I found a site that was really helpful when it came to figuring out what every website needs, then I would also search directly on that site what my individual pages should include / look like.
If you find a resource that’s helpful, then get as much information from that one source as possible. That way you won’t be throwing yourself back into the w w w world every single time.
3. Ask others who have already done it & create order
If you’ve made your list, and you’ve started doing research to figure out how to answer each of your questions, then you’ve likely started coming across things you didn’t think about before. So just in doing 1 and 2, you’ve already added to your list of micro-goals.
Don’t let these things distract you; instead, add them to your running list of steps you need to take in order to accomplish your bigger goal (in my example, that was creating my website).
Once you feel you have a pretty solid list, and you’ve done your research to figure out how you can accomplish each of those steps, reach out to others who you know, who have already done what you’re trying to do.
Then, just ask them for help. Maybe they can review your website for you and provide feedback after you have your “first draft” ready. Or maybe if you’re feeling really stuck on what your next step should be, they’ll have some insights that will help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support, especially if it’s from someone who has already done what it is you’re trying to do.
By this time, all that’s left to do is create order. Through these 3 steps you’ve come up with a list of things that need to be accomplished in order for you to accomplish your goal; each of those things represents one of your ‘micro-goals’ you need to hit.
3. Set review periods (reflect)
Just like in the 5 steps of reflection we used to set our goals, this is also an integral part of accomplishing our goals.
Without looking back at what’s working well for us and what’s not well working for us, we’ll never be able to double down on the positive or correct course to avoid the negative as necessary.
Your review periods should be a few weeks apart (depending on your overall deadline or how long you’re giving yourself to accomplish your goal), and should consist of you reviewing:
- What’s working
- What’s not working
- Lessons learned to help you move forward most effectively & efficiently
4. Hold yourself accountable
Have you ever told yourself you’re going to do something by the end of the day – or the week – and then the time comes and you haven’t done it yet?
This happens because we don’t have any accountability in place – we don’t have someone checking in with us to make sure we’re doing what we said we were going to do.
YOU CAN be your own accountability partner, but you have to be consistent about it: SCHEDULE IT & STICK TO IT!
Benjamin Franklin once said,
By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.
Don’t let it slide to another day; don’t wait until you “have more time next week”.
Alright, now that you know how to put a plan in place for your SMART goals – including specifics on how to set your micro-goals – the sky is the limit!
Ready to do it all in just 100 days? Head over to TheFreedomJournal.com, grab your own copy of The Freedom Journal, and get ready to accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!