August 19th, 2021 | Updated on June 27th, 2022
Do you set goals but find it hard to feel like you are making progress towards them? Do you feel like you work hard but don’t get the results you would like? Learn how to organize your goals to feel like you are moving towards them consistently.
A phrase says: “The difference between a dream and a goal is a date.” And I would add: “And an action plan because without taking action, nothing is achieved.”
We can be very ambitious and set many goals in life, but those desires will be useless if we do not organize and plan to bring them to reality. So, forget about endless to-do lists that get you nowhere, and learn how to plan your goals to get the results you are looking for.
Review Your Priorities
To start putting an order in your life, the first thing you have to do is to review your priorities. If you don’t know what is essential to you, how will you set goals that motivate you?
For this, I recommend the wheel of life exercise, which evaluates each area of your life to find areas for improvement and set goals to move forward.
Set Intermediate Goals
We often set goals far away in time, and we do not even know where to start taking action, and it is normal. I want to live in a house with sea views and travel several months a year with my family.
It’s a very excellent long-term vision, but where do you start? We have to bring to the present those goals far away in time and make them achievable to chop them up.
So, you start visualizing how you want your life to be in, for example, 10 years, and then you ask yourself, to achieve that:
- Where do I have to be in 5 years?
- Where do I have to be in 1 year to get closer to the goal of 5 years?
- And in 1 month?
- What should I have achieved in 1 month to get closer to my goal for the year?
- And today?
- What should I do today to achieve my goal for the month?
As you can see, it’s about not leaving things to chance and planning so that your tasks each day, each week, each month will gradually bring you closer to your goals.
Create An Action Plan Of Tasks
Once you are clear about the intermediate goals, for example, the one-month goal, let’s now make the action plan to achieve it.
Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete to achieve your goal, and try to be as detailed as possible.
In the beginning, you may find it difficult, and you may not know all the things needed to complete the goal in advance. It’s okay, it’s normal, and new items will appear, and you will add them as you go along.
It’s a matter of practice. And if at some point you find it hard to take action and you start to procrastinate, you may have to divide the tasks into more specific and simple activities.
Analyze And Delegate Tasks
Now that you can see the entire project from start to finish, analyze each task in more detail. Does it have a deadline? Are there any steps that you can leave out and still accomplish your goal? What tasks could you delegate to someone else? Do you need other resources to achieve them?
Keep in mind that one of the most effective ways to move forward on any project is to delegate some of those tasks, as it will allow you to go faster and thus be more productive.
When I do some study research and need advice or help with some part of it, or someone to grade my essay with an objective eye, I always ask for help.
And don’t forget to put all your actions on a calendar and make a daily plan of tasks.
Review Your Action Plan
And finally, to keep your projects moving towards the result, towards your goal, you have to do weekly reviews to see the tasks completed and plan what following tasks you will do next week.
When you feel that things are not going well, find a way to stay motivated. It’s something that seems obvious, but in most cases, the plan doesn’t fail; you’re the one giving up because you’re not working regularly and consistently, with a goal in mind.
So, use these reviews to analyze possible blocking points, tasks that you are procrastinating, don’t know how to do or don’t have the right resources, and look for solutions to keep moving forward.
“Your future is created by the actions you take today, not tomorrow.” In other words, the most important part of the plan is to execute it, to take steps every day towards what you want to achieve. But it’s effortless to lose your way in the chaos of the day-to-day.
So, every time you are doing something, ask yourself: Does this task, this activity, bring me closer to my goals? If it gets you closer, great. And if it doesn’t get you closer, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.