This article was co-authored by Leah Morris. Leah Morris is a Life and Relationship Transition coach and the owner of Life Remade, a holistic personal coaching service. With over three years as a professional coach, she specializes in guiding people as they move through both short-term and long-term life transitions. Leah holds a BA in Organizational Communication from California State University, Chico and is a certified Transformational Life Coach through the Southwest Institute for Healing Arts.
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Throughout your life you may say many things that you really want to act on. Whether you say something large about how you want to help the homeless in your community or you simply say you want to do better in school, it might be overwhelming to act to realize your stated goal. This is because whatever the scope of your statement, it is always difficult to put words into action to meet a concrete end. However, by establishing goals, creating a plan, and implementing your plan, you’ll be much more prepared to put words into action.
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Establishing Goals Download Article
- 1List your goals. While you may have a broad idea of what you want to put into action, you need to take the time to formally list your goals. By listing your goals, you’ll provide yourself with the opportunity to think about them and to articulate them. When you list your goals:
- Write them in concise language. For example, if you want to help disadvantaged people, write on your list "I will help homeless people this year."
- Include specifics in your list. For instance, commit that you’ll spend 10 hours a week helping homeless people. In addition, try to express where – like a homeless shelter.XResearch source
- Choose goals that align with your values, not goals that you think will help you earn the respect or admiration of others.XExpert SourceLeah Morris
Life CoachExpert Interview. 19 June 2020.
- 2Determine the time and resources you have available. After creating your list, you need to determine if you have what it takes to achieve your goals. Without the proper resources, you'll fail to turn your words into action.
- Do you have the time to achieve your goal? For instance, consider if you have the time to get all As in school while maintaining a commitment to extracurricular activities like tennis and swimming.
- Do you have the money needed to achieve your goal? For example, consider if you or your organization have the money it takes to offer subsidized spaying and neutering for all dogs in your town.
- Do you have the help you need to achieve your goal? For instance, if you want to clean up trash along a local highway over the course of a weekend, can you actually do this yourself, or do you need the help of others?
- 3Refocus on a smaller goal, if you need. After thinking about the time and resources you have available, you may need to narrow the scope of your goal. After refocusing, you'll likely discover that your goal is much more attainable than before.
- Narrow the geographical scope of your goals. For instance, if you want to end homeless dog and cat euthanization in your community, think about your town instead of the entire county.
- Focus on impact rather than ideal. While it might seem great to eliminate poverty in your community, helping a handful of struggling people might be an enormous success for both you and them.
- Remember, refocusing your goal does not mean you are lowering your expectations or reneging on your stated commitment.XResearch source
- 4Set priorities. After setting realistic goals, you should prioritize them so that you know which are most important for you. Without setting priorities, you may be overwhelmed by the scope of your goals.
- Use a numeric scale to rank your overall list of goals. For example, if you have 10 goals, apply 1 to your top priority and 10 to your lowest priority.
- Think about which goals need to be achieved to aid in the completion of other goals. For example, if you want to promote social justice in your community, you may rank your goal of promoting awareness as top. This could help you recruit others in your broader effort.XResearch source
Part 2Part 2 of 3:Creating a Plan Download Article
- 1Establish a timeline. Once you know your goals and priorities, you can begin the work of setting a timeline for putting your words into action. Without a timeline, you won’t have any idea of the progress you’re making.
- Set up important milestones. For instance, if you plan to get an A in your College Algebra class, make sure you are doing well on quizzes and tests.
- Set a definitive date to achieve your plan. For example, if you plan to clean up trash along a local river, give yourself an end date.
- 2Break your goals down into steps. At the center of your plan should be a step-by-step breakdown of how you are going to put your words into action. By breaking your plan down into small steps, you not only make your plan easier to achieve, but you’ll be able to grasp it in easy-to-understand terms.
- Try to articulate, visualize, or map out your overall goal. If you’ve promised to be a better older sibling, break this down to definable steps you can take to do so. For instance, think about helping your little sibling with homework, with sports, and by giving them general advice.
- If your goal is to be nicer to friends and family, re-conceptualize your goal as being nicer to individual people. This way, each interaction will be an important step toward completing your overall goal.
- 3Create a schedule. After breaking your plan down into steps, you need to create a schedule so you can reserve time to carry it out. Without a schedule, your plan will just be a plan rather than a blueprint for action.
- Get a day planner and reserve different days and time slots for non-goal related obligations.
- Divide the remainder of your time up for goal-related obligations. Make sure to map out your schedule for as much time as you think you'll need to meet your goal. For example, if you have a month-long timeline for success, map out your entire month.
- Pencil in your major milestones. For example if your plan has you cleaning up a local stream over the course of a month, plan to clean up 25% of it every week.
- Reserve blocks every day or every week to meet your milestones.XResearch source
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Implementing Your Plan Download Article
- 1Stay focused. Throughout the process of implanting your plan, you need to stay focused on your overall goals. Without staying focused, you’ll likely lose motivation and may lose sight of your larger objective. In the end, you’ll fail to put your words into action.
- Print off your list of goals and post them in places you can see them.
- Spend time every day or every week reflecting on why you wanted to put your words into action.
- 2Set time aside for your obligations. Make sure you hold to your plan, schedule, and use whatever time you need to put your words into action. Without guarding the time you've set aside to achieve your goal, you won't ever achieve it.
- Don't deviate from your schedule. For example, if you’ve carved out an hour every afternoon to volunteer at the local animal shelter, don’t take on other responsibilities that might eat into that time.
- Tell others you're committed to your goal and you can't blow off your obligation. For example, if your friends ask you to join them for a movie when you're supposed to be studying for a test, say "I'd love to go but I'm committed to acing the next physics test."XResearch source
- 3Be persistent. Perhaps the most important part of putting words into action is that you need to persevere and put forth effort even when you meet challenges. This is important, as you’ll likely encounter many unexpected challenges.
- Be positive and tell yourself that you can achieve your overall goal – especially considering the preparation you’ve put into creating a plan.
- Don't let a setback or failure slow you down. In the end, earning a D on one math quiz won't necessarily stop you from getting into your top pick of colleges.
- Redouble your efforts when you experience a setback. For example, study extra hard for the next quiz or test if you don't perform as well as you wanted to.XResearch source
- 4Communicate with others. When it comes to putting your words into action, you’ll have to communicate with people who support you as you implement your plan. Without properly communicating with people, you won’t be able to organize your effort, draw on additional resources, or gain feedback about your progress.
- Hold periodic meetings with friends and allies about your goals, your plan, and your progress. Use the opportunity to reflect on whether you are successfully implementing your plan.
- Use others not involved in your project as a sounding board for ideas. For example, explain to them what you’re trying to achieve, how you’re going about achieving it, and see what they think about your success so far.
- 5Remove distractions. Don't let day-to-day distractions stop you from achieving your goal. By limiting distractions, you'll be able to dedicate more energy into carrying out your plan.
- Don't mix fun and your goal-related obligations unless it helps you achieve it. For example, if some friends offer to kayak down a local river to help you clean it up, don't take them up on it unless you know they'll actually help.
- Turn off electronics that may distract you. In the end, the TV or your cell phone might slow you down or distract you from your higher purpose.XResearch source
- ↑Leah Morris. Life Coach. Expert Interview. 19 June 2020.