When the time comes where you get interested in setting goals for yourself, you might start to wonder whether goals require a strategic plan or not.
Should you sit down a plan or is that a waste of time?
I was actually wondering this myself, because the moment you sit down to create a master plan for your goals, a few things cross your mind:
- Right, but things never go according to plan. Doesn’t that make this pointless?
- A plan means less freedom, and I want that freedom to grow and make mistakes
- I literally know nothing about what I’m doing…so how could I make a plan?
- What if things derail? Do I make another plan? Or just continue willy nilly? Or…fail?
These are all valid questions, but I’m about to show you what I’ve gathered in a few hours of research about whether or not goals are to be accomplished with a strategic plan of action.
The answer: yes, goals are to be accomplished with a strategic plan because a master plan of action houses a roadmap to your success, possible pitfalls, as well as several contingency plans if things don’t go as originally thought. Even though plans are not foolproof, they’re still your best bet for success when it comes to achieving goals. Results never come at random.
How does a strategic plan help you accomplish your goals?
A strategic plan is important for your goals because it eliminates confusion, helps you prioritize, keeps you on track and on schedule, helps you gather data not to mention a host of other things.
What do strategic plans do for goals?
- Eliminate confusion
- Provide a timeline and schedule that can be followed to faster results
- Offers you contingency plans when things go in a different direction
- Holds you accountable and tosses your excuses out the window
- Changes your identity – you’re now someone who plans to do something rather than someone who’s considering it
- Shows you opportunities to excel
- Illuminates for you the times when you could accidentally go backwards instead
When you first create your strategic plan for accomplishing your goals, you start with an intention. An intention is nothing but a decision you’ve made. You intend to do something. If someone hears you say that you intend to do a thing, they’ve automatically decided for themselves that you’re gonna do it, and you should feel the same way.
- An intention is a decision to do something
After you set your intention, you brainstorm a bunch of possibilities that will help you accomplish this intention. Once you’ve got 3-5 of those, you isolate the best goal for the job, because one will be superior to others. One will get you where you want to go faster and smarter than the rest.
At this point, it’s time for you to decide on your progress speed. This depends on the effort you plan on putting into your goal and how fast you want it to be accomplished. Personally, I’m always for things getting done as quickly as they can be done.
This part of your plan/strategy will be the schedule. You look at the next year of your life (no reason to go any farther than this) and plan out the next 12 months. This gives you monthly benchmarks, weekly objectives and a daily to do list.
Once you know WHAT needs done, it’s time to decide what order to do it in. Each week you have an objective to accomplish.
It might be to finish the paperwork you need to send in so that the government can set up your business for you with all the permits and permissions you require.
It’s important for you to prioritize your daily tasks because if you don’t you end up accomplishing things that really offer little value in comparison to tasks that offer high value.
Like walking your dog….get your paper work finished before. Walking your dog is important, but not as important as working on your business, which is the income that feeds the dog in the first place.
A strategic plan is necessary and helps you accomplish your goals because it keeps you in line, and has you worrying about what NEEDS to be worried about, and nothing else. Otherwise, you have to rely on your memory for everything…not recommended.
What happens to your goal if you decide not to use a plan?
It’s possible that you’re a genius and can keep the best possible means for accomplishing your goals inside your brain at all times and never forget.
If that’s the case, nothing would happen, other than you accomplishing your goal with record speed.
However, if you’re a regular human, you really wanna have things written down, and if you’re gonna write them down, you might as well create a plan.
Because a plan is nothing but what needs done, written down in an order that helps you get better results.
If you decide not to use a strategy for accomplishing your goals, you’re leaving the results up to the wind. Things might land on the table as they should, or they might land in a complete mess.
What happens when things change – scrap the plan?
Even if things change, it’s still better to have a plan. If your goal, or your approach needs to change for some reason, you’re not worse off having a plan than you would be not having one.
That being said, even though you know things might change, that can be included in your plan by having 3 plans within one plan.
You create a best possible, worst possible, and most probably contingency plans within your larger plan.
Actually, when it comes to creating a strategic action plan for your goals, its a smart strategy to create three.
When things change, you pivot, meaning you create a new, more appropriate plan for getting the same results you wanted in the first place.
What kind of goals require plans?
All goes well with a plan. In fact, just because a goal is small doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a plan, it just means the damage done if things go wrong (from not having a plan) are less significant.
We all know that things go better with a plan, because a plan primes your mind for success. You want the outcome to look a certain way, so you draw the outcome out (make a plan) and can see your starting point, activity in the middle, and result at the end.
Even something like going to the grocery store has a plan – we call it a shopping list.
If you’re someone like me, you create that shopping list relative to the position of the item in the store, so you can make one loop from left to right and travel in one direction, instead of looping around the store and wasting time.
What’s the outcome? Every shopping trip lasts 20 mins or less for me, because of a plan. That’s the result I want.
If you think your goal could benefit from getting better results – use a plan. Sometimes actions so small that they cannot be considered goals do not require a plan (going to the bathroom).
A series of actions like going to the grocery store do not necessarily require a plan, but are made more efficient with one. Losing weight and sculpting the physique of your dreams definitely requires a plan.
How do you create a plan for your goals?
The easiest way to get a plan that you know is going to work for your goals is to buy one that’s premade for you.
The formula for achieving goals has already been figured out by success coaches who teach and train some of the world’s highest performers.
So when you apply that formula to a goal you’ve got…what do you think happens?
That being said, a simplified formula can work too if you’re not interested in a proven and tested one.
You could also opt for getting a free resource that will guide you simply toward completing the first part of your strategic plan – like this one below.
Step One: Desire. You sit in your rocking chair and think about the way you’d like your life to be someday.
Step Two: Intention. After a while, you’ve pondered for long enough, and you make the decision that you’re gonna do the thing, and make it happen.
Step Three: Brainstorming. How could you make this happen? How have others made it happen? Could I use the same method?
Step Four: Criteria. What’s the best way to achieve this goal? What kind of goal is it even?
Step Five: Main goal. Clarity as to what your primary focus will be.
Step Six: Mini goals. Breaking the main thing down into manageable smaller chunks.
Sep Seven: The Roadmap. The entire year, where you start at zero and are where you want to be in 12 months at least.
Step Eight: Execution. The only way to do it, is to do it.