Due Diligence and Making an Action Plan

So, we’ve covered 1) how to set goals, and 2) how to make goals achievable. We’ve also talked a little bit about being consistent. But, what good is all of that if you haven’t done your homework? Due diligence is crucial!

Setting Goals

Careful planning is required for every action plan. Having a wishful to-do list does you no good in the long run if you don’t know where to start. You have resources all around you…you just need to know where to look.

Here are some of questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. When can I devote time to myself?
    Set a reasonable schedule, pace yourself, and stay committed. Use a calendar program to send you reminders via text message and email if necessary.
  2. Who can help me achieve this goal?
    Always look to the people around you FIRST. Even if they can’t necessarily help you get started, they might know someone who can.
  3. What online resources are available to me?
    Check Google groups, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Twitter #hashtag chats, Twitter lists, blog communities, Meetup groups, VOKLE, Quora, etc.
  4. Where can I turn to for support?
    Check with your city center, church/temple, community college, local university, and other community hubs.
  5. Is there a community available?
    Achieving goals is easier when done with a group. Usually a hybrid of efforts between online and in-person research will yield communities with which you can engage. Try to attend some events that attract like minds. Whether you work with an in-real-life community or a virtual one, staying accountable to others will help you achieve your goals faster.
  6. Does this require money? Can I get help?
    It doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. There is a dirth of information available for free via blogs, audiobooks, websites, community sites, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. You can also check out the local public library for books, CDs, DVDs, and workshops.

  7. What do others suggest?
    Every goal requires different resources. Put out some feelers via Facebook or Twitter and see what others come up with! Better yet, try to connect with a pro and see what they suggest.

  8. Where can I start?
    Even if you don’t know where to begin, just START. Someone else’s roadmap may not necessarily fit your style. There’s nothing wrong with learning through trial and error. You are the master of your own destiny.

Do you have any other suggestions? Where do you turn to for help on projects and goals?

4 Steps To Making Your Goals More Achievable

In my last post, I went at great lengths to detail exactly HOW to set goals. It might seem a bit self-explanatory but I’ve worked with a lot of people who are just plain overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. If you are one of those people, hopefully my suggestions helped!

So, we’ve established that having goals are great. However, goals that are too far out of reach become more discouraging than encouraging. How do you deal? You make them more achievable!

Here are four steps to consider when refining your goals to make them achievable.

  1. Realize that the only thing standing in the way of your goals is yourself. If you really want to achieve a goal, find out what your barriers to entry are. Work on breaking those down first so that you can freely proceed with your plans.
  2. Don’t sabotage your goals before you get started by making them too far out of reach. Remember, the higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment. By putting your goals too far out of reach you give yourself a reason to fail later.
  3. Hold yourself accountable with milestones. Break down your goals into manageable mini-goals. Most importantly, give yourself enough time to meet those milestones.
  4. If you slip and don’t achieve your goals by the anticipated date, forgive yourself. Learn from the obstacles that were in your way, remedy them, and keep going!

Did I leave anything off? How do you make your goals more achievable?

Find Success By Setting Goals

I make lists all of the time: lists of things to do, places to see, what to accomplish. But, what I haven’t done in awhile is put together a strategy of how to get there. (My idea of long-term planning is making dinner reservations at the end of the week.) Most of what I’ve done thus far I’ve left up to chance and fate. I’d say things have turned out all right, but for once, I want to feel like I’m in charge of my own destiny.

After my vlog on consistency as well as my blog on anticipated world travels, I was hopelessly driven to create an action plan for the next year.

So, what did I come up with? I’m taking a five-step approach with my goals.

  1. Every plan starts understanding motivations. Once you understand why you want to do the things you want to do, you can move on to the next step.
  2. Write down two to three realistic, attainable, and quantifiable goals. Anything over three will be too overwhelming to tackle.
  3. Do your due diligence. Make an actionable plan to achieve your goals.
  4. Execute your plan. If you slip, don’t beat yourself up…just keep going. Be consistent!
  5. Celebrate your success. (You have to close the loop psychologically, so make it count!)

Here is what my goal schema looks like. I urge you to create your own so that it’s relevant to you. (There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Ideally, though, all of the information you put will be interconnected.)

Setting Goals

My three major goals (for all of the blogosphere to witness) are:

  1. Generate a six-figure income for my business. (Notice I said “for” and not “from.”)
  2. Commit to a regular schedule of study for both grad school and my personal projects.
  3. Save enough cash to travel the world by April 2011.

What I noticed was that I’ve sandwiched my short term goal of world travels in between my long term goals (personal development and business goals). It’s a smart move, considering I don’t enjoy inefficiencies or redundancies in my life. If you’re in the same boat I urge you to write out — ON PAPER — what your goals are and try to connect the dots. Is there a way you can adjust your career goals to align with your personal development goals? The closer they are, the happier you’ll be.

My personal development goals mainly revolve around learning…wrapping up my masters degree and maybe considering my doctorate. On top of that I am interested in learning some programming languages, hence the cross training section. Since my personal development goals are monetizable, both directly and indirectly, they can inherently be connected to my business goals. Win!

Next, I’ll go into detail on what exactly counts as a realistic and attainable goal…at least, in my opinion. Stay tuned!

The Problem With Christmas

As a child I really enjoyed saving up my allowance and buying stuff for my friends and family. My father never really took well to the whole concept of buying stuff and I think I finally know why.

The course of events this last year has really pushed me into the realm of “the bigger picture.” The thoughts that cloud my mind include, Where do our actions today take us tomorrow? How do the little things we do help us in the long run? How do I help plant the seeds for a better tomorrow?

You see, I have friends, family, and loved ones who all want stuff for Christmas. Unfortunately the stuff they want doesn’t necessarily fit into any long term goals. The fleeting desires for material items and temporary satisfactions actually serve more as distractions than they do long term solutions to their problems. I want to help them tackle the latter, not the former. But, how do I do that on a limited budget of time and money?

Some of the weighty goals of said family, friends, and loved ones include:

  1. Traveling Europe
  2. Finding inner peace
  3. Succeeding in nursing school
  4. Saving enough money for a wedding
  5. Getting healthier
  6. Pursuing their passion, and
  7. Fulfilling a lifelong dream

Because of the nature of my relationships with these people, I believe that I either play a role or SHOULD play a role in helping them achieve whatever it is they are aiming for. I try my best in my interaction with them to nurture these ambitions and to drive the conversation and actions towards these end goals. The problem with Christmas is that most of us use the holidays as an excuse to distract ourselves from the real issues of setting goals and achieving them through actionable steps.

So, with this Christmas still a few days away, I am remaining hyper-cognizant of my unfortunate dilemma. I’m hoping to come to some sort of creative “baby-step” solution that I can offer as a gift soon…seeing as though Christmas is only a few days away.

I am not super religious but I am spiritual and I truly believe that this time of year — better yet, every day of every year — should be spent in pursuit to improving the human condition. It doesn’t matter if you want to tackle the problem on a macro or micro scale, because the trickle down/up effect is inevitable. All I ask is that you do SOMETHING. I end this statement with a video I came across a few years ago, when I found a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.