Getting STARTED…Step 2 of 4

Step 2: Translating Goals into Actions.

Congratulations!  If you have successfully developed a few meaningful goals, it’s time to get started achieving them.  The question now is “Get started doing what?”  To this point, the effort has been focused on developing smart goals.    Many people don’t make it this far, but among those who do, most still fail to achieve them.  

If this has happened to you before, fear not!  Like most people, you probably got excited about your new goals, changed behavior for a while, then fell back into the epidemic of busyness.  Your conviction waned, and pretty soon you were back to just trying to keep up.

Step 2 is where you can make a profound improvement in your chances for success.  They key is translating the goals you want to achieve into actions that will get you there.  For each of your goals, break them down.  Think about what behavior must change.  Define the behaviors in terms of weekly actions.  These are now going to be the most important things you need to do each week.  They must get priority.  They must get scheduled.  They must get done.

Example:  Fitness. The classic struggle of our time seems to be keeping up with work, life, and our own health.  For many, health takes a back burner until a life-changing diagnosis.  For others, it comes too late.  If achieving a target weight really is your goal, consider two different action plans:

1. Focus on weight as your key measurement.

2. Focus on your net calorie intake each day as your key measurement.

This may seem like a trivial differentiation, but it is not.  Action 2 is a predictor of the outcome measured in Action 1.  It is hard to break Action 1 down.  You could weigh yourself more often, but it would still only measure the result produced by Action 2.

If instead, you choose to focus on Action 2, you could actually break it down further, namely:

2a.  Eat fewer than 2000 calories each day.

2b.  Burn at least 400 calories 4 times each week.

Or further yet…

2a.  Eat fewer than 2000 calories each day.

i.   Eat a healthy breakfast each morning (cereal, fruit, yogurt)

ii.  Eat either a light lunch or a light dinner each day.

2b.  Burn at least 400 calories 4 times each week.

i.  Park at the back of the parking lot and walk at least 10,000 steps/day

ii.  Do workout video 2 mornings a week.

What’s the difference?  Everything!  By translating your goal into actions, now you can get proactive.  You can schedule and track the things that will produce the goal.  You can establish your path and know whether or not you are on it.  Instead of looking back, you are looking forward.  You know what you need to do, and you know whether or not you are doing it.

Example: Sales. Another classic struggle is producing greater sales results.  Ask yourself, are you really doing all you can to sell what you have?  If your life depended on increasing sales, could you do it?  With that, consider two common approaches to executing the sales growth plan:

1. Talk up the goal.  Measure results.  Repeat.

2. Execute a sales activity plan.

In other words, measure results or measure the right kinds of activity that lead to results.  The sales activity plan might include:

2a.  Contact a specific number of leads per week.

2b.  Execute touch points with key clients each week.

More specifically…

2a.  Contact a specific number of leads per week.

i. Speak to 25 new contacts to introduce your product.

ii. Ask 25 new contacts how they currently solve the problem you aim to solve.

2b.  Execute touch points with key clients each week.

i. Read the social media feeds of your top 10 key client contacts/week.

ii. Send an article or other finding to top 10 key client contacts/week.

Is the difference becoming clear?  Most people develop a goal and then obsess over the goal.  What they should do is push past the goal to identify the behaviors that will predicate goal achievement.  With this exercise, perhaps it becomes clearer why you can’t successfully pursue 5 to 10 goals simultaneously.  By the time you break them down, you really need to do a dozen or more new behaviors.  It won’t last.

No doubt, other things will require your attention.  Other things will be urgent.  Fires will blaze, and you must put them out.  Putting out fires perpetuates survival, but it does not move you closer to your goals.  So don’t track fire fighting efforts, track the completion of your key actions.

Short on time?  Look for synergy.  If you want to serve your community and spend more time with your kids, consider coaching their youth sports league.  Want to read more, get in shape, and refill your leadership tank, carve out 30min each day to read a book on leadership on an elliptical machine or stationary bike.

Whatever you do, you must push through your goals to actions if you want to achieve them.  By focusing on the actions rather than the goals, you may just find that you are capable of achieving more than you ever thought possible.

Ready for the next step?  Proceed to Step 3: Finding Help and Step 4: Sustaining the Change.