It is often said, "a goal without a plan is just a wish". And of course, we should have known by now that goals do not work by wishful thinking.
Without assigning daily tasks, targets, where and when to allocate resources and clearly defining those who should be involved, your goals may not come to fruition. That is where writing down an action plan comes in handy.
You should not only know where you are going but also know exactly what you need to do to get there. And this must be written down.
What is an Action Plan?
An action plan is a detailed document where all the steps to be taken to achieve a specific goal is clearly spelt out. Drafting out your action plan comes in when you have identified a problem and set S.M.A.R.T goals.
Importance of An Action Plan?
It outlines all the daily tasks in your timeline necessary for the actualisation of your goals. It tells you what you need to do today to bring you closer to your end goal.
An action plan does not only designate a specific task per time but also helps you to keep track of your progress.
It helps you to gain clarity in prioritising your daily tasks. From your action plan, you will know what needs to be done now and what needs to be done later.
Having an action plan reflects how committed, focused and intentional you are with your goals.
An action plan is also needed in an organisation to achieve its goals. Every worker needs to know their daily tasks for the organisation to achieve its goal. It's not all about sharing the overall goal, but designating specific tasks with a timeline attached to every worker. That means even the gateman is involved in a practical action plan.
How to write Action Plan Example?
The first thing to do when writing an action plan is checking your goal whether it meets the SMART goal requirement. Let me highlight them below using losing weight as an example.
SPECIFIC: Your goal should be clear and detailed. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, say lose 5KG. You're specific. Learn More here
MEASURABLE: Your goal should be quantifiable in a way that you can measure your progress. Walking 30 minutes a day helps you to know you're making progress. Learn More Here
ATTAINABLE: Your goal should match your skill level and timeframe. Can you walk for thirty minutes every day? If not reduce it to 5 days a week.
RELEVANT: Your goal should be useful and relatable to your values and long term goals. Does this goal of losing 5KG align with your health goals?
TIME-BOUND: Your goal should have a timeframe attached. For how long do you project to achieve this goal? In this case 30 days.
Let's put it together.
I'm going to lose 5KG within the next 30 days by walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week.
We can see that part of the action plan is embedded in the goals we have set. Now, we can move to the step by step process of making this goal work.
Do you want to walk for 30 minutes at once or you want to walk for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon and 10 minutes in the evening?
How many kilometres will you cover that will equal 30 minutes walk? Where will you trek to?
Who should be involved in this plan? Do you need a coach? Do you need an accountability partner?
What are the resources needed to make these daily tasks work? Should a special diet be included? If yes, write a timetable for this special diet.
Answer the questions above and put them into steps. Then get into action.
Establish a milestone for success: This will help you to track and measure your progress. For example, setting a target of losing 1KG a week is a great way to reinforce your action plan.
Set out days for assessing your action plan.
Do you have any questions regarding action planning?