“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today”
The first step in developing an Action plan is to stop and think! Before taking any action, it is vital to understand the purpose for the action, and ensure that the steps you take are aligned with your core values and visions. It sounds like stating the obvious, yet there are many people whose daily actions are actually moving them further away from their deepest desires! The clearer you are about what is important to you, the more dynamic your action plan, and the more likely you are to be energised to take action.
There are countless ways to devise an Action plan, and here is a framework for you to adapt to suit your specific situation. Turn off your phone, put on some relaxing music, take some paper and coloured pens, and answer the following questions:
What is my current reality?
Where am I now? What decisions and habits have brought me to where I am today? What resources do I have available? What are my existing skills and strengths? What gives me energy? Which parts of my day do I truly look forward to? What support do I need right now?
Where do I want to be?
What is the main vision for my Action Plan? What do I want to achieve? What will I see, hear and feel to know that I have been successful in achieving the goal / vision? Is this vision an expression of one or more of my core values?
What perceived constraints do I have, eg time, money, or other resources?
What habits do I have that may get in the way of achieving my goal? What are my limiting beliefs about being / doing / having the desired result? What if the opposite was true? What support do I need to release these constraints?
What are my gifts, talents and strengths?
When have I been successful at achieving something I desired? What qualities do I have that will benefit me for the future? When was I truly energised and excited about what I was doing? What was present? Is my current vision aligned with my strengths and talents?
Write my desired outcome using the SMART method – old, but good! Make it Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-framed. Write it in the present tense as if it is happening NOW!
How do I get there?
Think of all the possible things you could do to take you closer to achieving your goal, no matter how small. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step, focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, it is important not to judge or analyse. This is a brainstorm, choosing the most appropriate steps will follow!
What is the very next step I must take towards achieving this goal / vision?
Arrange the steps in a logical, chronological order and put a date by which you will start each step. Try to set yourself weekly goals: what research you will do into jobs, what skills you will concentrate on learning etc. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of planning a timetable each evening listing your steps for the next day or two.
Each action step should include the following information:
- What actions or changes will occur;
- Who will carry out these changes;
- By when they will take place, and for how long;
- What resources (i.e., support, skills) are needed to carry out these changes;
- Which core value is being expressed by taking this action
Create a collage or metaphor of your vision, and keep it in front of you every day. It is a powerful reminder when the going gets tough.
Celebrate the milestones! Remember to acknowledge yourself and others as you accomplish each step along the way.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant” –Robert Louis Stevenson
This AMAZING piece was written by our AMAZING guest blogger Karynne Courts from Values Connection. Ph +61 2 9983 0755