A goal without a plan is simply a lofty dream that has no real substance to make it reality. By setting up a smart plan to get a task done, we are able to ensure that whatever we set out to do, we get done. By following these 10 golden rules, you can learn what helps us stay ahead of the competition and integrate it into your life.
1) Establish an End Goal Early
Before even starting on a task, make sure that you have a clear vision for what exactly it is you are trying to achieve before getting started. Writing down exactly what you hope to achieve as a result will help guide you towards that result as you now know what it is you are aiming for. Many people fail to ever reach their goals because they forgot to actually define what it was they were hoping to get to in the end before starting to try and get there.
2) Plan for Setbacks and Obstacles Early
If you go into any long-term goal and think it will be smooth sailing the whole way through, then you are in for a rude awakening. It’s never really a question of if you will face setbacks with your project, but more of a question of when you will hit those setbacks. Thankfully, by trying to understand what may come up along the way early on will equip you with the tools you need to deal with problems down the road.
3) Know Your Team’s Strengths
Assuming you are working with a team to try and reach your goals (which you should be), knowing what each member excels at and struggles with will better allow you to assign tasks that each individual will be best at. Taking the time to really get to know your team on an intimate level will better help you understand what drives and motivates them to do excellent work so you can do everything in your own power to help them with a task that they will be great at.
4) Make a SWOT Analysis
If you are in the business world, then you have certainly heard of a SWOT analysis before. What a SWOT analysis is able to do is establish what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are. BY knowing what each of these characteristics may represent in your own personal situation, you can seriously see what you have on your side and some often-internal threats that may prevent you from reaching your end goal. Even if your goal is to just start eating healthier, making a SWOT analysis can help you realize that those candy bars are threats to your goals and should be removed.
5) Set Time Specific Objectives
Having lofty visions and goals are often only separated by making a conscious choice to put a time-bound element behind your planning. When you are planning out your daily schedule or your 5-year plan, making time objectives that will help guide your actions ensures that you can a lot certain amounts of time for each task on your objectives list and you have the push of a deadline to keep you motivated. Many people fail their plans because they set a reasonable goal but just don’t give themselves a time structure to guide their actions.
6) Create Actionable Deliverables
Planning to get a job done and allowing yourself to create deliverables that show progress will do more to help your mental stamina than actually reaching the goal. Creating waypoints that you can show to yourself that progress is being made will give you an immense sense of pride and motivation to keep working hard and aiming towards your end result.
7) Communicate with your Team
The famous saying communication is key was originally coined as relationship advice, but it is advice that can be taken and used in just about ever aspect of life. Making sure your team is on the same page as you to reach your end goal will ensure that every member knows what needs be delivered at the end and is trying their hardest to get the team there together. Communicating often and honestly will keep an open discussion going about the project and allows every team member to ask questions without feeling out of place.
8) Establish a Baseline of Quality to Expect
Depending on what it is your team is actually trying to create, making sure everyone is on the same page about creating the same end product is incredibly important. Before taking on the project, plan to show everyone what it is you expect the end product to look like so everyone is on the same page and working towards the same version of the end result as one another. Making sure everyone knows what the final product needs to resemble will remove many errors that result from people simply having different imaginations.
9) Embrace Setbacks and Learn from Them
Just because there is a chance of setbacks and failure doesn’t mean you should give up on your plan before even starting. Setbacks will come and go with every project, so taking the time to learn from them and grow will only help you become a better planner in the future. Taking the time to analyze what went wrong and what steps to take to avoid the problem in the future will help guide other important decisions in your career and will make you a valuable asset to any team.
10) Make Sure to Start
This may seem like common sense and an unnecessary tip, but the reason that so many plans go unfinished is that they are never even started. Taking the time to sit down and plan out what you want to do is great and all, but not taking any action to actually start leaves you with nothing. So if you want to go and take action, write down your plan with this guide in mind and go take action!