How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

Do you struggle with goal setting or wonder how to achieve your goals? Whether you have set goals for yourself or your students have set goals, it is important to follow these 10 steps to achieve the goals. Many times we have high aspirations and lofty goals especially at the start of the school year or a new year. Then when we hit one small bump in the road we give up or lower the goal.

You will find that these 10 steps can apply to anything you have set your mind to accomplish whether it be professional, academic, educational or personal goals.

How to Achieve Your Goals By Following These 10 Steps

  1. Take action.
  2. Try hard.
  3. Keep practicing.
  4. Explore a different way.
  5. Ask someone how to do it better.
  6. Do your best.
  7. Learn how others have done it.
  8. Build upon your strengths.
  9. Review and fix any mistakes.
  10. Don’t give up.

Example of Following the 10 Steps to Reach Your Goals

Let’s pretend you are sick and tired of bringing paperwork home with you at the end of the day. You decide to set this professional goal: “I will document all my therapy sessions immediately following the session 100% of the time by June of 2019”.

  1. Take action – document after your first session.
  2. Try hard – don’t make excuses.
  3. Keep practicing – maybe you miss a session but keep practicing to stay on top of the documentation.
  4. Explore a different way. – if you find it is too difficult to do, what could you do differently?
  5. Ask someone how to do it better. – ask a co-worker for suggestions.
  6. Do your best. – give it your best effort.
  7. Learn how others have done it. – if your coworkers can’t help, explore other options through research or online groups.
  8. Build upon your strengths. – if something is working (i.e. voice to text, checklists, templates, etc) see what else you could document in this manner.
  9. Review and fix any mistakes. – check what isn’t working and fix it.
  10. Don’t give up. – keep trying. Start back at step one if necessary until you reach your goal.

Self-Monitor your Progress

It can be very helpful to learn how to achieve your goals by tracking your own progress. This encourages you or your students to see that you are making changes. This allows you to take ownership of your goals and hopefully increase your internal drive. Baby steps turn into big steps and it can be beneficial to track the baby steps to keep reaching for the big steps or goals.

Encourage students to track their own progress with My Goal Tracker.

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

My Goal Tracker is an electronic book of data collection forms for students to track their own progress. The student can track his/her goals over time, by monitoring the skills over the course of a day, week, month or quarter. This allows the student to get a visual picture of improvement, decline or maintenance of different skills.

Included in this download is the following: samples of completed forms, goals setting worksheet, improvement ideas worksheet, goal tracking cards (for trials or percentage) and graphs to complete for daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly progress (number of trials out of 10, percentage or minutes). There is also one blank form for you to label if you are monitoring goals in a different manner. Complete the goal worksheet, print the necessary forms and place in a binder. The student can then graph his/her progress accordingly. By having the students track their own goals they will take ownership of their progress. It doesn’t get any easier than this to track progress. Find out more.

Self-Reflection to Reach Your Goals

Try using self-reflection to learn how to achieve your goals. It can help determine if there is a pattern meaning certain strategies seem to help more than others.

Using a self-reflection journal helps you analyze your professional and personal growth. By keeping a record of your ideas, reasons, actions, techniques, and assessments you can plan for your future and facilitate a positive outcome.

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

Anyone can benefit from reflective journaling. Professionals can use critical thinking to improve their decision-making skills. Parents as primary teachers of children can reflect on how to foster independence and growth in themselves and their children. Students can problem solve assignments to improve academic growth.

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

Hello, I’m Piyush, and today I want to show you how to create an action plan for achieving your goals.

Everyone has goals but some seem to achieve far more than others that’s because people who accomplish goals at a higher rate than the average person are those who use a systematic proven method of goal-setting and goal attainment the answer is simple you need an effective action plan.

Table of Contents

1. Creating an action plan to achieve goals.

Creating an action plan is deciding exactly what you want clarity is the most important single quality of goal setting and perhaps the most important single quality of success instead of fuzzy goals like more money better health and happiness be specific about exactly how much money you want to earn in a specific period of time or what level of health and fitness or weight that you desire you need to set goals.

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

That is multi-dimensional and for every part of your life so that you function like a well-oiled goal-setting goal-achieving machine unique goals for your health your career your finances your relationships your personal and professional development and your community and spiritual growth.

This will immediately put you in a separate category from people because most people have no idea what they really want most people are unconsciously preoccupied with the fear of failure which blocks them from setting clear specific goals if you don’t set clear specific goals then you can’t fail to achieve them because they’re so vague this is a major reason for failure.

2. Write your goals or goal down on a sheet of paper.

Only 3% of adults have written goals and everyone else plans to write them down someday success begins with a piece of paper a pen and a few minutes of your time you can start with the three-goal method in less than 30 seconds quickly write down your three most important goals in life right now whatever three goals you managed to write down is probably an accurate picture of what you really want in life.

If you truly write a goal down it is as if you are entering it into your innermost mind and beginning a perfect series of mental powers that will allow you to succeed extremely more than you ever visualized up you begin to demand to achieve the goal and you begin to attract people and circumstances into your life that are regular with the fulfillment of your goal.

3. Setting a deadline

if it’s a large goal a set. a series of sub deadlines and what if you don’t achieve your goal by the deadline set another deadline to remember a deadline is just a guesstimate of when you will achieve it you may achieve the goal well in advance or it may take you much longer than you expect but you must have a target time before you set off a dead line.

acts as a forcing system on your subconscious mind toward achieving your goal on schedule and you want to achieve financial independence you may set a 10 or 20-year goal and then break it down year by year so that you know how much you have to save and invest each year there are no unreasonable goals only unreasonable deadlines.

4. Making a list of everything that you could possibly think of that you will have to do to achieve goals.

Creating an action plan is making a list of everything that you could possibly think of that you will have to do to achieve goals.

Your goal after having a written goal one of the things that holds people back is not taking the time to lay out a list of all the little things they will have to do to get there to identify the obstacles that you will have to overcome.

Identify the consciousness information and skills you will want and then recognize the people whose help and assistance you will require to achieve your goal the more general your list the more motivated you will become the more intense will be your desire and the more you will believe it as potential combine.

all these things into a plan organized by priority and sequence priorities what is more significant and less significant series are something you have to do ere you do something else and in what distribution list each particular step that you can imagine of that you’ll have to follow as you think of new items add them to your list.

the 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities the 20/80 rule says that the first 20% of the time that you spend planning your goal and organize your plan will be worth 80% of the time and effort required to achieve the goal.

5. Schedule it into a comprehensive plan.

A particular day, week and month in the advance plan per month at the start of the month plan every week the weekend before also plan each day the evening before the more accurate and precise you are while you plan your pursuits and tasks the further you will accomplish in less time the rule is that each minute wasted on planning saves 10 minutes on execution.

Then as you go through each day of your plan select your number one most important goal for the day again you can set your priorities with the 80/20 rule.

Ask yourself if I can only do one thing on this list which one activity is most important then ask yourself if I could only do one other task on this list which one would be the most valuable use of my time then write a number 2 next to it now keep asking this question until you have the uppermost 20% of your tasks created by series and priority and now you have an action plan your next step is to take action keep track of your journey and make improvements along the way make sure you’re doing something.

Every day to move you in the direction of what you really want in life.

Now if you’ve enjoyed this blog and feel it was valuable and teaching you how to achieve your goals faster share it with your friends or anyone else who might profit from this knowledge before we enclose up I’d like to give you with a thoughtfulness to share with your friends and admirers.

Your difficulty is to connect the gap among where you are presently and the aims you intend to move now I’d love to hear from you so my question today is what is one of the goals that you want to accomplish leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to follow up with you thanks for reading and treasure if you desire to improve your future take effort now.

What sets you apart from your peers?

Can you speak a second language? In a room full of professionals in your field, how many are great at public speaking or understand how to work across word processing platforms? Are you naturally great at reading people, but your ability to build workplace relationships needs improvement?

Personal and professional development are seen as distinct avenues of self-improvement, but the two go hand in hand. If you’re interested in creating a personal development plan or working toward personal growth, you’re likely to experience a pleasant side effect of learning new skills or strengthening abilities you already have – achieving your personal goals for work.

Creating a Personal Development Plan

Dr. Shanita Williams, associate vice president of talent engagement and inclusion at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and a TEDx speaker, said she uses a specific approach to guide her thinking when creating a personal development plan.

STEP 1: Define Results and Motivation

Considered by Williams to be the first and most important step, a vision for your personal development plan starts at the finish. “Start with the end in mind,” Williams said. Asking yourself what goals you wish to achieve and why will help you know where you need to start. In setting your personal growth goals, Williams said without knowing why you want to improve yourself your motivation can waiver and have a negative impact on your success. “Take some time to think about what you want to achieve, and you’ll truly set yourself up for success,” she said.

STEP 2: Determine Required Skills

The next question you need to ask yourself once you understand your goal is what skills you’ll need to achieve this outcome. “You may have several skills that are needed to achieve the results you desire. Do not become overwhelmed,” Williams said. “List them all so you can explore all possible avenues for development.” Ask supervisors, peers or a personal development coach for help identifying the skills you’ll need to work on or add to your toolbox.

STEP 3: Perform a Skills Self-Assessment

Some skills we come by naturally, and others take a lot of work if we want to be proficient. Williams suggests you self-assess on the skills you know you’ll need to achieve your personal growth goals. Which skills do you already possess, and which ones will take some time to learn? Ask for an outside perspective from supervisors or friends when looking at which of your skills need the most development. Take into consideration the skills you already have and how you perform under stressful conditions. You know you can give a presentation to peers and supervisors in a meeting room, but do you know how you would perform giving that same presentation to a crowded auditorium? You can build upon skills you already have to be even more capable.

STEP 4: Isolate One Skill

Then, find the area you’re going to focus on first. Isolate one skill you can work on that will get you closer to your goal. “This might be obvious,” Williams said, “and in some cases it might be challenging.” Identifying and working on these skills one by one can make the personal development process less overwhelming and help you reach objectives faster.

STEP 5: Develop an Action Plan

For your personal development plan, Williams said it’s “important to determine what success looks like and put a plan in place.” Williams uses a goal-setting method referred to as “SMART”. Make goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and rewarding, as well as Time-bound. Know what you want to achieve. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Celebrate your successes. Make deadlines you can meet and stick to them.

Examples of Professional Development

Williams described professional development as a series of formal, social and experiential activities that develop skills and knowledge in the workplace. To gain the benefits of professional development, Williams said, you need to be “personally committed to engaging in the growth process.”

You know you want to make yourself an asset, but where do you begin?

STEP 1: Formal Development

Taking part in workshops led by instructors knowledgeable to your field advances your understanding of new concepts or adds to your skills. Take advantage of online media, like Khan Academy’s Hour of Code, to sharpen your professional skills or advance your knowledge of areas in which you have limited experience.

STEP 2: Social Development

You can join an industry association, such as the Small Business Association or the American Nurses Association, to connect with others in your field and gain support. Being a member of these kinds of professional associations and attending conferences focused on your field can help you network. Another way you can add to your social development is finding a mentor who does what you want to do and is willing to help guide you on your path toward professional development. Learning from those whose success you want to emulate can make you better at what you do.

STEP 3: Experiential Development

Challenge yourself with skills-based practice. Link up with project teams that provide the opportunity to put your skills to the test and push yourself further. Putting your skills to the test in real-world scenarios will help you understand what works and what doesn’t – and what you still need to improve.

Which avenue of professional development is right for you? “I have found that your learning style will influence how you select your professional development,” Williams said. Pursue professional development opportunities that match your learning style or try to use a mix of all three. Using a combination of methods, she said, “helps to engage my head, heart and hands in my development.”

Personal Growth as Professional Development

Different career fields suggest different approaches to using personal growth for professional development. “Some industries require a specific number of hours demonstrating the skills in the field, while others may only require a certain number of education credits for professional development,” Williams said. “These requirements vary by industry and position, so it’s important you speak with your supervisor or other professionals in the field, so you have a plan that will set you up for success.”

Williams said she has witnessed personal growth leading to professional development many times in her career. She’s seen personal growth goals such as being a better communicator and mastering conflict management lead to professional development. “I have also seen professional development goals that have led to personal development as well,” she said. “If you are truly developing, you notice things like confidence improve in various areas of your life.”

Ashley Wallis is an Army veteran and writer with a BA in English Language and Literature from SNHU. Find her on Twitter @AshDWallis.

Here are 10 steps for creating an action plan – because a plan is the best way to get what you want out of life. Are you hoping for a job promotion, more money, or a new house? Create an action plan.

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

The first and most important tip for creating an action plan and achieving your goals: Never, ever, ever give up. If you’re at the beginning of the creation of your life plan, read Defining Your Life: Creating a Clear and Personalized Plan for Lifelong Wellness. And, read 5 Ideas for Creating a Better Life – and So She Blossoms.

Here are author and relationship specialist Mark Richard Webb’s ten tips for achieving your goals…

10 Steps to Creating an Action Plan

Before you set your goals, review the mistakes you made in the past. What obstacles have stopped you from achieving your goals in the past? Knowing that will help you achieve your goals this time.

1. Take action immediately with SMART goals. Don’t postpone your start date, or you’ll begin procrastination and avoidance. It can be scary to set goals because you risk embarrassment and the possibility of failure. Courage means “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” — and creating an action plan soothes anxiety and builds confidence.

2. Think through your goals. What do you want to achieve? What are reasonable objectives for one month, three months, six months and beyond? Don’t overdo the first week. Instead, set a steady and progressive pace. If you’re out of shape, for example, don’t run three miles the first few days! When you’re setting and achieving your life goals, build up to the desired distance.

3. Spend time visualizing your intentions as accomplished. Your images build a sense of belief that your goals are attainable. Visualization and focusing on the feelings that will come when you’ve created an action plan will help you develop faith. which will motivate you to keep going.

4. Find inspiration and motivation to create the right goals for your life. Establish various methods of getting information and encouragement, such as self-improvement tapes, books, therapy, lectures, online courses, going back to college or sitting in a church pew. We live in a world that has so many negative influences. You have to find ways to stay positive and inspired– and feed your mind positive thoughts that will help you achieve your life goals.

To learn more about different types of goals, read Self-Improvement Vs. Performance Goals.

6. Develop habits that support your life goals. You must be willing to do the things that most people are not willing to do. You must push beyond your limits. When you’re setting and achieving your life goals, you must go beyond your comfort zone.

6. Create good habits. Your habits form the routine that make you get up early or stay up late. Your habits help you skip that candy bar or miss that unnecessary two hours of television. Creating an action plan that you can achieve requires consistency and accountability.

7. Make up your mind that you are going to overcome obstacles to your goals. This is where being hard-headed can be a blessing! Tap into that side of you that hunkers down when someone says, “You’re not smart enough” or “You don’t have what it takes.”

8. Get excited about your action plan. You will achieve your goals faster and easier if you’re enthusiastic. Build a passion so strong that no negative influence can discourage you. When you’re setting and achieving your life goals, stay enthusiastic so even the toughest task is more enjoyable.

9. Remember that success is a process. Achieving goals rarely happens overnight. Don’t aim for perfection; instead, strive to just get started. Then place your focus on sticking with your goals and over time, reach for fame. Someone once told me, “You won’t like anything you produce, so produce it anyway.” When you’re working towards your goals, remember that you don’t have to get it right; you just have to get it going!

10. Give your goals your best shot. Most people start with a bang and soon after, end with a fizzle. Give your goals everything you have… and you will succeed! Be willing to put in the time and energy to reach all of your goals. Allow no room for excuses. Make a commitment. Decide in your head and in your heart that you will do whatever it takes.

If you have any thoughts on these tips for creating an action plan, please comment below…

Mark Richard Webb is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice at South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center in Valdosta.

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

B efore we talk about the benefits of having goals , let me ask you this question? Have you got things you want to achieve with your life ? These are goals. So why not take some time to write them down .

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

Setting goals, and figuring out how you are going to achieve those goals, is important in ensuring that you are successful in all areas of your life.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals

Henry David Thoreau

Benefits of goal setting

So here are some of the benefits of goal setting: goal setting can provide a number of benefits . These include:

1. Clarity and Focus

By setting goals, you narrow your focus on action that is relevant to achieving your goals, ensuring that you waste as little time as possible on action that does nothing in helping you progress towards attaining your goals.

2. Increased effort

Goal setting encourages you to increase the amount of effort you put in to achieving your goals. Since you have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve through goal setting, you are therefore more likely to put in the extra effort to strengthen your chances of reaching those goals.

3. Increased Persistence

You are more likely to persist at working towards a set goal, and less likely to drop out if you meet setbacks. Setbacks give you an opportunity to review your goals. If the goals are still relevant, your setback can become a stepping stone to achieving your goal.

4. Less stress and anxiety

Goal setting removes the stress associated with not knowing what you want to achieve in life. By charting your goals, you are much better able to control your future, meaning that you don’t suffer much of the stress and uncertainty about your future direction.

5. A happier outlook

People who set goals end up being happier than those who don’t due to the fact that they feel a higher sense of purpose and control in their lives.

6. Increased self-esteem

Setting goals allows you to boost your self-esteem. With set goals, you receive a boost from making concrete progress and achieving your short term and medium term goals, You get a sense of achievement by meeting your shorter term goals/

So how do you go about setting and implementing your goals?

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

While by no means easy, the process of setting and implementing your goals can be best achieved by taking the following steps:

#1. Figure out what you truly want with your life

Knowing what you want to achieve is the first and most important step in setting your goals. Have a vision for your life. Visualise where you want to be at various stages of your life and the relevant goals that you would have liked to achieve. Remember, it’s important to set goals that are important to you personally and not others.

#2. Break it down

It is important to break down your big goals into smaller steps . These steps are your shorter term objectives. Breaking down larger goals into smaller ones also make it easier to create action plans on how you will achieve your goals.

#3. Write down your a plan or vision

Writing down a concrete plan on what actions that you intend to take to achieve these goals is the next step in goal setting and implementation. As you develop a plan, you determine which goals are most important and which ones deserve the most time and energy. You will also determine exactly what specific actions and strategy you will be taking to achieve these goals.

#4. Set Deadlines

Setting deadlines for your goals and related actions is critical in effective goal setting and implementation. By setting deadlines, you are far more motivated to working on your goals in the most efficient manner possible, ensuring that you procrastinate as little as possible. Setting deadlines also allows you to measure your progress as you take steps towards achieving your goals.

#5 Seek Support

Getting the support of friends and family who will assist you towards achieving your goals can greatly contribute to your success in reaching your goals. Find support from those close to you in achieving your goals and get them to “buy in” and support you in implementing your goals. Such support can also serve the purpose of accountability. Your coach can offer the support and encouragement you need.

#6. Get a successful mentor

Mentors can offer direct or indirect assistance. You can get direct advice from successful people, or indirectly through the motivation provided by their success. As Anthony Robbins said, “Success leaves clues, follow it”. Read books , listen to audio and video programs, attend seminars and get the benefit on offer from those who have been successful at what you want to do.

#7. Regular Review

It is important to have regular reviews of your goals and your progress in attaining your goals. Even if you have already set up the previous steps, it may be easy to lose sight of your goals as time passes by. By regularly reviewing your goals, you can monitor whether you are on target with your goals. If not, you can then adjust your actions in order to meet your goals.

#8. Be flexible

Every now and then, life will throw unexpected circumstances into the mix. You should always be flexible with your goals and your actions. Often times, circumstances occur which you didn’t or couldn’t possibly anticipate or plan for. Being flexible will your life easier and help you to be at peace with the unavoidable change to your goals.

#9. Make contingency plans

While there are circumstances that may come into play that you did not expect, it is always important to take reasonable precautions against adverse circumstances. For an entrepreneur, having someone who can take over your business or your work for you in cases of emergency is one example of contingency planning . Contingency plans allow for the successful progression towards attaining your goals, even in the event of unexpected setbacks.

#10. Take Action

You have heard it said before that talk is cheap. After all said and done, the rubber must hit the road. You must take action on your goals. After setting your goals and making your plans, take the first step towards achieving what you have set down to achieve. Taking action is a lot easier than you think. Take the first step today and see the results unfold.

Why not leave a comment below and tell us how you got on.

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

Post Updated on December 27, 2019

Do you love setting goals but never seem to follow through with them? I’m sure you’ve felt the excitement of setting goals…only to forget about them a few weeks later. Don’t worry, I’m right there with you.

If you’ve ever not achieved a goal you’ve set for yourself, I’m guessing your goal wasn’t specific or realistic enough. You probably felt overwhelmed by how much work it would take. Maybe you gave up because you weren’t making progress when you weren’t actually taking any action.

How to create an action plan and achieve your personal goals

If you want to start achieving your goals, you have to break them down into steps that don’t completely stress you out. I recently mapped out my yearly goals into action steps, and I’m determined to make them happen this year.

I’ve set goals for my health (train for a 5k), finances (pay off debt), and business (more clients, products sales, and sponsors). From there, I’ve figured out what I need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to make them happen.

Goals don’t have to be daunting. You simply need an achievable action plan. Because I want to help you achieve your goals, I’m sharing a simple process you can use to break down your goals into action steps. Keep reading so you can create your own step-by-step goal plan!

Goal Action Planning 101

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

What is an action plan?

An action plan is a step-by-step method to get things done. I like to think of it as a plan of attack. It’s a way to break up huge, overwhelming tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work your goal will take, an action plan will make it feel achievable.

Why do I need an action plan?

Creating action plans for my goals is something I’ve done since I was in college. Before that, I kept vague goal ideas floating around in my head until I forgot about them (surprise, surprise). Breaking my goals down into an action plan helped me get more done and generally feel more on top of my life. Also, it’s rewarding to feel like I’m making progress even if I haven’t achieved the end goal yet.

What if my goal isn’t actionable?

If you can’t find a way to break a larger goal into smaller steps, it’s most likely not the right goal for you. To figure out the right goals for you, I recommend reading through these posts first:

How To Create Your Action Plan

There are so many ways to plan out your goals, but this is a simple (yet detailed) process that has worked for me. Start by grabbing the free goal planner then follow the steps below.

What sets you apart from your peers?

Can you speak a second language? In a room full of professionals in your field, how many are great at public speaking or understand how to work across word processing platforms? Are you naturally great at reading people, but your ability to build workplace relationships needs improvement?

Personal and professional development are seen as distinct avenues of self-improvement, but the two go hand in hand. If you’re interested in creating a personal development plan or working toward personal growth, you’re likely to experience a pleasant side effect of learning new skills or strengthening abilities you already have – achieving your personal goals for work.

Creating a Personal Development Plan

Dr. Shanita Williams, associate vice president of talent engagement and inclusion at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and a TEDx speaker, said she uses a specific approach to guide her thinking when creating a personal development plan.

STEP 1: Define Results and Motivation

Considered by Williams to be the first and most important step, a vision for your personal development plan starts at the finish. “Start with the end in mind,” Williams said. Asking yourself what goals you wish to achieve and why will help you know where you need to start. In setting your personal growth goals, Williams said without knowing why you want to improve yourself your motivation can waiver and have a negative impact on your success. “Take some time to think about what you want to achieve, and you’ll truly set yourself up for success,” she said.

STEP 2: Determine Required Skills

The next question you need to ask yourself once you understand your goal is what skills you’ll need to achieve this outcome. “You may have several skills that are needed to achieve the results you desire. Do not become overwhelmed,” Williams said. “List them all so you can explore all possible avenues for development.” Ask supervisors, peers or a personal development coach for help identifying the skills you’ll need to work on or add to your toolbox.

STEP 3: Perform a Skills Self-Assessment

Some skills we come by naturally, and others take a lot of work if we want to be proficient. Williams suggests you self-assess on the skills you know you’ll need to achieve your personal growth goals. Which skills do you already possess, and which ones will take some time to learn? Ask for an outside perspective from supervisors or friends when looking at which of your skills need the most development. Take into consideration the skills you already have and how you perform under stressful conditions. You know you can give a presentation to peers and supervisors in a meeting room, but do you know how you would perform giving that same presentation to a crowded auditorium? You can build upon skills you already have to be even more capable.

STEP 4: Isolate One Skill

Then, find the area you’re going to focus on first. Isolate one skill you can work on that will get you closer to your goal. “This might be obvious,” Williams said, “and in some cases it might be challenging.” Identifying and working on these skills one by one can make the personal development process less overwhelming and help you reach objectives faster.

STEP 5: Develop an Action Plan

For your personal development plan, Williams said it’s “important to determine what success looks like and put a plan in place.” Williams uses a goal-setting method referred to as “SMART”. Make goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and rewarding, as well as Time-bound. Know what you want to achieve. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Celebrate your successes. Make deadlines you can meet and stick to them.

Examples of Professional Development

Williams described professional development as a series of formal, social and experiential activities that develop skills and knowledge in the workplace. To gain the benefits of professional development, Williams said, you need to be “personally committed to engaging in the growth process.”

You know you want to make yourself an asset, but where do you begin?

STEP 1: Formal Development

Taking part in workshops led by instructors knowledgeable to your field advances your understanding of new concepts or adds to your skills. Take advantage of online media, like Khan Academy’s Hour of Code, to sharpen your professional skills or advance your knowledge of areas in which you have limited experience.

STEP 2: Social Development

You can join an industry association, such as the Small Business Association or the American Nurses Association, to connect with others in your field and gain support. Being a member of these kinds of professional associations and attending conferences focused on your field can help you network. Another way you can add to your social development is finding a mentor who does what you want to do and is willing to help guide you on your path toward professional development. Learning from those whose success you want to emulate can make you better at what you do.

STEP 3: Experiential Development

Challenge yourself with skills-based practice. Link up with project teams that provide the opportunity to put your skills to the test and push yourself further. Putting your skills to the test in real-world scenarios will help you understand what works and what doesn’t – and what you still need to improve.

Which avenue of professional development is right for you? “I have found that your learning style will influence how you select your professional development,” Williams said. Pursue professional development opportunities that match your learning style or try to use a mix of all three. Using a combination of methods, she said, “helps to engage my head, heart and hands in my development.”

Personal Growth as Professional Development

Different career fields suggest different approaches to using personal growth for professional development. “Some industries require a specific number of hours demonstrating the skills in the field, while others may only require a certain number of education credits for professional development,” Williams said. “These requirements vary by industry and position, so it’s important you speak with your supervisor or other professionals in the field, so you have a plan that will set you up for success.”

Williams said she has witnessed personal growth leading to professional development many times in her career. She’s seen personal growth goals such as being a better communicator and mastering conflict management lead to professional development. “I have also seen professional development goals that have led to personal development as well,” she said. “If you are truly developing, you notice things like confidence improve in various areas of your life.”

Ashley Wallis is an Army veteran and writer with a BA in English Language and Literature from SNHU. Find her on Twitter @AshDWallis.

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Create Your Goal Action Plan

Achieving goals is not a matter of learning a mystical, cosmic secret. It’s something that happens when we diligently follow a practical, proven set of steps and when there is goal commitment (it’s something you really want).

The steps outlined below, when followed consistently, can open the door to making real changes in your life, but you have to take action and get started. So consider this your goal setting lesson plan, the steps to learn to make meaningful changes in your life.

The basic steps required in the action plan are listed below:

  1. Identify the major milestones or achievements necessary to accomplish the goal
  2. Break those main milestones steps down into specific tasks or activities ( goal project plan )
  3. Assign each milestone a realistic due date when it must be reached
  4. Make progress toward the next activity on the list every single day
  5. Use a system to keep you focused every day – daily reminders, email alerts, post-it notes, etc.

1. Identify the major milestones necessary to accomplish the goal

Assuming your goal is not something you can accomplish in a few steps, consider breaking it into logical groups or milestones. These milestones accomplish two important things:

    a) They help mark your progress at key points along the way
    b) They reward your progress.

It’s important to have checkpoints along the way, like major cities you would pass through on a road trip across the country which tell you you’re on the right track and on schedule. For a goal with 20 things to complete, make reaching #5 a major accomplishment (milestone) that serves as a source of motivation and reward.

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The impact of goal setting is something that cannot be overstated, and deciding to set beneficial goals for yourself is the first step toward improving your life in a significant way.

While setting a goal for yourself is an all-important first step, real progress is achieved when you put your goals into action.

This is why I created the Smart Goals Cheat Sheet – to help people in all walks of life set and achieve meaningful goals in a way that is both straightforward and effective.

If you would like to get as much benefit as possible out of this helpful goals action plan, here are a few tips that you can follow.

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1. Set Your Main SMART Goal

A SMART goal is an acronym standing for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound”.

In other words, a SMART goal is one that is specific and easy to define, one that is relevant to the progress you are trying to make, one that is not so challenging that it is unachievable, one that allows you to measure your progress and results, and one that is bound by a deadline that forces you to complete the goal within a specific time frame.

SMART goals are the most beneficial type of goal that you can set for yourself, and, as the name suggests, the Smart Goals Cheat Sheet is built around this specific type of goal.

Decide on the first and most important SMART goal that you would like to strive towards and you’ll be ready to begin progressing through your goals action plan.

2. Create Milestones

Most long-term goals can be broken down into milestones, and these milestones equate to short-term “mini-goals”, so to speak, that enable you to define and reach checkpoints along the way.

By breaking down your SMART goal into these milestones and checkpoints, it becomes much easier to motivate yourself as well as keep track of your progress.

Creating milestones for your SMART goal means that you will always have short-term goals to strive toward as you work toward your primary goal.

Breaking down a major goal into these short-term goals can make the entire pursuit seem much more doable as well as provide you with a motivating sense of reward each time you reach a new milestone.

3. Identify Potential Pitfalls

Whatever goal you are working towards, there are bound to be pitfalls and obstacles along the way.

Identifying and preparing for potential pitfalls ahead of time, therefore, is the best way to keep these pitfalls from catching you by surprise and derailing your progress.

Take the time to sit down and visualize what the road to reaching your goal will actually look like, and write down any obstacles that are likely to stand in your way.

By the time you reach these obstacles, you’ll be ready for them.

4. Outline a Schedule

One of the most important characteristics of a SMART goal is the fact that SMART goals are time-bound.

A goal that has no deadline is one that can forever be placed on the backburner, meaning that setting a deadline for yourself is essential if you want to keep yourself motivated.

Meeting the deadline that you set, though, means that you will need to create and stick to a schedule.

Once you’ve broken your goal down into milestones, divide those milestones up into a schedule that promotes steady progress toward your main goal.

Track Your Progress

Having divided your goal up into milestones and having created a schedule for when you would like to meet those milestones, the final step in the Smart Goals Cheat Sheet is to begin working toward your goal and keeping track of your progress.

Measuring your results and keeping track of your progress serves to keep you on schedule as well as keep you motivated.

So long as you are actually making progress toward your goal and achieving real results, tracking that progress can serve as a powerful source of motivation.

Conclusion

If you have set a SMART goal for yourself and are using the Smart Goals Cheat Sheet to help you along the way, I want to congratulate on your commitment and wish you the best of luck on your challenge.

By following the tips outlined above, you should be well on your way to reaching the goal you’ve set.

For more help improving your ability to set and reach meaningful goals, feel free to check out my Quick Goals Master Class today.

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.