On a previous post, I shared how I walk clients through the process of creating a SMART Action Plan. To read that post, CLICK HERE.
So many times we make promises to ourselves:
- “I need to lose weight.”
- “I want to start eating healthier.”
- “I need to get organized.”
- “I need a new job.”
The problem is that we fail to be specific enough or assign a timeline for getting things accomplished. A perfect example of putting something off because of lack of an action plan is my desire to obtain my Personal Training certification. I have been thinking about getting this certification for at least 5 or 6 years, and yet, here I sit with no certification. I even bought the study books and materials for a nationally accredited certification about 4 years ago, and I think I made it about 6 pages into the manual before I tossed it aside.
My failure to achieve my goal boils down to a lack of a SMART Action Plan, the most important step being that I didn’t assign a timeline. “One day” is not a specific timeline. In order to achieve your goals, you have to have a realistic, specific timeline to achieve those goals. I decided it was time to give myself a taste of my own medicine and put an Action Plan in place!
GOAL: Obtain Personal Training certification
DEADLINE: By Thanksgiving (November 28)
START DATE: August 28
*13 weeks to achieve goal*
Personal Trainer Manual and Workbook (18 chapters; 2 chapters per week for 9 weeks)
Program Design Handbook (4 sections; 2 sections per week for 2 weeks)
Anatomy Workbook (1 week)
2. Practice Test and Re-visit problem areas (1 week)
3. CPR certification (deadline: November 1)
4. Take Final Exam for certification (may take place in December, depending on test dates available; absolute deadline of January 1st)
By assigning deadlines and dates, as well as being specific about the steps to achieve my goal, I can now hold myself accountable and keep myself on track to meet that goal. Reaching the goal is no longer a “one day” type of goal, but should be attained by the end of the year.
Given that I am already working on a goal of losing weight (and I’m a third of the way to my goal on my progress), a second goal of achieving this certification is probably my limit for now. Another reason folks tend to get frustrated and give up on goals is because they overwhelm themselves by trying to accomplish too many things at one time. In order to be successful in achieving your goals, you should only start one action plan at a time, and limit yourself to 2-3 major goals at one time. Because I have already been working on losing weight for about 6 weeks and am successfully sticking to my action plan, I feel confident in adding another goal at this time. However, deciding to work on this certification at the same time that I was starting my action plan for losing weight would not have been a smart choice, as I probably would have abandoned one (or both) goals.
I have put my action plan out there for two reasons: 1) to show that, even I as the Coach, need to practice what I preach (and yes, I make mistakes too), and 2) to hold myself more accountable by putting it in writing (not to mention putting it out there for an audience who can also keep me accountable). Additionally, I have written out these steps and posted them in a location in my house where I will see the Action Plan every day (it’s harder to play “out of sight, out of mind” when it’s staring you right in the face on a regular basis).
What goals have you not achieved because you failed to be specific and assign a timeline?