Happy New Year!

As we move into 2020, there are no shortages of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ being flung around from every direction, most not making it past the end of January. Why do you think that is?

It’s because people don’t know that they must plan to succeed.

What are your 2020 plans? White sticky notes with blue writing.

When people want to see a better and specific result, whether it be a change in your physical health or making changes in your work environment, old habits must be replaced with new habits. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight and successful outcomes are not handed out just because you tried.

Successful outcomes rely upon considered and realistic planning with the end goal in mind, then taking consistent action and conducting regular evaluation to ensure you’re on the right track.

A successful person plans their work and works their plan.

I think back to the time when my children were both in primary school and I re-entered the workforce. I had a specific goal in mind to become a Trainer and Assessor of Aged Care. Despite having worked in the Aged Care industry for many years prior to having my children, I didn’t hold the necessary qualifications and had no training experience. To address these issues I developed an ‘Action Plan’, a road map that outlined the steps I needed to take to get me where I wanted to be, and then I worked it.

Fast-forward 3 years, I had saved enough money to pay for, and complete, my training and assessment qualification, plus I had landed my first training position with Tafe. RESULT!

Plans in Action

Plans do not need to be complex. In fact, the simpler they are, the more likely they are to work.

The first step in success planning is to clearly identify the end goal; I put emphasis on the word ‘clearly’. If you are not clear on the purpose for which you’re implementing change, then your goal will end up slipping away, leaving you standing at square one feeling frustrated and/or lousy.

Once you have a clear vision of the end goal, it’s time to identify the actionable steps and then structure these steps into a plan that leads you towards achieving the goal. Again I emphasize ‘actionable’ because the steps taken must be realistic and achievable.

Remember, nothing is overly hard if you break it up into small tasks!

Remember that quote ‘No man is an island’? Well, achieving your goals often requires input or the support of other significant people in your life, be that family, co-workers or other team members. During the planning process, include all of the people involved and define the actions they are responsible for. By including people and encouraging their input, you’ll notice a higher level of ‘buy-in’ and increase the likelihood of your plans succeeding.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started, but from there, to achieve your goal within a certain period, timeframes and accountabilities need to be allocated to each action; essentially you are creating milestones for your plan.

This helps when you and your team review the plan. Having a process that defines a timeframe and holds each participant accountable for their part in the outcome is smart. These milestones act as the pavers of the path to success.

Set aside time to plan

Depending on the end goal, the development of a success plan might only take a few minutes to a couple of hours to plan, especially if it will only take a week or a month to work towards that goal. If you are wanting to achieve big changes, the development of your plan might take a much larger time investment and you may be working through the steps of your plan over a year, or number of years.

The length of time it takes to achieve your goal does not matter however, as long as you keep your eye on the end prize and can see tangible results along the way; don’t forget to celebrate these mini achievements as well, as this encourages motivation and keeps morale high.

Plans come in different shapes and sizes.

Another important factor when you are working with others is remembering that everyone is different and may visualise the end goal in a slightly different way. They may also be motivated to achieve the goal for different reasons or need to see the milestones laid out a specific way. The visual aspect of your plan may be structured within a more formal template or it may be a detailed and colourful roadmap; the pit stops being the milestones on the road to the final destination.

The important thing is that everyone is able to visualise that end goal. It’s essential that everyone involved is moving together in the same direction. Make your plan fit your team.

Planning can help overcome inertia

Sometimes knowing you need to make a change or take a new direction is really hard and can lead to inertia, even where change may appear simple, it’s not always easy. Planning ahead helps give us confidence to take the steps, and sometimes the risks, that move us ahead to achieve better results. Find what works for you and your team, work that plan and you too can enjoy the feeling that comes from reaching the goal!

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