Putting Plans Into Action
Saying what I’d like to achieve and achieving it are not always the same … but they can be! I’m far more effective at realising my own goals now than I used to be. My coaching training has meant I am able to self-coach, and use some of the questions and techniques on myself that I use on my coachees.
What does this look like in practice?
Rather than assume, by the sheer power of wishful thinking, that I will achieve my goals, I’ve already started planning for them. As Abraham Lincoln once said:
A goal properly set is half-way reached.
To demonstrate how I set myself up for goal success, I’ll share with you my #Teacher5aday goals, then expand on one, using the planning and techniques that work for me. Feel free to share the ones that work for you in the comments below
Goal 1: To be able to do a continuous 5k run
Goal 2: To build cycling into my fitness routine
Goal 3: To do a long walk with the dogs once a week
Goal 4: To achieve 500 points or more in a Portsmouth Round (Archery … highest possible score – 600 points)
Goal 5: To learn a new piece on the piano every couple of months
Goal 6: To regularly record my ongoing learning in a journal (This also comes under #Learn and is connected more with my job than life outside of it.)
Goal 7: To continue volunteering as a Coach for the #TwitterCoaching initiative
Goal 8: To continue offering coaching sessions as a raffle prize for some TeachMeet groups (Get in touch if interested in this for your group)
Goal 9: To find ways to connect & spend time with friends on a more regular basis
Goal 10: To plan in trips to visit my relatives in the NE
Seems like a lot of goals, but some are continuations of current practices, and some will only happen a few times during the year.
The biggest challenges will probably be Goals 1 and 4, so I’ll expand on one of these.
Goal 1: To be able to do a continuous 5k run
I’ll break down my plan into a series of steps (which is actually my prep step!!)
Step 1: Ensure the language is right.
I need to be focusing on what I want rather than don’t want.
Step 2: Make sure there are no ambiguities and I understand exactly what I mean by the goal.
I could have said ‘do a 5k run’ and allowed myself the luxury of including some walking or resting time along the way, which is why I put in the word ‘continuous’!
Step 3: Set realistic timescales.
Being a beginner, and feeling quite unfit right now, I want to set small steps initially (no pun intended!) And as part of setting timescales I will be ‘chunking down’ the milestone targets. So … end date is 15th June, and other milestones are:
- Run 1k by 15th February
- Run 2k by 15th March
- Run 3k by 15th April
- Run 4k by 15th May
- Run 5k by 15th June
This is about following a recommended running programme (such as 1 minute jog, 1 minute walk – repeated until I can increase my jogging time to 2 mins, etc), and running 2-3 times per week for the first month. I’ve allowed 6 weeks for the first milestone, as I know from experience that building up any exercise routine works best for me when it’s at a steady pace. Don’t get me wrong – it will still be a challenge, especially to start with. I was always a sprinter at school, never a long distance runner. But I can change that!
Step 5: Motivate myself
Creating early wins is one way to help with motivation, because seeing small improvements shows change is possible and increases the desire to keep going. I also like to visualise the end result, and imagine all the benefits from achieving the goal. For example, I’ll lose a few pounds, I’ll look and feel better/brighter, and I’ll have more energy. (Think of all you can achieve when you have more energy!)
Steps 6: Enjoy the process
Sometimes the processes you have to go through to achieve a goal aren’t as enjoyable as the end result. So for this goal – I have the Nike running app on my phone. I’ve downloaded some upbeat music that I can sing along to (in my head of course!!!), and the app shows me the route I took, so it will be interesting to try some of my runs through local woodland areas. Great scenery too
Step 7: Plan for potential hurdles
For example, it has been known to snow quite a lot where I live (like a few days ago). So I’ll need a Plan B to ensure I don’t lose fitness levels. For this I have an indoor fitness DVD, which lasts the same length of time that a run would. (More on overcoming hurdles in an upcoming post.)
Step 8: Get goal tasks in the diary!
Now that I have my initial schedule planned, I need to put running times on my calendar. I use a Google Calendar for all my work and non-work events, and find it invaluable. I’ve scheduled my first 5 runs, after which I’ll review which times of day work best for me (I’m not usually a morning person!), then will plan the next ones accordingly.
Which reminds me … don’t forget to review your goal progress every few weeks (depending on how long-term your goal is), and tweak if necessary. Changing and updating your plans is allowed!
So how’s your planning going? What steps work for you, and have you started already?
Happy New Year & Wishing You Lots of Goal Success in 2015!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.
I’m Debbie Inglis, executive coach, trainer & supervision coach, working across the UK and Internationally with leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in them.