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How to Achieve Goals: 10 Steps to Create a Plan

Learn how to make a plan to reach your goals in a more effective and productive way with these 10 practical tips and tricks.

By Kate Dagher  •   January 30, 2024  •   8 min read

One of the most simple, yet effective ways to turn goals into achievements is planning them out in advance. Action plans create an opportunity for personal growth because they set out a means to achieve short- and long-term goals. Whatever the time frame you’re working with, it’s important to learn how to make a plan so you can prioritize the steps that need to be taken to achieve your goals. Goal setting helps you take a hold of outcomes that you can control and ones which are beneficial and rewarding to you. There are a few particular tips and tricks that are essential when considering how to make a plan as it relates to goal setting. Check them out below. 

The power of planning: why you need a solid strategy for goal achievement 

Creating a plan to achieve your goals is important because doing so shapes a non-tangible plan into actionable tasks that help you work towards achieving your professional goals. More times than not, your goals can be broken down into steps that can be used to work towards your achievements. When you have actionable steps to take, achieving your goals becomes more realistic and realizable.

Stay on track

Create a plan that includes regular check-ins with stakeholders to ensure you’re on the right track. Try a tool like Fellow to take notes of discussion, have an overview of action items, and more!

How to create a plan to achieve your goals 

1Write your goals

Document your goals to cement them in your mind. Writing them creatively, like in a drawing, activates different parts of your brain to solidify your aims. Articulating your goals visually fuels possibility thinking.

Sometimes, thinking outside of the box can help you articulate your goals in a way that feels encouraging. Consider writing your goals out in a less conventional way to see what development goals come up and how you feel you may be able to achieve them. A recent article by Forbes shares: 

3% of graduates who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation. 

2Prioritize your goals 

Identify what you would like to accomplish first, in terms of importance. Creating lists is a great way to map out your different priorities and their timelines. Your action plan becomes significantly more actionable when you prioritize your responsibilities and goals, and assign specific timelines to them. If you’re working in a group, this prioritization is especially critical in ensuring accountability across the team. 

3Set and celebrate small milestones within your larger goal 

Set deadlines for each step to stay on track. This keeps you organized when juggling multiple tasks. Deadlines build accountability to follow through.

5Tell others about your goal

When others are aware of what you’d like to accomplish, there’s no doubt that they’re going to do what they can to help you get there. One-on-one goal setting with your boss is a great way to make known what you’re working towards so you can ask for their guidance and support. Here’s an effective one-on-one goal setting template from Fellow that you can try for yourself!

6Surround yourself with people who motivate you

You are who you surround yourself with. This is true inside and outside of the office, so be intentional with who you choose to spend your time with. You want to be around other people who are ambitious, organized, and supportive, as these are the types of qualities which influence your own behaviors and attitudes.

7Track progress 

It’s extremely important to keep track of your progress as you work towards achieving your goals. With Fellow, you can track your goals with the Objectives tool. Here, you can record, define, and track the progress of your objectives and key results (OKRs) so you never feel lost as to what has been done and what still needs to be accomplished. Tracking your progress with a tool like Fellow is also perfect for reviewing your progress and achievements with your boss during one-on-ones or during your team meetings. 

8Determine what resources you need 

Not only do you have to plan what you’ll do to achieve a particular goal, but you also need to determine what kinds of resources are required to find success. Think about if the goal that has been set requires particular technologies, resources, or money. This determination of resources is what differentiates your action plan from a wishlist.

9Refine your goal 

It’s very likely that you’ll need to refine and redefine your goal as you move forward. This agility and ability to keep an open mindset regarding how to meet your goals is what will enable you to achieve long-term success over and again throughout your career. No effective plan is static, and it’s important to think about any challenges or obstacles you may face along the way so you can put together mitigation and backup plans. Your plan should be dynamic and have the ability to evolve with you as circumstances shift.

10Set realistic expectations 

Break down your goals into smaller, tangible actions. Being realistic holds you accountable because you know you’re capable of these tasks. Not only do the smaller tasks that collate to establish your goal need to be realistic, but your timeline and your resources list also need to be realistic and feasible. If you start goal setting with unrealistic expectations, you’ll struggle to keep your motivation, and you may face greater challenges to meet your goals in the long run. It’s much more effective and much easier to simply be realistic with yourself. 

Key takeaways for a successful goal achievement journey 

Following these steps will help you turn your dreams into reality. Planning is essential to break goals into manageable bites. Document and prioritize your goals, and set realistic milestones, deadlines and expectations. Don’t forget to track progress and get support when needed.

With Fellow, it’s simple to define objectives and key results, monitor progress, and loop in everyone involved in planning. Users can design OKRs at the department or company level. Discuss your goals across departments for full visibility. Try Fellow free today to streamline your goal planning.

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