Converting Long Term Goals Into Short Term Action Steps

How to Convert Your Annual Goals Into Monthly Plans That Take ACTION

Let me ask you something you may not have considered since January: how are you faring with your annual goals? If you have to flip your calendar back a few months to answer, you need to evaluate how your annual goals are actually being transferred into your monthly/weekly/daily timeline. Keep in mind that you cannot hit goals in the dark. Goals require plans, and plans must become relevant on a monthly basis.

I have seen this mistake demonstrated in my experience with major corporations. They are willing to pay thousands of dollars for outside management consulting firms to design a strategic plan only to place that same plan on the shelf. They will then only refer to it at the end of the year to see how close they came to their goals or how far they fell short.

So how can you avoid this scenario? Monthly planning. You must keep your goals consistently in front of you if you want to achieve them. In order to consistently remember your goals, your annual goals must have action steps and those action steps must automatically flow into monthly plans.

How should you begin?

#1 – Formulate Action Steps

For example, let’s say that one of your annual goals is to increase your client base by 25% by the end of the year. One of your actions steps to meet that goal would then be to add a small percentage of new clients each month by cold calling, prospecting, or networking. You could even give yourself a specific number of clients to recruit each month to further motivate you.

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The important part of this exercise is providing you with concrete steps that you can take to facilitate meeting your annual goals. Without these action steps, you could easily fill your time with other business obligations that seem important but are doing nothing for your bottom line.

I’m going to take this one step further by encouraging you to set target dates for completion of your action steps that stand out as scheduled events on your monthly calendar. Continuing with the analogy of increasing your client base, you would want to add specific dates to your calendar with time slots for your target dates to acquire 5% more clients, 10% more clients, and so on. Again, the whole purpose for such specific monthly planning is to keep your annual goals consistently in front of you so that they become more readily achievable.

#2 – Prioritize

Monthly priorities should be determined by the annual action plans and target dates that you have established. In monthly planning, it is important for you to consider both business and personal priorities for the month because attention to both personal and business planning simply leads to a more fulfilling and abundant life.

Once you have identified your personal and business objectives for the month, prioritize both lists. Then select your top one or two personal and business objectives. These objectives will be your priorities for the month. This practice of prioritization may be difficult for high achievers because they want everything to be a #1 priority. As a result, they get overwhelmed with too many #1 activities, start to lose focus, and then eventually get burned out and frustrated. Prioritization is important. Something has to be number #1 something has to be #2, and so on. Prioritization brings clarity, and clarity is key to productivity.

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By identifying priorities, it does not mean that you forget all the other monthly objectives. In fact, you should review your list weekly. The benefit of prioritization is that it helps you focus on those high payoff activities that propel you forward. Make a commitment to spend the majority of your time consistently performing your high payoff activities.

#3 – Organize Your Calendar

Your monthly calendar is the place where you should enter all time-scheduled events. It is important to build the habit of going directly to your monthly calendar anytime you need to schedule an event that has a date and time – this will include both personal and business commitments. Review your calendar with others who need to know your schedule to avoid scheduling conflicts that come from lack of prior planning.

This will work with the traditional desk calendar, your computer calendar, or one on your mobile phone or iPad. The importance in having every event in the same place is to eliminate the possibility of double entries or missing an important date. It may feel tedious at first, but you will find that this process saves you time and energy in the long run. Another benefit to writing in your calendar is that it reinforces your goals and stimulates clarity of thought, and clarity of thought motivates action.

The most important part of monthly planning for you to remember is that you always plan next month before next month begins! Planning the next month should be a time-scheduled event at the end of each month. Practicing effective monthly planning will not only keep you focused on your long-term goals, but will also give you clarity as you perform your day-to-day activities. If achievement is doing the right things consistently over a sustained period of time, then your effective monthly planning is an important key to your success in achievement!

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By David F. Byrd

Inspiring genuine growth and achievement in leaders, David Byrd has 30 years of experience working with top business executives and their organizations. He is a master of effective leadership and works closely with leaders worldwide to maximize their leadership potential. For more information about The Next-Level Achievement System® or David’s book, Achievement – A Proven System For Next Level Growth, visit [] — link no longer relevant

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