There must be a definitive game plan for any goal that you want to accomplish. It must have several actionable components in order for it to be effective. After all, a game plan without concrete, actionable steps isn’t a definitive game plan.
A goal can start out very broad, but as it comes into picture, a definitive game plan will have concrete actions. Imagine that you just graduated high school and wanted to go to college to attain a Bachelors in English. Step 1 would be to determine where you want to go to college. After you have made that decision, you might research the English program requirements for that particular university. Once you know the requirements and the total hours needed to graduate, you’ll be able to map out which classes you’ll take your first and second year. These are examples of concrete action plans. Any goal should be full of these to ensure that you are making progress toward your goals.
In our example, a Bachelor’s in English, is a fairly lofty goal. The road is long, with many different classes to consider. That’s why it helps sometimes to split your goals up into bite-size chunks. When I went to college, I had was going for a 4 year degree. I had 2 years at a community college and 2 years at a university. I measured my progress every semester by sitting down and looking at the number of hours and classes that I needed at whichever college I was currently attending.
That is to say I didn’t look at the program all the time.
I focused particularly on the I was taking at that college. However, make sure that these classes will work for you if you’re transferring them later to a different college or university. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with the entire breadth of the goal, especially starting out. I knew I had to a certain number of classes for the current semester and that is where I kept my focus. Sometimes splitting portions of your goals will enhance a definitive game plan.
Add a Timeframe
Having a definitive game plan with concrete steps is accentuated with a timeframe. This is so easy with a college degree, but can work with any other goal. If you can set realistic deadlines for yourself, then this will help you all the more.
Sometimes you can decrease the amount of time needed before you reach your goal. In college, I had several yearly goals where I wanted to wanted to accomplish 36 hours. I would take at least 12 hours in the Fall & Spring semesters and an additional 6 hours each Summer session. Our Summer sessions were 4 intense weeks each and I was taking 2 classes at a time. It was a lot of work, but it paid off. This type of practice can shave a full year off of your completion time if you did it for 2 full years. I held a full-time job as well. Everyone’s situation is different though, so results will vary.
Track Your Progress
As you complete pieces of your definitive game plan, it helps to take a few moments every so often to look back and see what you have accomplished. If I was putting together a definitive game plan to lose weight, wouldn’t it help to know how much I weighed before I started exercising? Would it be a good idea to track my calorie intake or be particular about the food I was eating? Absolutely! That way I could track my progress along the way. I could see what I had accomplished with my actions over the course of weeks and months. These types of progress markers help us stay motivated as we move through the steps of a definitive game plan. We become closer and closer to reaching our goal and more motivated in the process if we can see the progress that we have made.
Seek Out Help
It may be a good idea to seek out the help of others for some goals. Ask someone to hold you accountable to what you expect of yourself. Ultimately, the goal and the definitive game plan is ours, but sometimes a little extra nudging from a close friend or family member may help spur you on. This may be difficult to do at first and you have to be careful with who you ask to help you. Do they hold the same level of commitment that you do? Will they treat your goal as serious as you do? Are they strong enough to ask about your progress? Craig Ballantyne has some awesome accountability questions to keep in mind. For college, who better than your parents to help encourage you along the way, but a best friend, mentor, or other important figure in your life can work just as well. The important point is that the person you choose has your best interest at heart.
Modification with Moderation
Sometimes you may have to make modifications to a lengthy goal, with an equally lengthy definitive game plan. You may experience setbacks or have to change directions entirely. If you have to modify your goal for any reason, you’ll want to review the entirety of the impact. Does it impact your timeline? Does it change the overall direction of your goal? What if you realize in year 2 of a college program that you don’t want to pursue that particular degree? Fortunately, there won’t be a ton of impact due to the common classes that all students take in the first few years, but it can still be scary! Those types of things do happen. That type of change can impact your entire plan and speaks volumes as to why proper planning, consistent with your own passions and interests are important.
Celebrate Your Success
As you enter your time, log your movements, and pour out your sweat, blood, and tears into your goal, the end will come. A definitive game plan can only move you in that direction. It will be time to celebrate your success. You should have milestone markers along your journey with mini-celebrations as well to help boost your morale and motivate you to continue. These mini-celebrations could be very simple; a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant with friends or family, or taking a weekend trip, or whatever it is that you enjoy.
Proper planning for any goal is a necessity. A definitive game plan will ensure that you make it to the end. At some point, your first goal will be reached and you will begin again with the process for whatever your next adventure might be. This is how your life can be filled with a tremendous amount of accomplishments. To not have a definitive game plan to help you tackle your goals is like walking out into the night without a flashlight. You have to know not only where you are going, but how to get there.