Unwritten goals without a time frame are really just a New Year’s resolution. Here are three steps to help transform New Year’s resolutions into an actionable plan.

Written goals increases the probability of accomplishment.

Write down your goals

Duh. Goal Setting 101, right?  Yes, and with some research to back up the effectiveness of writing down your goals. Michael Hyatt mentioned a recent study where a test group wrote down their goals and never looked at those written goals again. They accomplished 42% more of those written goals than a second test group that did not write down their goals.

YIKES!

A 42% spike in goal accomplishment just by writing down your goals. How can that be?

Here is my theory: By writing down our goals, we add a layer of clarity to them than if they merely remained in our thoughts. Writing them down forces us to be more clear about our goals. Kinetically writing down those goals and then visually seeing those goals… imprints them more deeply in our minds than simply thinking about them.

Details of study:  http://www.goalband.co.uk/uploads/1/0/6/5/10653372/gail_matthews_research_summary.pdf

 

The second step for transforming your goals into an actionable plan:

Put a date on accomplishing each goal

If you don’t put dates on accomplishing a goal, then tomorrow is just as good as today in starting to accomplish it. Giving a date to your goal provides another layer of urgency to act now toward accomplishing that goal.

That means it is okay to accomplish it before December 31.

Write out the steps to accomplish that goal by that date

Immediate action transforms goals into reality

Start with the goal and work backwards. Be as specific with the steps as you can. You don’t need to figure out HOW you will do each step but do write down WHAT each step is.  The goal setting exercise is about IDENTIFYING the step, not designing the tactics for accomplishing each step.

For this exercise, keep focused on the big picture of what steps are needed to accomplish your goal.  Once that is completed, then you can zoom in to the details of the tactics for accomplishing each step.

When you write down and put a date on your goals, and write out an actionable plan, you will have transformed your NYE resolution into an actionable plan.

Just as important, you will have also followed Napoleon Hill’s suggestion for the accomplishing goals–whenever you set a goal, before you leave the room take some action. Writing out a plan is… a good first step. Even better, can you pick out an item or two from your plan and do it now?

Each of these steps sends a powerful message to yourself that you are serious about accomplishing each of your three goals.