From Setting Goals to Implementing Action Plans

You have taken the time to clarify your goals (see previous article on goal setting).

Regardless of whether these are business or personal, your goals will remain a “pie in the sky” unless you go to the next step of putting an action plan together to take you to your goals.

Interestingly, the phrase “pie in the sky” means “a promise of heaven, while continuing to suffer in this life”. The phrase was coined by the American Joe Hill in 1911 in a song called The Preacher and the Slave, which parodied the Salvation Army hymn In the Sweet Bye and Bye.

The phrase wasn’t taken up until the Second World War when it began to be used figuratively to refer to any prospect of future happiness which was unlikely ever to be realised.

So, let’s see how we can put together an action plan to take your goals from “pie in the sky” to you actually achieving them.

Here are some easy-as-pie tips on how to put together an action plan:

  • Start with listing the detail steps to make up the actions.

  • Arrange the order of the steps. Should some of the steps follow another, or do they all happen at the same time?

  • For each one of these steps, determine who needs to do the action or even identify whose help you will need to achieve it. As we are not all experts on everything, it is important to understand what input and support you will need along the way.

  • What are the other resources that you might need to support the steps? This includes time and money.

  • How long will these actions take?

  • What are the challenges that you might face in these actions? How can you address these challenges?

After you have done this for each step in your action plan, review your original goal to see whether anything needs to be changed. Maybe you need to change the timeline or even some of the actions to fulfill your goal.

After you have drafted your action plan, the only thing left is to “Just do it”.

Conrad Hilton (1887 – 1979), American hotelier and founder of the Hilton Hotels chain, said: “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”