I agree with the quote “that a goal without a plan is just a dream.” If we really want something – we have to plan, execute, and continuously monitor and re-execute the plan. So, what are a few tips to building a good plan… and a few tips to execute against that plan?

  1. SMART goals are smart. Clarity is king. Our goals must be: Specific, Measurable, ALIGNED (my word…versus the standard ‘achievable’), Realistic, and Time-based. I use the word aligned – as our goals need to be aligned to our MISSION and our VISION. ALWAYS.
  2. Bite-sized pieces. Often a plan can appear daunting, if the goals are aggressive and/or ‘stretch’ goals. If we can break our goals into tactics… or ‘bite-sized pieces’… it is easier to get started and create momentum. For example, if my goal is to lose 40 lbs., narrowing that to a 2 lb. a week goal or working out 4 times a week or eating less than 1500 calories a day… makes it easier to wrap our heads around how to achieve that bigger goal.
  3. Get rid of any filler language. Let’s get real… we need to always be direct, succinct, and concise. Filler language is just that: fluffy. We need to be as ‘black and white’ as possible. Otherwise there are ‘loop holes’ – intentional or not – they are there, and when the going gets tough it is very easy to escape through the loop hole!
  4. Use PICTURES. Graphs, visual images, and charts are worth a thousand words. A mentor of mine used to always say our plans need to pass the ‘Granny Test’… aka: would your grandmother ‘get it?’ If not… then simplify and use colorful, meaningful images to show your direction and overall plan.
  5. Be different. If you are creating a plan to be used in a corporate setting and you want to ‘stand out’ and grab the attention of your stakeholders… be different. Don’t use boiler plate or standardized templates. If you are building a plan to raise venture funding or donor support… being creative and different is the golden ticket.

So… we have a plan. Now what?! Three succinct thoughts to consider:

  • If we really want something – we have to plan, execute, and continuously monitor and re-execute the plan.Our success in any endeavor always, ALWAYS, comes down to how badly we want it.
  • What are we willing to do to get there? We may have to work harder than expected or sacrifice something to give more time or resources to reach our goal. What are we willing to do?
  • Always remember WHY we wanted to do this in the first place. Our WHY (as Simon Sinek offers in his famous TED talk) is our fuel. If we anchor where we want to go, what we want to do, and how we wish to contribute to our WHY – then, when we get discouraged, feel defeated, or lack resiliency during the tough times… our WHY will be strong enough to PROPEL us forward.



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