Action planning is a process which can help you focus ideas and decide what steps you need to take to achieve specific goals. An effective action plan should give you a concrete timeline and set of clearly defined steps to help you reach your goals, rather than wondering what to do next. It's ok to have several goals, but you will need to make a separate action plan for each.
Developing Your Action Plan
Most people think that to move toward a goal, they have to plan in a forward direction. However, one of the best ways to move forward is to plan backward from your goal like this:
YOU ARE HERE <----- ? <----- ? <----- ? <----- YOUR GOAL
When you work from the future back to the present, you are less likely to miss important steps along the way, you will be able to determine which steps have to be done first, and you will be able to break the big steps into smaller, more manageable ones. When you have identified all the steps, you then implement them in a forward direction like this:
YOU ARE HERE -----> ! -----> ! -----> ! -----> YOUR GOAL
Planning backwards is not as difficult to understand as it sounds! There are two questions that you can use to map out your action plan:
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