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Eating the Elephant: 4 Steps to a Goal Plan

The first month of 2022 is coming to an end and, if you are like most people, you have not made significant progress towards your resolutions. You likely have thought about what you want to achieve this year but have not taken significant steps beyond that. It’s never too late, or early, to recommit and refocus on your 2022 goals.  

Elephant Face. How do you eat an elephant?
Photo by NADExRioTic on

Building on our discussions over the past few weeks below is a 4 step process to develop a goal plan. If followed, this process will promote success and lead you down a path to achieve your resolutions in 2022!

Step 1: Current Situation

This starts first with identifying the aspects of your life you want to change. This is the step that you likely do every December. But that should not be the end of your goal creation. Instead of setting broad goals, you should develop hyper-specific goals that motivate you to achieve success.

Questions to ask:

  • What habits do you have that you want to change?
  • What are you unhappy about in your current life?
  • What projects have you been working on that have stalled?

Step 2: Visualize Your Success/Achievement

How often do you set goals by visualizing how your achievements will look. If you are like most people, you set goals based on things you dislike in your current life. This is not enough. You must know where you are going before you can change your situation. 

  • Your goal of losing weight will not inspire weight loss 
  • Your goal of sticking to a budget will not inspire financial change 
  • Your goal of going plastic-free will not inspire lifestyle change
  • Your goal of spending more time with family will not inspire work-life balance

All of these goals are attainable, but you must first envision the end result. As mentioned in my article on momentum building, defining done is key to successfully accomplishing your goals. Too often, goals are set without actually identifying what the end result will be. Without this visualization, it is easy to lose focus and become stagnant in our progress.

  • Instead of setting a goal to lose XX pounds, set a goal to fit into that dress/suit hanging in the closet
  • Instead of setting a goal to stick to a budget, set a goal to pay off your car loan
  • Instead of setting a goal to be plastic-free, set a goal to replace all plastic food containers with glass containers
  • Instead of setting a goal to spend more time with family, set a goal to take small family vacations during every long weekend.

Adding specific actions to your goals helps to visualize what success looks like. This visualization gives you something to reflect back on throughout the year. Where broad goals are easy to set, they are also easy to waiver from. Adding specificity to them helps you to stay focused.

Step 3: Schedule Your Success

Now that you have identified what you want to change and the specific actions you want to achieve, it’s time to open a calendar. Ask those affected by your goals to assist in scheduling events that force you to stay on track.

  • To support your goal of fitting into that dress/suit in the closet, schedule a date with your significant other to attend a formal event or spend a night in the town.
  • To support your goal of paying off your car loan, schedule a family road trip for the month after it is paid off.
  • To support your goal of replacing plastic food containers with glass ones, schedule a day to go to the store and buy glass container replacements.
  • To support your goal of taking small family vacations during long weekends, pick out destinations and book hotels/flights.

Including your loved ones in this process is critical! Without their buy-in, you will not have their support in holding you accountable. You will likely experience the same setbacks you experience year after year without external accountability. This buy-in is even more critical when scheduling actions that impact more than just yourself. When they feel like they are part of the decision-making, they will help you stay on track. If they are excluded from these decisions, they may, inadvertently or purposefully, derail your progress.

Schedule success and check-ups and share with loved ones
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Step 4: Schedule Check-Ups

As you know, life continues to happen without regard for our desires. You have busy months that are not always planned for. Unexpected work trips, family situations, and life events happen to you every year.

These unexpected events must not become an excuse for not achieving success. Scheduling regular check-ups and building intermittent milestones into your goal plan will help keep you on track. While you are scheduling your success in step 3, schedule your check-ups. I recommend monthly check-ups, possibly on the first Friday each month, but you will have to decide what works best for you, your family, and your goals. 

These check-ups will benefit you by reminding you and your loved ones of your goals and the envisioned result. This provides an opportunity to recommit to the plan. They also offer a chance to assess your progress so far. If you find that you strayed from your goals during the previous month, that is ok. Remember that life happens. Use these check-ups to identify what caused you to wander and build measures to prevent that from occurring again.

Scrum board. Regular check-ups on progress are key to success.
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

As discussed previously, achieving goals does not happen overnight. They require work, dedication, and steady progress over time. Using these steps while building your goal plan supports this ongoing progress. You can’t expect to change your life all at once, but you can set controls now to help you achieve small victories on your path to success.

These are the steps we take when setting personal goals and organizational goals. This is not the only way. Connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn, or on our website. Or leave a comment here. We would love to hear from you on your process. 

Until next time. Continue to Lead Inspired!


Published by dannyrtudor

Leadership Trainer and Coach

2 thoughts on “Eating the Elephant: 4 Steps to a Goal Plan

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