“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

- Pablo Picaso

What’s your strategy and tactics?
Visual end result in your mind alone won’t achieve your goals, you also need to take practical actions, and there are probably gonna be moments when working towards your goal that obstacles get in your way.

You need to figure out the actions that will achieve your goal, then deconstruct the building blocks and their sequence of completion. It’s the principle of reverse engineering. In other words, you need an action plan.

There are two types of goals: simple goals and complex goals.:

Simple goals

Simple goals are not necessary easy to achieve but require a straightforward action plan. If you want to get fluent in a foreign language then your actions could include:

  • Hiring a teacher, or attending group classes
  • Learning new words
  • Learning grammar
  • Practice speaking and writing

The action plan for learning a new language is all about memorising and practicing speaking and writing. Every action has a level of challenge and frequency of execution. If your goal is to reach a certain level of skill within a year, ask yourself what you need to do every day or week to achieve this, breaking your goal down into monthly targets. Then plan when and how you’ll practice this month to reach your target.

The same applies for losing or gaining weight, where most likely your actions would consist of the right diet and exercises. The key here is to find right diet and exercises for you. Then plan, and execute, execute and execute. If some actions aren’t giving you the required results, figure out why and what alternative actions you can take, such as cutting out certain foods and adding others. Design your environment in such a way that helps to do what is planed (healthy food easily noticeable and reachable) and make too difficult to get unhelpful things (phone, Facebook, junk food, alcohol and etc.)

Complex goals

Complex goals require careful thinking about what’s needed to reach them. If you want to build successful start-up then your action plan will consist of many different things.

For example:

  • Gathering data about who your target audience is
  • Discovering what problems your audience has
  • Developing profiles of your ideal customers, average customers, and customers at different parts of the buying process
  • Seeing where there is a gap in the market and developing your unique value proposition
  • Developing a product or service that solves your audience’s problems in parallel with developing a marketing strategy
  • Asking for feedback from your audience and adapting your product or service
  • Selling your product or service

You might not know all the building blocks for success. You’ll work with assumptions, uncertainties and ambiguity. It’s a puzzle with many unknowns to solve and moving parts that overtime becomes clearer. It’s the same as building a house; you start from a general plan and then getting more into the details of materials resources required. You consult with a construction company to test your ideas and assumptions, and allow for necessary adaptations if the reality of the project works out differently to the plans.

The same applies to finding a lover or a partner and building strong relationships. There’s no simple recipe for long term relationships; it requires hard work and dedication from both sides, with lots of communication and compromise, but the results are well worth the effort when you meet that special someone.

Learn from those who’ve already done it. Find people who have reached the same goal you’re working towards, whether in real life or online, and learn what actions they took. What mistakes did they make and what would they do differently if they were to start all over again?

Some of the actions you take will help you move directly to the result you want, but most will not. The art of creating found in your ability to adjust and correct what you have done so far.

EXERCISE

Testing Your Plan

Before you get straight into executing your plan, take the time to reflect on these questions and test some of the assumptions you’ve made about it. Ask yourself these important questions:

  • What are the fundamental actions I need to take to reach my goal (the house plan)?
  • How much money/resources/time do I need to complete my goal?
  • WhatwillIdoifIrunoutofmoney/ resources/time?
  • Some of the obstacles I might face are…?
  • If I face unexpected obstacles, then…?
  • If my plan were simplified to the essential elements needed for success, what will it look like?
  • Which things are essential and which are just nice to do?
  • Am I over complexifying things?
  • Am I oversimplifying things?
  • Focus on your most important must do actions. Must do’s are your building blocks and nice to dos are your “wall paintings,” which can wait.

A little trick you can do is to start with small actions. Big actions at first can create resistance in you and delay the work to be done. Instead you can start small and build on it gradually. If they are consistent and you aim to improve 1% every day it will bring huge outcome by the end of the year. Ideal plan has a mixture of small and big actions.

Where possible validate your assumptions externally. For example, if your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight over a year period, see if the weight you have lost after one month multiplied by 12 equals your target weight loss.
Once these important questions are answered and the assumptions are tested develop or adjust your action plan. Define time for each action and if you think there’s a good chance you will procrastinate and miss your deadline put up a sensible stake to increase your accountability or invite your friend to keep you accountable. If you can not
bet on yourself , then who will?
If you are more committed and motivated by reward, then give yourself something pleasurable once you accomplish action. Combination of both «pain» and «reward» can be an optimal solution to keep going.

Don’t do actions for the sake of doing them and looking busy, if they don’t bring results over time — eliminate them and pursue productive actions.

Takeaway

  • You need a solid action plan to reach your goals. If your goal is simple then the actions should be evident and straight forward. Just execute on it. Focus on action that bring best outcome.
  • If your goal is complex then you will need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances
  • Learning from people who have already achieved your goal will give you valuable tips to add to your strategy
  • Test out the assumptions of your plan before you begin