In order to develop a personal action plan, you need to create a set of goals. Effective goal setting can greatly enhance your motivation, in turn drastically increasing both the likelihood that you will achieve your goals and the degree to which you will enjoy both progressing toward and achieving your goals.
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The first activity you must undertake when aiming for a complete life makeover is to search your heart for what you are passionate about. Many people fail to achieve their goals simply because they set goals according to what other people want or what they believe they should want, rather than what they actually want. Without passion, you will find yourself unable to rally the enthusiasm necessary to pull the best effort out of yourself, according to author and personal success coach Dr. Philip E. Humbert. If your real desires are impractical or for some other reason unacceptable, try to state your desires in the most general way possible in order to find alternative ways of meeting them. Instead of "Have an affair with my secretary," for example, you could characterize your desire as "Inject more excitement and vitality into my life."
Start with lifetime goals covering every major area of life that you care about. To the extent that they matter to you, set artistic, career, education, family, financial, physical, pleasure and contribution goals, advises Mind Tools. You can then proceed to set medium- and short-term goals. Write your goals down and break even your short-term goals down into manageable sub-steps with specific benchmarks and deadlines, advises Hara Estroff Marano, editor in chief of "Psychology Today" magazine. This will allow you to connect what you do every day with your life plan.
Once you formulate long-, medium- and short-term goals and break them down into mini-goals, you will be in a position to receive constant feedback as you reach benchmark after benchmark. This will keep you motivated on a day-to-day basis. Review your goals regularly to keep track of your progress, advises Marano.
Devise a way to reward yourself as you achieve your goals, advises the Paradise Valley Community College academic advising services. However, be careful not to reward yourself in a way that undermines your goals; for example, do not reward yourself with a chocolate cake for meeting weight loss benchmarks.
Adjust your goals when the situation calls for it. Circumstances may change, or you may discover that your desires have changed. Perhaps your goal of making a $1 million will change when you find a modest-paying job that brings unanticipated fulfillment, for example. Write your goals on paper, but do not carve them onto a stone tablet.