Goal Setting & Action Planning

Goal Setting & Action Planning teaser
When we set ourselves goals it can sometimes be overwhelming to think about all the things we need to do to reach a goal. This may make it difficult to get motivated. Action planning can help us to reach our goals by breaking it down into achievable steps.
 
Setting and achieving goals can be achieved more easily by setting an Action Plan on a weekly basis to follow. An action plan is a specific action that you plan to achieve over the next week. You must feel confident to achieve your plan. An action plan can be made of specific minute steps to achieve the desired goal. It doesn’t matter how minute the step to achieve so long as you achieve it and it intrinsically motivates you to take the next step.

Action planning
When we set ourselves goals it can sometimes be overwhelming to think about all the things we need to do to reach a goal. This may make it difficult to get motivated. Action planning can help us to reach our goals by breaking it down into achievable steps. The steps must be action specific; weight loss is not an action, rather it is a result of actions.
 
For example a person that would like to lose 10kg could break their goal into one of these weekly actions:
  • Swap evening chocolate for a piece of fruit on 3 nights of the next week
  • Increase physical activity by walking for 30 minutes on 4 days of next week
  • Find and purchase a smaller plate to serve dinner on.
  • Swap full fat milk to low fat
  • Attend a fitness class 2 times over the next week 
Now that you have some steps to work on, decide which one is most important for you to work on over the next week. It is important that you focus on only one of the steps each week.
 
To be successful in your action plan ensure that it is:
  • Something that YOU want to achieve
  • Realistic and achievable – don’t set yourself up for failure. Measure this by setting yourself a confidence level out of 10.
  • Action specific – for example your overall goal may be to improve your fitness. This is not an action, rather it is the results of your actions. 
 
Setting yourself an action plan
  
1. Answer these questions:
  • What? The action you want to focus on e.g. walking, swapping chocolate for fruit, finding an exercise buddy
  • How much? Time, distance or amount e.g. 30 minutes, 2 km, 1 portion
  • When? When you will achieve this action e.g. time of day or days of the week
  • How Often? How many days in the next week you would like to focus on the action? Avoid saying every day as this may be setting yourself up for failure.
 
2. Set yourself a confidence level out of 10 with 10 being extremely confident
  • Give yourself a score out of 10. If your score is less than 7 you will need to go back and reassess your action plan as it is unlikely that you will achieve it if you a not confident enough. Break the action down further. E.g. If you have said you will walk for 30 minutes for 4 days of the week but you only have a confidence level of 6/10 ask yourself if this confidence level would be higher for an action plan of walking 30 minutes for 3 days.
Kate Gregory
Chronic Disease Nurse
360 Health + Community
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