Monday, July 27, 2009

Making a Plan and Taking Action

By Gen Wright

When clients are first tasked with making a plan in order to take action, I initially ask them to think about a time when they were planning a vacation. What is the first question you asked yourself? You most likely considered a destination. Perhaps it's a dream safari vacation on the Serengeti, or maybe a more relaxing stay on the Caribbean. Whatever you decided, you needed a map to mark out your directions, or a travel itinerary. If you don't have a plan in place, chances are slim that you will reach your destination in the time allotted for your vacation. This type of planning is critical not just to achieving an enjoyable vacation, but to most life-goals.

Let's take a moment to review the concept of "S.M.A.R.T." goals; goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and have Timely expectations. Make sure that the goal you are working toward is something that you really want. Remember that a goal that you set for yourself cannot contradict other goals in your life. For instance, if you want to try every pizzeria in Montreal, but you have also set a goal to lose twenty pounds in the next six months, well something has got to give and it won't be the twenty pounds if you decide visiting the pizzeria's is a priority.

No one said it was going to be easy, but you have to consider six areas of your life when you start setting your goals, so that you don't go against other equally important aspirations. Most commonly these areas are divided into family and home, financial and career, spiritual and ethical, physical and health, social and cultural, as well as mental and educational.

It's also important to consider writing your goals in a positive, rather than in a negative statement, including as much detail in the statement as possible to ensure that you have put parameters around realizing your goals. Don't make it too easy. The best way to visualize your goals is to write them down and review them each morning and evening. Practice visualization on a consistent basis because this process will start both your subconscious and conscious mind working towards achieving your goal.

Daily decision-making can either lead you away from your ultimate goal, or take you closer to it. When you make choices during the day, consider your goal. If your choice doesn't move you closer to your goal, it may be time to make a value assessment to determine if in fact this is the right decision at this time. And, unless someone is critical to helping you achieve your goal, do not freely share your thoughts with others. The negative attitude from friends, family and neighbours can sometimes drag you down quickly. It is very important that you maintain positive self-talk.

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Liz Cascagnette is a Career Coach and President of Envision Career Coaching. To find out more about what a career coach can do for you to put you on the track to your dream career, visit her website at While you're on the website, don't forget to sign up for her free monthly newsletter providing tips and advice on setting and achieving the goals toward the life you've always wanted.

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