ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY SAID ‘A GOAL WITHOUT A PLAN IS JUST A WISH’.
When we set a goal, we establish clear and compelling benefits. Setting a goal creates focus and inspires commitment. But setting a goal is not an end in itself: it is the beginning of a process.
To make a goal a reality rather than simply a wish, we need to build our capacity to make independent choices that will move us beyond our current situation, positively influence our circumstances and move us closer to attaining our goal. Building this capacity—or agency—depends upon us developing the mindset, capabilities and tools that enable us to demonstrate and sustain goal-directed behaviours.
Think about your goal. What mindset, capabilities and tools do you need to build your agency to influence your circumstances? What strategies could you engage to achieve your goal? What actions will you take?
When identifying strategies that enable goal attainment, investigate evidence-based options. Using tried and tested strategies will build confidence that we are investing in an effective process.
Next, we need to consider the resourcing of our strategies. Resources may include time, materials, learning programs and coaching. A lack of resources can negatively impact the pursuit of our goal; adequately planning the resources we’ll need can avoid this. When a goal requires more resources than we have, we may need to recalibrate the goal or consider it as a sub-goal that contributes to the attainment of a greater goal.
Strategies should be aligned to time-framed milestones that identify efficacy and indicate progress towards goal attainment. If we fail to meet our milestones, we may need to reconsider our strategies and their resources. We may even need to recalibrate the goal to ensure it is, in fact, attainable.
Developing a plan
To maximise the likelihood of attaining our goal, we need to develop a plan that clearly identifies:
- a clear and compelling goal and its benefits
- the mindset, capabilities and tools required to demonstrate agency and influence
- the strategies to develop agency
- the resources to deliver the strategies
- time-framed performance milestones.
A well-structured and considered plan is the difference between a goal being simply a wish and it becoming reality.