I was doing a presentation to athletics coaches last week on planning & the planning process. In it I was stressing the importance of having a plan for everything. The plan starts with the dream or long term career goal (Olympic Gold medal) and you plan every step backwards down to what needs to be done in todays training session.

A well- structured plan is essential for success in almost everything. Most of us plan our day, our journey to work, our meals, what we are going to do at the weekend but how many of us have a well thought out structured plan for ourselves, our health, well being & long term happiness. I use the well-known quote “Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Are we planning to get the best out of ourselves, are we set to reach our potential or are we failing ourselves.

Do you know where you want to be in 12 months time or 5 years time & how you are going to get there?

What is required to get there?

What steps do you need to take?

The Planning Process

1. Information Gathering – Where are you currently & what is required to reach the next level & the long term goal?

2. Set realistic (SMART)* Outcome & Process Goals

OUTCOME GOALS – (Performance, result, ranking etc) E.g. to be the top sales person at my company, to have a happy family, to be a size 10)

PROCESS GOALS -(skill sets, competencies, behaviours that need to be developed to reach the outcome goals) E.g. to improve self belief & confidence, time management, work efficiently, exercise daily before work, drink 3L of water a day.

3. Develop a pathway to achieving the goals (Work backwards from the long term goals)

Break the pathway down into phases or manageable blocks (e.g. day, week, month, 3 months, 1 year, 4 years) Each phase / block has its own time phased objectives which will serve to meet the objectives / goals of the next phase or block. (E.g to drop 2 dress sizes in 3 months,=> drop 1 size in 6 weeks,=> exercise daily, =>exercise 3 times a week, => find a personal trainer.)

4. Carry out the plan for the first 1-2 blocks / phases.

5. Monitor, evaluate & adjust (the programme & progress).

6. Start the whole process again – Do not stop once the GOAL has been reached.

*(SMART – Specific, Measured, Achievable, Time phased,)

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