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Taking Action With Steps, Habits & Streaks

We’ve been creating rock-solid goals and now have them powered up and ready to implement. It is time to start taking action. In addition to breaking our goals down into action steps, you will learn the secret power of Habits and Streaks.

In the past few weeks, we’ve figured out what our Desired End States are. Created SMART goals to reach them. Powered up those goals by figuring out why we want them, and discovered what we will have to say No to get them.

Now it is time to TAKE ACTION.

The traditional and time test way to do this is to list the action steps that will get us to our goal. This would be a list of actions we should take, in a linear progression that will lead to the goal’s outcome.

But how do you create these actions?

I think the easiest and best way is to work backward from accomplishing your goal.

Imagine you have just completed your goal.

Don’t bask in that imaginary glory too long. It might cause you to feel you’ve already done it. Instead, think of the last action you took that lead you to that point.

Write down that action.

Now, what must you have done to accomplish that action?

Write that down.

Repeat this process until you reach right now.

Now you have a list of actions that will lead you to your goal. You can reverse the list to get the steps you must do starting now.

Then you can start scheduling the list or what ever you need to do to begin putting these things into action.

Let me give you an example from a goal I once made. I have a goal to speak at the Menfluential conference.

Menfluential is a two-day conference started by two men’s fashion YouTubers and focuses on personal development and fashion. I’ve been the last couple of years and made this goal after the first year.

It started as more of a Desired End State. I visualized myself standing before a group of hundreds of men speaking.

Then I created a SMART Goal.

Be a featured speaker at the Menfluential Conference in February 2020.
Then I began working backward from there. I imagined stepping out on to that stage to speak.

Then I asked: “What happen right before that? And before that?”

Right before that, I had been talking with other speakers backstage and reviewing my speech.

Before that, I had come to the conference from my hotel. Before that, I had traveled to Atlanta.

Before that, I had been practicing that speech over and over. Giving it in front of other audiences and getting feedback.

Before that, I had sent a video to the leaders of the conference asking to speak and showing them the speech so they – who didn’t know me – could see my ability.

Before that, I’d worked the speech to where I thought it was good enough to record and recorded it.

Before that, I had written the speech.

Before then, I’d picked a speech idea to do.

Before that, I’d come up with a bunch of ideas that would serve the Menfluental Audience.

Before that, I’d thought about who the audience was.

Now I am back to the present.

I haven’t accomplished this goal, but I’ve worked as many of the action steps as I can. I even came up with a contingency plan if they watch my video and don’t let me speak. I will offer to speak on short notice if someone else drops out.

I had a plan and I’ve worked that plan.

This brings us to a point I like to make when talking about action steps. I don’t like actions or goals that are outside my control.

I can’t make them accept my speech, but in this case, it is the only action outside my control.

Be careful when you are writing action steps that they are your actions.
You see it is easy to start taking actions that are other people doing the things that make your goal happen.

But then you have lost control over the outcome. Whenever possible, make an action step something you can do yourself.

That’s the traditional goal action method and it is critical, but I’d like to add a couple of concepts.

Habits and Streaks.

  • A streak the doing an action a certain number of times.
  • A Habit is doing something over and over at a regular interval.

It is great to have habits and streaks in your action list.

Your habits in weight loss, where you are going to form the habit of eating the same thing – or nothing – for breakfast every morning.

You see them in fitness, where you are going to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

If you consistently do a habit and you do the action correctly, you will accomplish your goal.

Streaks are similar, but generally not forever like a habit is.

NaNoWriMo is an example of a streak to accomplish a goal.

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo it is National Novel Writing Month. It is every November and the goal of doing NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November. The clearest way to do this is to write at least 1666 words every day of the month.

I did NaNo in 2017 and finished it. I create a Streak Calendar where I marked off each day that I reached my goal of 2000 words.

Yeah, I was an overachiever but I wanted to be done before Thanksgiving. Every day I wrote I put an X on that calendar when I wrote my quota. After a few days of Xs, it gets harder and harder to miss.

That’s the beauty of streaks and streak calendar once you get about 7-day marked you really don’t want to break the streak.

Now you know how to create a plan of action to accomplish your goals. As with all parts of goal setting, you should write these actions down.

You should also try and do the first action as soon as possible. Right now if you can. It will start building momentum to accomplish your goals.

Question of the Day: What actions are you going to take on your goals?

Leave your answer in the comments below.

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