Writing a personal action plan

I find myself doing this all the time.   Too worried about what people will think to say and do what I want.   Making excuses, dodging events, making up lies about why I can’t do something.

Okay so you have come to the point where you are looking at taking action.    You know more about your goals and what you want.   You have done your homework.   You know what your priorities are and what your most important goals are.    Our job now is to get to work and flesh them out in a bit more detail.   

Mahatma Gandhi once said “ you may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”.   I love this quote because it reminds me that doing nothing gets me nowhere.   If I want to succeed it is up to me to follow up my intentions with action.   I have to trust that the outcome of any action that I take is what I wanted and more.   

We are going to look at what an action plan is.   Then we will talk about why you need one.   Lastly we will look at how to develop an action plan. 


You will see lots of different explanations of what an action plan is.   All of them are totally valid and useful.   In this instance we will think of an action plan as the process that focuses your ideas.   It is an opportunity to put in place a detailed plan.   The plan will outline the actions needed and steps to be taken to reach your goals. With action planning it starts with you knowing exactly where you are at this point in time.


You don’t need an action plan for everything that you do.    It is most useful for bigger, long-term projects that involve more people and resources.   I know that when I am developing an action plan it helps me to clarify:

      • What I want to do
            • Deliberate – Time to sit down, no distractions, and think about and sort out what I am thinking.   What exactly do I want?   By When?   How will I get there?
            • Build a support network – work out which people might provide support to get there.
            • Share my thoughts – Taking the time to talk to other people about my journey.   They might have perspectives and ideas that I have not thought of.   Things that may help me gain clarity.
      • How I am going to do it.
            • Clarify my design – get a clearer idea of what exactly I hope to achieve
            • Accept responsibility – to know that the success or failure of my life and all my plans is in my hands.    To own it. 
      • How I will know that I am on the right track
            • Measure of success – To put in place bench marks, points in my journey when I will know if I am on the right track.   These are the points where adjustments can be made to correct or not.


Your action plan needs to as comprehensive as possible, given all the unknown variables.   You need to have a clear idea about where you are going.   Last thing, you need to make sure that you are clear about your current reality.   

  1. Write down the goals that you have chosen as clearly as possible
  2. What steps do you need to take to reach these goals
  3. Decide what you need to do to reach your goals
    1. Time – How long do I give myself to reach my goals
    2. Resources
      1. People
      2. Money
      3. Other
  4. How will you know what progress you are making
    1. Milestones
  5. Make adjustments to get back on track
    1. Change what you are doing / Try a new tack
    2. Change perspective

Now you can take what you need from this process.   Your mind and natural way of working will mean that some resonate with you.   Do those.