Casting a Vision – Part 5: Creating an Action Plan

Earlier in this series, I’ve shared about the need to re-align life, the concept of casting a vision, and using that vision to create small, measureable goals. Now on to what happens next – creating an action plan.

Now, I have to confess, most of the time I’m not doing some big ole process here. This is usually done in my journal or in my planner. This year I’m using an organizer, and I’ve found that I have the need to add new sections for goals that I’ve set that I keep coming back to, to refine the action plan. But last year, this was just done in my journal book.

I don’t do this on the computer usually. Mostly because I think differently on the computer than I do in writing. I’m not a linear thinker and I really just like to map things out visually and write in the margins.  And I like being able to tweak and plan anywhere I happen to be.

Basically what I do is focus on one goal at a time (and remember, I limit the number of goals I have at any one time so I can really get them done), and map out what it takes to achieve the goal.

Sometimes it’s really simple. For example, during a rough patch in my marriage I was dealing with a lot of negative self-talk about my husband. Not productive. And definitely not helping me reach my vision as a wife.

With prayer and reminders that I need to work on myself instead of being critical of my husband, I set a goal to make sure I came up with at least one positive thing that my hubby did each day and thank him for it.

As an action plan, all I needed was to make a conscious effort to every day 1) recognize one positive thing that he did or said and 2) make a conscious effort to thank him for it (either via email or in person), and 3) when something negative comes into my head, to make a conscious decision to replace it with a positive.

That’s it. that’s all I needed to do to meet my goal. It was actionable, measureable, and it worked.

Sometimes my action plans are bigger. For example, we have a really big goal to pay off all of our debt by the end of 2010. To get to this goal, I’ve had to map out a much, much larger action plan.

I need small, measureable action steps, with points for victory. It’s just too overwhelming to look at that debt number. But when I mapped out the action plan, and saw how once certain small points were met things would move so much faster, it was much easier to wrap my mind around the fact that we could really achieve the goal.

It’s easier for me to claim victory at the small points, knowing that each small step achieved is helping achieve the larger, greater goal, and ultimately moving me closer to that vision.

So, the point of casting a vision for me is to understand where I want to be, for if I know where I want to be, I can work with God’s help to get there.  But if I don’t know where I’m going, then I can’t complain that I’m not where I want to be.

Hope this series resonates with you in some way. If you are up to the task, I encourage you to cast your own vision, on paper (that’s key), for the different roles you have in your life. You don’t have to share them with anyone (this is the first time I’ve ever shared mine). 

By the very nature of thinking through, praying about, and writing down who you want to be in these different roles you have, setting goals, creating actions plans, and working those plans, you have much better chance of growing into that person.

…Shannon

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