How to create a foolproof 30-day plan to nail your goals
Have you ever sat down at your desk and wondered what you should be focussing on?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and struggled to work out how to tackle your to-do list?
Or have you ever snoozed the same task, week after week, because you weren’t ‘in the mood’, or weren’t sure exactly what you needed to do?
These are symptoms of an ineffective plan, and they can leave you feeling frustrated, daunted and ready to vacuum the spare bedroom to within an inch of its life.
A lot of my clients struggle with planning and I have also been there myself.
Yet, plans are important because they are our instruction manuals for work and life. Plans give us a framework and a step-by-step process to achieve the specific results we want.
I used to think I was good at planning, but I realised I was kidding myself.
So, having decided to get off that train to nowhere, I created a foolproof 30-day plan so I could start being more productive and focused, and finally finish work on time.
Now I get more things done AND have energy and motivation left over for the rest of my life!
This article shows you how to use a simple 30-day plan to conquer your world – whether that means saving $500, losing 5kg, getting 10 new clients or consistently exercising 4 days per week.
Why a 30-day plan?
Have you ever wondered how to make a plan that actually delivers the results you want?
Plans usually fail because they’re too big or multifaceted. You might be highly capable, but that doesn’t mean that you can do everything at once.
To get off that treadmill of unfulfilled expectations, you need two things – focus and specificity.
A 30-day plan gives you this.
A short time frame like 30 days makes you focus on realistically completing just one or two things. With a simple and focused plan, you will feel a massive sense of relief – and enthusiasm to start.
Now, here’s how to get started on a foolproof 30-day plan.
Getting in the Mood
Speaking of enthusiasm, planning requires creative thinking so you can work out all the nuances and get the timing and actions right.
Stress closes down creative thinking, so I recommend spending about 10 minutes before you plan to become relaxed, calm, positive and open to ideas.
You could create a pre-planning ritual like exercise, a walk, reading a book, listening to an inspiring podcast, listening to music, standing in the garden or meditating.
Experiment to see what works best.
Creating your 30-day plan
The 30-day planning process is actually pretty simple. Here are the steps.
1. Define one simple, specific outcome
Start by choosing ONE simple and specific result or outcome to achieve within 30 days.
If your end goal is too big or too vague, it’s hard to identify the action steps you need to take to get there, and ….oh, the kitchen floor needs sweeping.
Some examples of simple, specific outcomes are:
- Earn $500 in your business in the next 30 days
- Lose 3kg in the next 30 days
- Publish the home page for my website in the next 30 days.
2. Brainstorm the action steps and allocate time
Being specific is especially important if you lack experience or knowledge in the area you’re choosing to focus on.
Let’s say you want to build a basic website, but you’ve never done it before.
This is the kind of goal that could end up getting snoozed for the next 40 weeks in your calendar, because you don’t know what to do or how to start.
- Handy hint: overwhelm usually means there are too many things or too many unknowns.
The way to get clarity is to brainstorm all the steps involved to reaching the goal.
This means chunking down the outcome into the smallest tasks possible, then allocating an estimate of time required to complete each step.
Here’s a sample brainstorm of specific tasks to build a basic website for an absolute beginner.
Notice the specificity in each task (e.g. number of people) and the time you allow for each task:
- Ask 3 IT pros which platforms they think are best (friends aren’t necessarily experts; 1 hour)
- Research the main steps to getting a domain name (30 minutes)
- Decide on the platform, hosting and domain name and purchase (15 minutes)
- Follow the tutorial videos for setting up the site (1 hour)
- Review text on 3 competitors’ website for ideas (30 minutes)
- Review notes from ideal clients to pull out pain point and vision words (1 hour)
- Watch a ‘how to write home page copy’ tutorial (30 minutes)
- Write some text for the home page (1 hour)
- Reflect on who you are; strengths, personality traits, vision, do some quizzes (1 hour)
- Write some text for the about me page (1 hour)
- Write some text to describe your services (1 hour)
- Follow a tutorial to load the text onto those pages (30 minutes)
- Research images sizes required (30 minutes)
- Upload images to the web pages (30 minutes)
If you get stuck with the brainstorming, ask yourself some logical questions like ‘what would I need to start with?’ or ‘who could I ask?’ or even ‘what would be the next logical step?’
As you can see, brainstorming allows you to see how much work is involved in achieving the goal.
Then, you can more easily decide whether to hire someone instead, or DIY.
You can identify any sticking points that indicate you lack knowledge.
You have clear time frames for completing tasks to avoid dithering and create focus.
With a list of specific tasks and estimated times in hand, you can also work out how realistic and achievable your 30-day goal is and can scale it back if necessary.
For example, you might decide that building a basic website in 30 days is totally unrealistic, so you could scale the goal back to simply choosing the platform, hosting and a domain name instead.
Imagine how good you’d feel if the steps were clear and you felt could actually achieve the end goal?
The truth is, you want to feel excited, motivated to start, and to enjoy the feeling of achievement just as much as you want the outcome.
This brainstorming exercise is how you get all of it.
3. Work out how to measure progress
With a list of tasks in place, you’re ready to make sure they’re all in a logical order.
Then, you can come up with some milestone outcomes and dates so you can check that you’re on track as you go.
For the website example, it might be:
- Hosting and domain completed by 6th August
- Competitor research and tutorials completed by 12th August
- Text written by 21st August
- Pages uploaded with images by 30th
Checking progress allows you to deal with any obstacles or sticking points so that you can problem solve, change course or get help.
After all, you’re not getting married to the original plan.
To succeed, you need to be agile enough to make changes to your outcome and next stages if it makes sense.
If a milestone event is missed, you can either flop onto the couch in a huff, or you can ask a question such as ‘what can I do to get past this?’
Then you can work out a more realistic end date, get help or change the rest of your plan so that you still win in the end, anyway.
4. Check your excitement levels
Detail can be an energy robber and if you’re learning something from scratch, there are often more micro steps and mistakes ahead than you first realise which can be a bit daunting.
Know that this is ahead and decide how you will handle those feelings. A thought-model is a good start.
But if the overall goal seems awful or unexciting, or is something that fills you with dread, you will probably give in.
I’d suggest altering the goal or choosing something different.
5. Schedule it in
With all that said and done, it’s time to make it happen.
You schedule your action steps into your diary, with only one task per day and plenty of time either side.
For tasks that require creativity, such as writing, make sure you schedule them when you will have the most head space and energy to do them.
For unknowns allow extra time – up to 100% more.
Leave white space in your diary to accommodate overruns in time.
Thatʼs the whole process of preparing, drafting and scheduling your 30-day plan.
Give it a go, see what you learn!
It gets easier with practice and you will start kicking more goals and get more actually achieved, than you ever thought possible.
What if you had a plan for the next 5 years?
Pop your details in below for immediate access to the full 5 year plan workbook training which includes the 30 day plan process