How to Turn Your Annual Goals into Quarterly Action Plans

Welcome to the sequel article to last week’s article on creating an annual goal plan that you can actually stick to so you can achieve your goals!

If you want a full audio recap of this approach, check out my 12/25/19 episode of the Beyond the Image Podcast where I discuss all of this in detail.

So in last week’s session we discussed how to lay out your goals and plans for the entire year. Now we need to take the next step to break these big goals into quarterly chunks.

We do this using a new page (or a new sheet in EXCEL or GOOGLE SHEETS) we call the 90 DAY ROADMAP. Also often known as the gap map.

IMPORTANT: Only plan the 90 day roadmap for the quarter you are either in or about to enter. It would be a disservice to fill out a roadmap for two or three quarters down the road as it would not be able to factor in the results of what you’ve done to that point. So we focus on the next 90 days, 12 weeks and 1 quarter.

In the furthest left column you will write out each of the goals from your annual sheet that apply to the first quarter of the year. We know these because we gave each of the goals a deadline. But not every deadline applies to 1/1/20 and 4/2/20. So only select the goals that apply and copy them over to this new sheet.

BONUS: If you want to increase your likelihood and motivation in achieving each of these goals, write in the next column (or underneath the goal) WHY. Why do you want to achieve this goal? Why is it important? Why will you devote your time and energy to making this goal a reality? This comes from how we engineer and sustain motivation (check out my podcast on that very topic of hacking meditation in 2020).

Then in the next column write TODAY. This is where you will track where you are right now on that goal. For example, if I were to be tracking my goal of reading 50 books a year, which is an average of about 1 a week, I would need to read 12 in the first quarter of the year. However I have already managed to read 2. So if I were creating this today I would write the number 2 in where I am at today. For you this could be zero or it could be your current BMI if a body goal, or how much you’ve made thus far if a financial goal, etc. This box cannot and should not include any emotion or feelings you have about where you are it (that is the WHY BOX). It is just the facts. This is where I am today.

Now, skip over a few columns to the right and write where you need the goal to be at the end of the quarter or 12 weeks. If the entire goal has to be done by the end of the quarter that is what you write. For my annual goal of reading 50 books, well I just need to finish 12 books by the end of the quarter.

Here comes the fun part. Now in the columns in between you have the GAP. The left side is where you are now, and the right side is where you need to be in 12 weeks. Use the middle columns (as many as you want) to fill out where you need to be each month and each week (setting benchmarks) as well as the corresponding actions you must take. To reference back to my reading goal, I have 10 books to read in the next 10 weeks (as of when I am writing this). That is a book a week.

I have another goal to attend a networking event every quarter and at that event introduce myself to 2 new people. How does this break out into 12 weeks?

The first weeks I might set the action of researching half a dozen different options to attend. Then I might set the action of registering and attending in weeks 4-8. Then in weeks 9-12 I would set another action of sending follow up messages to the two people I happened to meet at the event.

Why are we getting so granular? Because that is what helps ensure we achieve our goals.

If we set a ginormous goal of say hosting a conference, or creating an online membership platform – that seems so big and insurmountable that we don’t even know where to begin.

The 90 Day Roadmap breaks each and everyone of our goals into WEEKLY action items. This forces us to think critically about each goal, break it apart into manageable chunks that we can take action on.

Tune into next week’s article where I cover how to turn this 90 Day Roadmap into DAILY ACTION ITEMS!

As always, we love it when you share this article online or with a friend!

James Patrick
JamesPatrick.com
IG @jpatrickphoto

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