Strategies & Actions

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– by Jaime Willis

This past Saturday, we held our first live Introductory Goal Setting Workshop! It was a lot of fun for Matt and I, and the participants had a blast too. If you missed it, no worries–we already have two additional workshops scheduled for December 11 and January 8, so sign-up today!

At Saturday’s workshop, one of the questions participants asked was that we speak in a bit more detail about the difference between Strategies and Actions.
The backstory — you should already have identified a SMART goal that you want to work on based on your Core Values and your Personal Vision. For the purposes of our discussion, let’s assume your SMART goal is:
“To Make Two International Trips in the year 2011.”
Strategies are like the big buckets you need to focus on to accomplish your SMART goal. What are some strategies for the goal above?
1) Choose trip locations & dates
2) Create trip budgets & savings plans
3) Research more about trip locations
4) Plan key outcomes for trips
5) Deal w/ Trip Logistics
If I want to make two international trips next year, I need to cover each of the areas mentioned above–I have to know where I am going, how I am paying for it, what it’s like where I am going, what I want to do when I get there, and figure out the logistics of the trips (visas, shots, guides, packing, time off of work, traveling companions, plane tickets, accommodations, etc.).
Actions are all the steps you will need to take to complete a specific strategy. Since I already know where I am going (South Africa in February, Portugal in September), let’s focus on the budget. In order to budget for the trips (Strategy #2), I need to take the following actions.
1) Confirm trip dates and price out airfare on those dates.
2) Research & price out accommodations for those dates.
3) Research cost of ground transportation for both trips (will I need to rent a car? If not, how much should I anticipate spending in taxis and other public transport?)
4) Know how far the US Dollar goes in each location. (This will help me estimate costs for food, experiences, and shopping).
5) Total up estimated expenses. Add 10-20% to each trip total, depending on how good
you are at sticking to your budgets on vacation.
6) Create a funding timeline — usually, airfare needs to be bought month(s) in advance, so that is a large upfront cost. Accommodations are usually just reserved, but sometimes a deposit must be put down. Then, you need to have money saved to take on the trip.
7) Figure out how much you need to save each month to meet your budget, and where the money is coming from (in my case, I get a lot of my travel funding by doing paid consulting work on the side, so knowing how many consulting gigs I need to book and by when is critical).
Each of your action items should have a deadline attached to it, so you know what you need to doing on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis.
Matt and I recommend that you don’t create action items further out than 90 days. As long as your strategies and actions are written out and prioritized, you only need to focus on the things that need to get done now to achieve your goal. In three months, you can re-evaluate your plan and adjust accordingly.
Strategies & Actions are the building blocks to your goal achievement, so get out there & start achieving!
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META: We decided to migrate our Velocity Blog over here to Blogger so folks can interact with us better. Please feel free to comment on our posts, email us and ask questions, or forward blog posts on to your friends. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for reading. – Jaime

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