Taking meaningful action is an important component of the goal setting process. Goals are powerful but rarely realized without action being taken to achieve them. Many people set goals and feel that the real work is done. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In many respects, the work has just begun. For example, having a goal of losing 15 pounds is noble but will not be realized if specific action is not determined and taken. If you establish and execute specific steps such as being more judicious about your diet or exercising a certain number of days a month, the possibility that your goals will be achieved increases dramatically.

The process of taking action in a consistent and organized way begins with setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) in the most important areas of life. The time frame will vary depending on the nature of the goal. I often encourage clients to think in terms of 1, 3 and 5-year goals. We also discuss legacy goals, which can be as long 200 years or longer.

“Create a definite plan carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.” – Napoleon Hill

After goals have been established, an action plan should be developed for each goal. The action step process begins with evaluating the benefits of achieving a goal and the losses to be avoided. This is followed by proactively thinking through potential obstacles and developing solutions for each obstacle. Subsequently, each step necessary to achieve a goal should be listed along with the target date for completion. Preferences for managing accountability should also be considered.

Clearly setting meaningful goals and establishing action steps for achieving them can lead to personal fulfillment and high levels of performance. Be proactive about goal setting and taking action. Then, reflect to see how well you did.