An action plan for an action plan! Now that’s SMART.

Published on 9th October 2015 under Blog Topic - Professionals/Career Movers, Students, Training,

An action plan is a really useful tool for change. We often reach too high, too quickly and when change doesn’t ‘happen’, we can feel dejected and give up.

I once heard a story about a group of seasoned gardeners and their allotments. This group had been tending their plots for years. Each plot depicting the personality, preferences and passions of the gardener. Each year brought a new crop of young, fresh faced gardeners, delighted with their new patch of soil and full of plans to convert it into a productive and green coloured haven.

Each year the wise gardeners looked on as the newcomers toiled relentlessly for 2 days straight: breaking their back, blistering their fingers, until by the end of the first ‘allotment weekend’, they left battered and beaten by the huge task. “This allotment is not worth the effort” they say leaving. Some remained upbeat, put a brave face on it, sore but not sorry they had taken on this plot.

As the next weekend rolled around, the old timers watched and waited for the newbies. But a lot do not return. Why? My guess-they had taken on too much, too quickly. They were probably disillusioned as their dream for a beautiful garden were much harder than they expected.

What would have made it easier on these newcomers?

  1. Proper Expectations: What if the experienced allotment keepers had welcomed them, shown them around, reminded them that Rome wasn’t built in a day, or a weekend. What if they had made sure that they left the allotment that first weekend with love still in the tank for their little patch of glory!
  2. SMART Goals: Breaking down the ambitious dream into smaller bites, or in this case 6” x 6” sections would have made all the difference! Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic and Timed.
  • S- I will clear this corner of weeds and debris.
  • M – I will have a completely clear patch of earth ready for composting.
  • A – This should take 5 hours.
  • R – That’s about 2 hours on Saturday morning and 2 hours on Sunday morning. I’ll bring a picnic and stop for a good long lunch and hopefully meet some other gardeners too.
  • T – First weekend this section will be completed.
So when you approach any big job, remember to a) keep your goal in sight and b) break down your goals into manageable pieces. A little progression is so much more useful that the inertia of overthinking or the exhaustion of taking on too much.

So are you sold on the idea of an action plan yet?

Come on, Bloom where you’re planted!