By Alyssa Gregory

I’m going to get right to the point: Setting business goals is a waste of time if you’re not creating an action plan to support your goals.

Here’s the problem.

Let’s say your goal is to use your blog as a content marketing tool on social media so you can increase your pageviews by 15% before the end of the year.

You know what you want to accomplish, how you will do it, by when and it seems like a realistic target. So it’s a pretty solid business goal, right?

Yes, it’s a great goal..but it’s simply not enough.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with a small business owner who has done everything right with goal setting, yet they are simply not making progress. Why is this? It’s because they haven’t taken the second yet equally important step in goal setting — breaking down the goal into individual action items.

What is an action plan, anyway?

An action plan is kind of like a ramped up to-do list for your goals. At a minimum, it includes a list of very specific actions that need to be taken, who needs to do it and when it needs to be completed by. You can also add an overview of the resources that are required to get it done as well as challenges you anticipate facing. This gives you a very clear look at what needs to happen in order to achieve your goal.

Let’s take our example above. Our goal can include 10 or even 20 smaller actions that need to happen to move it forward. One action item may be to create a monthly content calendar to plan your blog posts and social sharing. Another may be to add an automatic feed of your blog posts to your Twitter account. And maybe you also need to update your blog to include more categories, or perhaps you want to add a email newsletter signup to your blog so you can leverage all of this new traffic.

If you don’t want to waste time setting goals you will never achieve, you need to take this step and create an action plan.

Download your own action planner template.

To help you get started, we created a free goal setting and action planner template (it’s editable in Word format) for you to try out. Take some time and think through your goals, break them down into smaller steps, and set the intention to do at least one thing every day to get you closer to your goals.

Goal Setting Action Planner Template Download

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