Ways to Make Your Goals More Concrete and Action-Oriented

Setting goals is important, but the real work begins in figuring out the specific actions needed to achieve them. Vague, abstract goals like “save more money” or “get healthier” leave too much room for interpretation on what to actually do. Getting clear on concrete steps makes your goals actionable. Here are some tips:

  1. Define metrics and milestones that indicate progress. A goal to “build your net worth” is vague. Be precise – “Grow my net worth from $50,000 now to $100,000 in 2 years” shows the target and timeframe. Metrics create accountability.
  2. Break big goals down into smaller sub-goals that build on each other. Improving overall health can be broken into goals of exercising 3 times per week, eating 5 servings of fruits/vegetables daily, and losing 10 pounds in 3 months. Mini goals feel more manageable. 
  3. The key is to get very specific on the incremental actions that will drive you toward your big vision. Great goals require crystal clear plans for execution. By taking the time to make your goals concrete and action-oriented, you set yourself up for success. 

  4. Describe specific activities needed to reach the goal. Don’t just say “I want to travel more” – detail the steps: “Research destinations, create a $5,000 travel budget to fund 2 vacations this year, book flights and hotels by March.” Spelling out the how makes it actionable.
  5. List any skills, tools or knowledge needed to complete the actions. Do you need to learn a new software program or take a course? Does a fitness goal require getting a gym membership or workout equipment? Identify resources.
  6. Schedule your actions on a calendar. Actually write down target completion dates for steps. This creates accountability and a sense of urgency. 

  7. Anticipate potential obstacles so you can plan ahead. If a goal requires making daily progress on a project, how will you ensure you make time for it? Identify challenges and solutions.
  8. Involve others for support and collaboration. Share your goals and timeline with a mentor or peer group. Make periodic check-ins. Getting input and encouragement from others helps achieve.
  9. Review and revise goals regularly. Look at what’s working and what’s not and make changes so they remain relevant. Refine techniques to stay on track. Consistent monitoring keeps you moving forward.