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This series we are writing very simple life plans for the coming year. If you have missed the first two posts, read them HERE and HERE.

My desire is we realize all, or at least some, of the dreams and goals we have this year. I’m convinced many of our resolutions – if we make them – are reachable if we have a little more intentionality and discipline. Many refuse to make resolutions, because they have repeatedly failed at keeping them. The purpose of these posts is to help you start the year on a good path towards reaching those goals.

Today we add another step. Let me be honest. This step is not as fun as setting goals — at least for people wired like me. This is a little more difficult and will take a little more time to complete, but it is a vital step to the success of your plans.

Chances are good if you fail to meet your goals, not doing this step well is the more likely reason.

In this step, we will write some action steps, which will help us reach our specific goals. The question you should attempt to answer here is: What specific action steps do I need to take to ensure I reach my goals?

Be specific here. The more specific the action step the greater chance you have to complete it. I continue to use the same hypothetical set of goals for illustration purposes. Below you will see the specific goals followed by the action steps.

Lose 10 pounds – I want to lose 10 pounds by (Insert Realistic Date Here) by eating less and exercising more.

  • Exercise on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Limit eating fast food at lunch to twice a week
  • Stop drinking diet soft drinks and drink more water
  • Keep track of calories, attempting to eat less than 2,000 calories per day

Improve my marriage communication – I want my wife and I to argue less about things, simply due to poor communication. I want to understand her better and find more times when we are on the same page without arguing to get there. I want us to be able to talk through issues without raising our voice at each other.

  • Write questions for our date nights to answer together to ask one another. (There are actually great resources for this. I have a few in THIS POST.)
  • Read one marriage book together and do one Bible study together
  • Attend a marriage conference this year
  • Have a date night every week

Pay off my credit card – I want to pay off $7,000 worth of debt by (Insert Realistic Date Here).

  • Limit eating dinner out to once a week
  • Work to refinance the house
  • Write a realistic budget by Jan 30th. (Set a date approximately 30 days out)
  • Read the book “I Was Broke and Now I’m Not” by Joe Sangl
  • Complete Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

Read through the Bible – I want to be able to say I have read the entire Bible and finish all of it this year, without losing interest in three months. I want to read the Bible consistently throughout the year at least 5 days per week.

  • Use one of YouVersion’s daily reading plan
  • Not check Facebook or email until I’ve read the Bible
  • Follow along with my small group curriculum
  • Get the YouVersion smart phone application

Write a book – Let’s say you want to finish one of the many book ideas you have, have it completely written, and either have a publisher for the book or decide to self-publish. (These dates are for example. You set the realistic date that works for you.)

  • Write a book proposal by January 30th
  • Send out proposal letters to book publishers and agents by March 1st.
  • Outline book chapters by Feb 15th
  • Write a chapter every two weeks beginning March 1st

As I stated yesterday, during this step you may decide to alter some of your goals — or even scrap one of them — that’s okay — they’re your goals. You are far more likely to follow through with goals you fully believe you can accomplish.

Tomorrow we add another step. There’s just a little more to do to ensure success. You’re almost there.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Jon says:

    Two suggestions:

    1. Losing weight. And believe me, I'm still working on this one. But here's a plan that seems to work. Start and stick with your exercise plan. Before you start the change in eating, for one week count all of the calories you eat. You can use for help in counting. Then calculate the average number of calories that you consumed daily. Then to start, subtract 300-500 calories from that number and that's the number you are now allowed per day. Be faithful on keeping at or below that number and with your exercise you should be able to still enjoy eating and lose weight.

    2. Marriage. Read "Sacred Marriage" and "Love and Respect" and try and make those concepts a part of your daily interactions with your wife (she should read them as well). And I'm still working on that as well, as you know.

  • Laurinda says:

    The book goal sounds aggressive. But I'm going to try to do the same. I love the action plan.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Yea, it's a hypothetical situation and I would guess you'd need to have the ideas stirring already about a book…but this could be me!

  • Kristen says:

    thanks for sharing this! I am really encourage, planning today with my husband for business but you have given some great insight, blessings!

  • Craig Hicks says:

    Great thought! This def my weakest link. I have vision, set goals & think of things to to accomplish them, but have never wrote out an action plan. I’ll be using this for our church as well. Thanks!