From Resolution to Action - Designing a Plan of Action

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We’ve got a resolution. We’ve connected it to our values. We’re inspired by our long-term vision.

 Now what?

 Now we need to make a plan to turn our intention into action.

1. Smaller steps are easier than a huge leap.

How about breaking down a big resolution into smaller achievable steps, starting small and adding to it, until we’re ready to go for the whole thing?

2. Logistics matter.

When is the best time to start? When and where are we going to engage in the new activity? What is needed? If we’re planning on working on an ongoing habit, how can we stay focused on what we want to accomplish throughout the day?

3. Overcoming obstacles.

What could possibly get in the way of implementing the intended change? How can we overcome each obstacle? What would help?

Below are examples of Plans of Actions for two different intentions:

Example 1: Exercising regularly.

  • Intention: 30-min run three times per week.
  • Logistics: Running in the neighborhood from 7-7:30am, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
  • Obstacles: Being tired and/or hungry, "not feeling like it" when the alarm clock goes off.

What a Plan of Action could look like:

  • Week 1: Going to bed 30 min earlier and waking up 30 minutes earlier.
  • Week 2: Getting up at the earlier time and getting dressed in workout clothes. Eat a small snack of dried fruit.
  • Week 3: All of the above + 15 min brisk walk or another easily manageable workout.
  • Week 4: Taking the workout up a notch, until reaching the goal of running 30 min three times per week.

Make sure you master a step before going to the next one. It’s ok if a small step takes a few weeks to get integrated into your routine.

Example 2: Stopping eating a daily candy bar.

  • Intention: No more candy bar as afternoon snack.
  • Logistics: Daily morning ritual to focus on our intention (right after getting dressed/showered).
  • Obstacles: Feeling hungry, cravings sweets, needing something comforting.

What a Plan of Action could look like:

  • Week 1: Setting up the new daily morning ritual.
  • Week 2: Morning ritual + Adding another comforting habit before eating the daily candy car (a cup of your favorite tea, rubbing your hands with a fragrant lotion, etc).
  • Week 3: All of the above + Eating only half a candy bar + Eating an alternate healthy snack + Stopping purchasing candy bars.
  • Week 4: Morning ritual + No more candy bar. Eat a healthy afternoon snack and indulge in the new comforting habit each time the craving for candy bars arises.

For some, it’s easier to quit cold turkey. Consider trying the progressive approach if cold turkey has not worked long-term for you.

Journaling Questions:

  • How can I break down my intention in smaller achievable steps?
  • When, where, and how am I going to implement the desired change?
  • What obstacles are in the way? How can I overcome each of them?
  • What resources, tools, and technology could assist me?