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Goals vs Actions Steps

Goals, as important as they are, can keep us from achieving what’s most important to us if we focus on them too much. "Goals are overrated." I'll never forget the first time I heard my Life Coach Trainer John Andrew Williams say this. He wasn't saying that we shouldn’t have goals because we absolutely should. But the goal itself shouldn’t be the main thing we focus on each day. Instead we should focus on the actions we need to take in order to achieve the goal.

A goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim. If we spend most of our time focusing on our desired goal, we will not get as much accomplished as we would if we focused on completing the required action steps needed in order to achieve the desired goals.

Action is defined as “the process of doing something typically to achieve an aim.” When focusing on goals, we tend to wish, hope and imagine. It’s not until we begin to take the actions required that we begin to make progress. I encourage you to spend time coming up with very specific and detailed goals. But after the goal is identified shift your focus on to the action steps you can take that will help you achieve the goals.


Goal – To have a week vacation in Jamaica

Action Steps – I’m going to work extra hours on the weekends & put the money in savings

We are more likely to get to Jamaica if we focus on taking the actions steps needed to raise the money to pay for the trip, then if we focus on the fact that we want to go to Jamaica. Focusing our attention on the goal it-self does not produce any results, results come when action is taken.

More examples of Goas vs Action Steps:

Goal: I want to lose 50lbs

Action Step: I’ll exercise 3 times on Mon, Wed & Fri. after work

Goal: I want a new job

Action Step: I will submit 2 applications per week on Tues. & Thurs

Goal: I want to own a successful photography business

Action Step: I will create and post my price list & my best pictures

Of course all of these examples above require more action steps, but the idea is that if we focus on taking specific actions steps we will be able to complete them in a timely manner and move on to the next action step. While focusing on the goal usually results in us wishing, hoping and imagining what it will be like when we achieve it. There is nothing wrong with wishing, hoping an imagining, but I encourage you to take action.


After you have identified a goal that you which to focus on, answer the following questions:

  • What actions have you seen used by others to achieve similar goals?

  • What small action steps will you take this week to get you closer to reaching your goal?

  • When (date & time) will you take this action step?

  • How will you hold yourself, or who will hold you accountable to ensure that complete the action?


Please let me know what your goals is and what action steps you plan to take toward achieving it.

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