Goal Coaching: “Plan the Work, Then Work the Plan”

By Scott Rosberg

March 20, 2013 - Lexington, KY, USA - Butler head coach Brad Stevens answers questions during a news conference as the team prepares for the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Butler plays Bucknell on Thursday. (Credit Image: © Pablo Alcala/TNS/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Setting goals can be daunting, but these goal coaching tips will help you prepare and achieve yours this year.

2019! Can you believe it? It’s here. And yet, it seems like at the beginning of every year, we say the year out loud and exclaim, “I can’t believe it’s (insert year). Where did last year go?”

In fact, it seems like we say that with every passing season, every passing quarter, every passing month – “Where did the time go?”

The time went where it always goes. One second, one minute, one hour at a time – each day moves by at EXACTLY the same pace it ever did. Yet, we are stunned whenever a new milestone takes place, and we are overcome with how fast the time ticked by.

Time goes by the same way every day. It is we as individuals who do not “go by” the same way every day. We have life happening to us in a variety of ways at a variety of paces from a variety of directions, every single day. Some days seem to drag on, and some seem to fly by. It is not that time is doing anything different – we are.

We need to recognize this phenomenon and then prepare for it. We need to understand that time is going to move on at the same pace every day. How we prepare for it and then how we execute our preparation will determine how it moves on each day.

Set Challenging Yet Attainable Goals

Those of you who have followed these posts for multiple years know that at the end of one year or beginning of the next one, I do at least one post on goal setting. For the last three years, I touched on some ideas from leadership guru Michael Hyatt and his “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever” program. I highly recommend you check that program out or at the very least his book Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals. Hyatt has some outstanding ideas and methods for organizing your life and setting what he calls “SMARTER” goals.

But I am not touting or advancing Michael Hyatt this year. It’s not because I don’t believe in him or his program. It’s because this year I am on the Scott Rosberg program for organization and goal setting. I am experimenting with my own plan and my own ideas.

This is not to say that I am a goal setting and planning expert. I am still working through all kinds of ways and means for setting and accomplishing the various goals I have each year. I have studied the goal setting practices of people like Michael Hyatt, Brendon Burchard, and many other other coaches and leadership gurus for so many years, that I have taken bits and pieces of all that they have said and started to amalgamate them into my own format.

As with most things, I don’t have all the answers – far from it. In fact, I probably have far fewer answers than a lot of people out there. However, what I do have is knowledge accumulated from various ways that have and have not worked for others and for myself. I have the experience of others and of myself to guide me in different directions.

I take what I’ve learned and formulate a plan for attacking the new year. I then decide what might help lead me in the right direction to accomplish what I want for the year. I do this by establishing my goals for the year. Usually, I have about 10 of them.

I try to make sure that they are goals that are achievable, while at the same time challenging. I want to be pushed out of my comfort zone a bit – not so much that I avoid them, but enough that I can’t just achieve them without much work. Goals that are achievable, yet challenging, are inspiring. They help us to focus our attention. We feel we can be successful, but we know we need to work to achieve them.

Break Down Big Goals Into Smaller Goals

Once I have come up with my 10 yearly goals, I then break them into quarterly goals. There is no way that I can be successful establishing 10 goals and trying to focus on all 10 of them at once. We need to focus on “one thing” at a time to be effective. We need to zero in on those things that will help us achieve what we want to achieve. If we are constantly being pulled in different directions, we will never go in the one direction we need to go to be successful. By breaking my goals up into quarterly goals, I start down the path of narrowing my focus.

However, the narrowing doesn’t end there. I will then look at each month within the quarter to see if I can zero in on one thing in particular even more so. I will find out what can be accomplished in one month and focus on it, as opposed to a larger goal.

For instance, if I have a goal to complete a new book this year, I will not have the book as the goal for one month. I will pick out a number of chapters to have completed by the end of that month. In fact, for that kind of a goal, I will break it down further into weekly and daily goals in order to provide a more concrete plan for achieving it.

The concept of breaking my quarterly goals into monthly/weekly goals and zeroing in on those is a somewhat new step for me this year. I have always done the yearly and quarterly goals, and I have looked at what needs to be done each month, week, and day to accomplish them. But, I have never really broken them down into this much detail.

This year I am going to break down the quarterly goals into monthly and weekly goals so as to focus myself even more. I will be experimenting with this concept all year long (I hope). I will report to you how it is going (or how it went) as the year goes on. As it is only the second week of January as I write this, I have no results to report on yet, only aspirations of what might be!

“Plan The Work, Then Work The Plan”

The first key to all of this is that I am preparing. I have a plan of attack. I have taken the time to think things through, determine my goals, and write down those goals. I am setting myself up for success by figuring out what I want to accomplish and by when I want to accomplish them. If I don’t have this part of the deal set up properly, the rest of it won’t work. It is like building a house. Without a solid foundation, the rest of the house is on shaky ground, and it cannot stand up to the rigors that the weather and the world will throw at it.

The second key to all of it working is to figure out the best methods to attack the plan. It’s been said that one must “plan the work, then work the plan.” That is a great line for the concept of goal setting and goal attainment. After we establish our goals, we need to take action in order to achieve them. Next post, I will tackle the concept of taking action in order to “work our plan.”


More from Scott Rosberg: Creating a Culture of Success in the Locker Room | Bench Behavior – It’s Important!

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Scott Rosberg
Teaching and Coaching have been two of my greatest passions since I began my career over 30 years ago. I have always believed that as coaches, we are teachers just like any classroom teacher. However, we are entrusted with so much more than just teaching skills and techniques of our specific sports. We are role models, counselors, and educators of the many life lessons that sports can teach young people. Therefore, it is imperative that we intentionally work to teach those lessons to our athletes. You can find more articles like this at: http://www.greatresourcesforcoaches.com/
March 20, 2013 – Lexington, KY, USA – Butler head coach Brad Stevens answers questions during a news conference as the team prepares for the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Butler plays Bucknell on Thursday. (Credit Image: © Pablo Alcala/TNS/ZUMAPRESS.com)
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