From Goals into Actions

A few days ago, I outlined a process that would help with setting and achieving your goals. I hope that since then you’ve been thinking about what the goal is, why it’s important to you and who can help you achieve that goal. It’s now time to think about the ‘how’ and use that to build your action plan.

To use an example, let’s say that one of your ‘whos’ was Mum, and you identified two ‘hows’ that could be crucial to your success


  • help: cheer me on

  • hinder: expect me to eat a big roast dinner every week

The next step of this exercise is to simply list a few ways in which you could encourage the ‘helps’ and prevent (or minimise) the ‘hinders’.

So, for ‘cheer me on’, you could

  • give her a regular progress report

  • tell her how you’re feeling on the more difficult days

  • gamify it, so she rewards your progress

And for ‘expect me to eat a big roast dinner every week’ you could

  • negotiate having a big roast dinner every month

  • negotiate having smaller portions

  • negotiate having a different kind of dinner

  • take her out for dinner or cook for her, so you can get the food you need as well as the food she wants

  • find other ways for her to satisfy her urge to feed, such as encouraging her to buy you healthy snacks

Of these, you choose just one or two things, add them to your todo list and take action.

Now repeat this process for each of the people you identified, and each of the ‘helps’ or ‘hinders’.

By the end of it, you should have a list of concrete things you can do to ensure your success.

One friend asked me about how to cope with irregular working hours, reduced sleep and emotional eating. You can use this technique to map this out:


  • hinder: keep me at work after hours

    • have a supply of healthy snacks in my drawer at work

    • negotiate a later start the following morning so I can go to the gym

    • learn how to smooth out the bumps in my diet so I hit my weekly targets


  • hinder: eat unhealthy snacks late at night

    • have healthy snacks at home

    • try to balance my food out during the day so I’m not hungry at night

    • agree that sometimes I can have unhealthy snacks as long as they fit into my overall eating plan for the week

  • hinder: not get enough sleep

    • investigate healthy sleep habits

    • do some experiments with caffeine timing

    • investigate biphasic sleep

Don’t forget, one of the most important ‘whos’ will be you. Make sure you understand all the ways in which you can help or hinder your progress and map out actions to take.

If you’ve not got started with the ‘whos’ yet, here is a starting list of roles

  • Parents

  • Grandparents

  • Siblings

  • Children

  • Neighbours

  • Friends

  • Colleagues

  • Managers

  • Gym mates

  • Members of Community Groups

  • Family Doctor

  • Customers

  • Suppliers

  • Personal Trainer

  • Nutrition Coach

As well as the role, be sure to identify the person - Bob Smith, not ‘Manager’ as that’ll help you to think about them.

If you do this exercise you will build a list of actions that will help you build good habits and avoid derailing when things get tough.