Be Your Own Life Coach/Plan for Action

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Plan for action!

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In this topic you will:

  • practice creating an action plan from a goal image map
  • create a goal image map for your own goal
  • create an action plan for your goal which:
    • includes a statement of why you want to achive your goal and how it will help to make a positive change in your life
    • identifies actions or small steps which will help to achieve the goal
    • identifies how the achievement of each step will be measured
    • identifies barriers that may inhibit the achievement of each step and identifies strategies for overcoming barriers
    • Indentifies enablers that are unique and specific to the achievement of each step.

Time: this module should take around 5 hours to complete.

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To begin this topic you need to have developed your own SMART goal which you can now develop an action plan for.

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Visualise your goal.

  1. Find or draw a picture/s which represents what your goal will help you to achieve.
  2. Divide a large piece of paper into four sections.
  3. Place the pictures in the centre of a piece of paper. Have a look at James and Stella's goal image maps displayed below.
  4. In each of the four corners write the follow headings
    1. How I will feel when I achieve my goal?
    2. Barriers: things that will get in the way of me achieving my goal
    3. Enablers: things that will help me to achieve my goal
    4. Actions or small steps I can take to help me achieve my goal
  5. Brainstorm and write as many things on the piece of paper as you can. You may wish to do this over a few days and ask your friends and family for suggestions.

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Case Study

Stella worked with Maria to set her SMART goal: “To join a basketball team by the end of the next month. “ The next step was to create an action plan. Maria and Stella started out by searching for pictures and images which would show how Stella would feel when she had reached her goal. They settled on a picture of Stella with her basketball team last year when they won the National Secondary School competition. It was a time in Stella’s life when she felt proud and part of a group of people who enjoyed spending time together. Stella wanted to feel like that again. With the image selected they set about brainstorming small steps or actions Stella would need to take to help her to achieve her goal, things that would get in the way (barriers) and people and existing resources which would help Stella to reach her goal (enablers).

Maria talked with Stella about how barriers are things or situations that could hinder you, for example: a lack of the correct clothing, or the basketball team practice being held on the other side of town. A person’s attitudes or beliefs about themself could also be a barrier, these barriers are often harder to identify because you can’t see them. Maria and Stella found it helpful to look at some websites with information about attitudes and beliefs which might hold a person back from reaching their goals.

It took several hours of work over three different days for Stella to brainstorm the ideas and then to develop the action plan. Stella feels it was time very well spent. She has the action plan on the fridge door at home so her family can see what she is doing, and help to keep her on track.

You can view Stella’s goal image map and action plan below. The websites which Stella and Maria used can also be viewed in the Web Resources section. StellaImageMap.jpg

Click here for Stella's action plan: File:Action Plan Stella.pdf

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Case Study
James is starting to enjoy the goal setting course. Last week he worked with the rest of the class to understand SMART goals and how to write them. He now has his own SMART goal to focus on: “Talk to at least five potential employers about part time work in the next calendar month.” The trainer explained that although James wants to get a part time job the focus of his goal needs to be on things that he can control. James can see how he is able to prepare and speak with potential employers about part time work but the employer is the one who decides to employ James or not, and he can't have full control over that. James is happy that his goal focuses on things that he has control of and can make happen.

This week James has created a goal image map, and he enjoyed searching for pictures which represent how he will look and feel when he has achieved his goal. He finds looking at the image map motivating and it gives him a clear idea of what to focus on. The next step is to use the ideas on the goal image map to create an action plan.

This is James' goal image map.


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  1. This is a group activity. You will need to work in a group with two or three other people.
  2. Look carefully at James' goal image map displayed above and work together to develop an action plan for James.
  3. This is a practice activity to help you to prepare to develop your own action plan. Your teacher will be able offer you guidance.
  4. Compare the action plan which your group has developed for James with action plans developed by other groups.
  5. Identify ways in which you could improve the action plan that your group has developed for James.
  6. This is a blank action plan form or template which you can use to develop James' action plan: File:Action Plan Template.pdf.

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  1. Create your own action plan.
  2. Look carefully at James and Stella's action plans and see how the ideas developed in the image brainstorm have been used to complete the action plan.
  3. You can use the blank form available above for your action plan which has the same layout as James and Stella's action plan, or you can create your own.
  4. Use the ideas developed in your image brainstorm in the activity above to complete your action plan.
  5. The web resources below will help you to identify posible barriers and enablers for your goal action plan.

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Self Assessment

Complete the self assessment activity by filling in the table displayed below. This will help you to focus on what you have learnt in this module and to check that you have an effective action plan to move forwards with.

Question Reflective thoughts. Think about the answers to these questions. Discuss your answers with teachers and classmates to check that you have created an effective action plan for your goal.
What steps or actions have I identified in my action plan and how will these help me to achieve my goal?
How will I measure the achievement of each step?
What barriers have I identified in my action plan and how will they be overcome?
What enablers have I identified in my action plan and will these help me to achieve my goal?