Putting goals into action: Get me to the ski fields part three

Posted by Kaz Thompson on 18 Jun 2015

Man running alongside waterfront while listening to music

Want to kick start your goals today – have you ever considered daily action steps?

So now you have probably set some SMART goals and you are wanting to get stuck into them right away, if you haven’t set smart goals you can do so after, but I totally recommend to do so first! Often goals are set for a period of time way off in the distance, so far that you can’t even see them or remember them and before too long they are a figment of your imagination. Remember that time when you tried to lose weight before you went on holiday? Then all of a sudden the trip was less than two weeks away and you hadn’t achieved your goal? Well here’s something that you can do today to make sure you stay on track with your goals!

Let’s recap on my SMART goal, which is ‘to increase the strength in my thigh muscles and increase my cardiovascular base in eight weeks’, so that when I go snowboarding this season the only issue I will have is my riding ability – which is poor. I am going to measure my thigh muscle strength and cardiovascular base this week by performing the maximum amount of weight I can move 10 times on the leg press and by completing an Astrand sub max cycle test. These tests will be performed at week zero, four, six and eight. And finally when I achieve this SMART goal I am going to reward myself by buying a new snowboard jacket!

Okay now you’ve got that SMART goal nailed down I can tell you about daily action steps! 

Actions steps:

An action step is something that you can do today or tomorrow to help you to achieve your goal. It should be something that you can do instantly to kick start your training E.g., I need to get a new pair of shoes ready for training or I need to book in with my Personal Trainer, to pack lunch and gym gear the night before or arrange to meet a friend at the gym, get hubby to watch the kids etc. Remember that your action step has to tie into your SMART goals in some way.

So here’s the big question, what are three action steps to get you moving closer towards your goals today? Don’t think about them for too long have a go and write them down!




Okay I’ll do mine so that you have an example:

Pack gym gear and gym card and put in the car

Tell friends that I am free for dinner from 6.30pm onwards as I am going to head to the gym at 5pm to train legs.

Plan to finish work at 4.45pm – let work know that I am going to leave early.

Okay so in this case it is pretty easy for me to follow through with this, for some people they might need more intrinsic motivation (I’ll do a separate piece on this) and some people might need the reward system operating at full capacity. 

Success Indicators:

Okay we need to set some success indicators—in other words what does success look like to you based on your current goals? Success indicators can be daily or weekly. Let’s give them a go; after one week of working towards your goals what are three possible success indicators, reaffirming that you are getting closer to achieving your goal?

It could be something as simple as a positive vibe or emotion, a physical sensation, a good feeling from completing your tasks, or a checklist that shows that you have attended the gym three times this week. I know this sounds silly but setting up a smiley face system on the fridge is what works for me! Some look for an aesthetical outcome of a task e.g. today I completed my programme, my thighs hurt, I’m feeling so happy, my thighs look more toned. Generally though this is typically hard to see after one week and might be more of a six week success indicator,

One more thing … ask yourself what type of support is needed for you to achieve your daily action steps. Does your ability to achieve your action steps mean that your aunty needs to babysit your kids for one and half hours, does it mean that your partner will call you 30 minutes before you go to the gym to provide you with a motivational quote – think about what it is going to take for others to help you to achieve your goals – achievement is the work of a team, and everybody plays their part. The support I need is a reminder that I have to have strong legs for the snowboarding season, this does motivate me, as well as hearing from my mates that they have been to the gym – I don’t want to be left behind.

The final step is to create six week success indicators that must be geared towards your SMART goals, for me this is fairly easy as I must show signs of an increase in strength in my legs – that can be directly measured by looking at how much weight I am pushing on the leg press – or that I can now do more repetitions that I previously could. There must be something that shows you are succeeding – without this you’re unable to measure if you’re getting closer to your goals.

Great stuff isn’t it? So you now you have a job to do - write out your daily action steps, and success indicators. I’ve provided a table below to help you:

Daily action steps Type of support and organisation needed Due date Achieved (tick)
Pack gym gear and card and put in car. Reminded by partner about gym key 10/6/15
Tell friends that free for dinner from 6.30pm as heading to gym. Friends to wait until 6.30pm to have dinner 10/6/15
Plan to finish work at 4.45pm - let work know I'm leaving early. Work okay me to leave early 10/6/15



Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Success indicator (tick)

1. I have achieved 3 gym sessions

About the Author

Kaz Thompson

Kaz Thompson (PgDip SpExSc, BSPExSc) is a lecturer at Wintec’s Centre for Sport and Human Performance. Kaz is a specialist at injury prevention, rehabilitating injuries and strength and conditioning. He has 15 years of experience working alongside athletes and the general population facilitating and creating individual training plans that achieves goals. Kaz has played competitive sports across many codes, with touch rugby and rugby sevens being his favorites.