June 29, 2016 Rodney Cowled

Writing an Execution Plan For Greatness

Oprah calls it the “aha” moment and Malcolm Gladwell the Harajuku moment.

It’s a moment of deeper understanding and a moment of realisation. A moment where the world appears to spin slower and your thoughts are richer.

I was sitting in a cafe with nothing more than a notepad and my thoughts. I had set off to this cafe with the intention of writing down my goals for the coming year. This wasn’t the first time I’d done something like this. In years past, it had gone something like this.

A significant date would approach, a milestone birthday or new year, to which my response would be to write down my goals for the upcoming year.

I’d buy a notebook and write down my goals for the year. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s the yearly trend that results in gyms being packed with new members for the entire month of January…then empty again in February.

Not This Time…

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that this time around things went a little differently. The main reason was my “aha” moment and the realisation of what success actually meant to me.

For the first time ever, I was setting my goals based on the things that mattered most to me, without the restrictions and expectations of those around me.

I dreamed bigger. I also tapped into a desire that I’d previously misunderstood. I’d always been frustrated by people not living up to their potential. I’d privately judge people for wasting opportunities and not trying their best. Especially those who I personally knew we’re capable of more. (Including myself…)

Am I A Pretentious Git?

Previously, I’d told myself that this was bad and that I was a being a pretentious git who thought he was better than everyone else.

I’d misunderstood that these thoughts were “bad” and “judgemental”, they were instead an indication of my passion. In that cafe, I had realised that these judgemental thoughts were fed by my desire to help these people.

In part, because I was one of them. This was my “aha” moment, my moment of clarity. 

The Missing Ingredient?

My “aha” moment poured passion into my goals, this was the ingredient that was absent in years past. Passion alone is the reason why, this time, things are different.

Do you need an earth-shifting “aha” moment to achieve your goals? No, but you do need to mix in a little passion and emotional energy.

What does this mean exactly? In short, you have to give a crap.  More eloquently put, it means you’ve got to actually care about the end result.

It can’t be a goal that you’ve set because someone else (or society) says you should care.

Passion & Take Massive Action

After a clear dream, the most important step to success is taking massive action.

How to Develop Your Execution Plan

1. Turn Your Goals into Specific Objectives.

Goals are big picture, long-term. Objectives are measurable, bite-sized pieces that break down your goals into actions.

Have a goal to “Make $1M Dollars”? You might chunk this into a few objectives like “Get New Higher Paying Job”, “Buy an Investment Property”. You’ll want to assign a time-frame to each of your Objectives, some might be quicker (one month) some might take longer (1 year).

2. Build An Action Plan. 

Under each of your objectives, start to build an action plan. The “How” for each objective.

For your “Buy Investment Property” you might have actions like, “Set up a $500 direct deposit from my weekly pay cheque into my investment account” or “Make an appointment to speak to Mortgage Broker about what I can buy. These action items can flow straight to a to-do list so you can tick them off. Assign a time frame to each action.  

3. The Success Criteria.

For each objective, assign criteria for success. This is essentially how you’ll be measuring your progress for each objective. Some will be simple (“Yes or No” or “On Track”) some may be more complicated like, “I’m getting better”. A traffic light system also works – assign red, green, orange against each of your objectives.

4. Regular Check-ins

What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed! Set up weekly check-ins and monthly reviews.

At your weekly check-in’s you’ll be running through your Action Items, to make sure you’re on track. You might be assigning new action items as others get completed (e.g. “Speak to Mortgage Broker” might lead to “Go to house inspections”).

At your monthly review, you’ll be reviewing the objectives at a total level. If you’ve kept up-to-date on your action items, you’ll be able to quickly check through each Objective. If you set your goals with a partner or spouse, have these check-in’s together. This will help you to make sure you’re both on the same page.

5. Once a Year, Review Your Goals.

You might change them, modify them, or tick them off (achievement…yay!). As time passes so to may your focuses and desires, adjust accordingly.  

Not Clear? Here’s an Example


Get Healthy


    • Eat a lower-calorie diet – Start Monday (On Track? Yes OR No)
    • Workout – Start Monday (On Track? Yes OR No)
    • Be proactive with my health – End of The Month (Am I Getting Better? Yes OR No)

Action Items:

    • Eat Lower Calorie Diet 
      • Get MyFitness Pal app and start tracking
      • Buy 50% vegetables in my weekly grocery shopping
    • Work Out

      • Join a gym
      • Work out every Tuesday and Thursday
    • Be proactive with my health.
      • Make a Doctor’s Appointment
      • Buy multi-vitamin


Now What?

It time to start doing! You’ve got that plan and it’s time to start making it become a reality. 

Comments (3)

  1. Leith Dababneh

    Its passed midnight and I had writers block in between drafting up my business plan.

    So between this article and the book ‘Unwritten’ by Jack delosa, I think I’m back on track.

    The funny thing is, I’ve read this article before, but it wasn’t until I needed to action some things that I really needed some specifics to get me re-inspired to keep going.

    Thanks for the focus…

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