How to break your goals down into actionable steps

The new year is just around the corner, and you’re revving up to have a fantastic year. You’ve got your teal Inkwell planner and your Prismacolor markers ready to go.

You look at the yearly spread inside of your planner and try to figure out how in the world you’re going to reach all of your goals or what to even put in the spaces on the page.

There are the general goals: make money and then use said money to buy a new house that you’ve dreamed of since you were in your mid-twenties.

Easy-peasy, right?

Well, not quite.

Those goals are fantastic and they might be doable if you focus and plan. But you’ll need to be a bit more specific to figure out how to get there.

In today’s post, we’re going to focus on how to break down your goals into manageable, actionable steps. By the end, you’ll have more than a general wish and prayer that things will just go well this year.

So, first steps, first.

Figure out what you’re going to promote throughout the year.

In my business, I like to look at the four to six major promotions that I hope to do throughout the year. I’ve tried to do more than six promotions, and it’s just way too many to keep up with. Four to six seems to be manageable.

Click to Tweet – “Step #1 to breaking your goals down into actionable steps: Figure out what you’re going to promote.”

If you’re a product-based business, you might focus on four to six major holidays or occasions that you’re going to do a major marketing push to sell your products. Think about which holidays or special events apply the most to the products you sell, and write those down instead.

You could then write down your best sellers for those holidays/special occasions so you can think and focus on something specific. If I had a product-based business, I’d probably even print out images of my products so that I could use them on the calendar as visual guides. (Hey, I’m a visual learner and like to see things visually. :) )

The reason you need to start with what you sell is that if you don’t know what things you’re going to promote throughout the year, you’re going to just click about and do a lot of unfocused things that don’t matter much to your goals.


After you’ve written out the things that you’d like to promote, you need to plot out when to promote them.

I’m not one to like to set things in stone, so I do this tentatively. I don’t make any promises until it’s a bit closer to the actual date because things often get pushed out when life gets in the way. So if I need to push back one promotion by a week, I give myself the flexibility to do just that.

Click to Tweet – “Step #2 to breaking your goals down into actionable steps: Plan when to promo your products/services.”

This might be a bit more difficult to do if you’re in a product-based business since you can’t change the dates of national holidays. So consider this and perhaps give yourself a buffer week (or two).


Now that you’ve written out what you’d like to promote and when you’d want to promote it, you’ll need to start breaking down your projects into actionable steps.

I learned how to do this for myself when I used the Get To Work Book’s project planning pages. I don’t use this planner anymore, but I found these pages to be useful in figuring out how to break my projects down into smaller tasks.

Click to Tweet – “Step #3 to breaking your goals down into actionable steps: break your promotions down by project.”

What you’ll want to do is start with the first promotion and write what the promotion is at the top of your paper (or at the top of one of those huge artist sketch pads). Then you’ll want to write whether or not the product or service for this promotion is already created.

If it’s something new, you’ll need to consider the time it will take to create this new thing. Honestly, when I’m creating something new, I always underestimate the time it will take to create the thing and also to promote it.

So, first write out whether or not you need to create the thing that you’re promoting and then take the time to write out each step that you need to take to make the thing.

Next, you’ll want to consider how you plan to let your audience/followers know what it is you’re selling.

You can do several things to promote this product or service:

  • Write blog posts that share sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes
  • Share the creation process on Instagram Stories or Facebook Live
  • Make social media graphics and share those graphics all over the place, making sure to boost posts or create ads if you’re comfortable with doing that
  • Create a free opt-in incentive that helps prepare people to use your product or service and try to get people on your email list. Once people are on your email list, then you can write sales emails to get people to purchase whatever it is that you’re promoting.

No matter what methods you choose to promote your product or service, you’ll need to write out what steps you need to take to get the word out.

You can do a combination of the things listed above but be sure to give yourself buffer time whenever possible. I tend to be overly optimistic about what I can get done in a day, let alone in a month. So, I always, always overbook myself with things to do when it comes to promotion. Then I’m left feeling like I only got half of the things done. In the new year, I aim to realize that I’m not superwoman. ;-)

A possible plan for promotion might include three blog posts, four different images that you’ll cross-promote on social media, two live calls on Facebook, and six sales emails. (This is just an example, I don’t believe that there is necessarily an exact science for this. The main thing is to have a plan and to execute it. You’ll do far more with a plan than without one.)


Finally, you’ll want to repeat this process for the rest of the promotions that you hope to have throughout the year.

I don’t plan out every single promotion straight down to the last little detail because I’ve found that I learn new things every time I market a new promotion, or I do a new launch. I’m always learning and adding to my marketing repertoire.

Click to Tweet – “Step #4 to breaking your goals down into actionable steps: Rinse and repeat.”

Also, to leave room for flexibility, it’s easier for me to just jot in the general time frame for when I’d like to promote and a simple plan for each. Then each month look more closely at what I have coming up next.

By having a simple plan, I know that I’m not just flying by the seat of my pants. I’m much more focused; then I can break the tasks down further and keep breaking them down until I have small steps for each day.

Having a general plan ahead of time also helps me to get ahead when I have extra time!


Do you use any of these steps when you’re planning out your business goals for the year? Is there anything that I left out that you think should be added to this list? Leave a comment below and join in on the conversation!


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    • Amanda Creek says

      No problem! It can definitely be really easy to get to that overwhelm state if you’re looking at all the many things you have to do. I HAVE to break it down and take small little chunks at a time or I will definitely get overwhelmed and just go back to bed. haha

      Wishing you an awesome New Year, Bonnie!

  1. Anita Van Hal says

    Hey Amanda! I FINALLY got around to reading this post you recommended…awesome! Such good advice and I LOVE “to do” lists, especially when they make sense…took notes in my planner so I can refer back to the steps when I need to…thank you SO much (again)! You’re great at what you do!


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