Stop excusing yourself!

Many of us think and say that we’ve got a desire to improve and get better. It’s one thing having that desire and intention, but another thing acting on it. Actions always take more effort and energy than words!

The best performers follow their intentions with action. This tool will help you check how much you follow intentions with actions, and help you get better at this.

Whether your desire to improve is matched by your actions, and will help you create a plan for how to move from intention to commitment.

Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

This tool will test out your desire to improve and then help you turn your desire into specific, useful action. The tool looks at what you’ve done, what options you have and what you’re going to do.

Maximum impact will come from using the tool for the first time and completing the three steps, which will take 15 – 20 minutes. After that you can use it at performance reviews – e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly or half yearly – or whenever you feel the need to push on.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. Give yourself a score

Score yourself out of 10 on having a focused desire to improve. Do this first.

 Score out of 10

2. Complete the table to see whether your score is matched by your behaviour.

Development activity (add others if you can) Have you done this in the last 6 weeks?
  • studying on a course
  • seeking feedback
  • personal development reading
  • shadowing someone
  • personal reflection and planning

What re-score does this give you for desire to improve? Do your actions match your intentions?

3. Identify what to focus on

Using the activities in the table above, identify one or two to focus on over the next 4-6 weeks, outlining what impact you’re looking to get from each one.

Area of focus Anticipated impact First step or action




Your plan

Get a plan Stan. This is about getting going. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 things you listed above.

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to do these things? Taking the first step is the most important. It’s like getting out the door when you’re going to do some exercise.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be doing them? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit. If it makes more sense start to develop a more detailed plan for improving these things.

    Check-in frequency and dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.