According to financial expert and author Dave Ramsey, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” Most of us have dreams of things we would like to accomplish, and many of us even make plans and set goals. But the big question is: “How do I actually achieve my goals?” “How do I get beyond the dream and the plans to reach my goals?” Well, if I knew the answer to those questions, I might be as famous and as wealthy as Dave Ramsey, but alas, I’m don’t and I’m not. But I do have a pretty good track record for setting goals in my own personal life and achieving them. I thought it would be fun to think about how to do that and see what else is out here that might help us along the way.
One of the biggest (and most time consuming) goals that I set for myself was many years ago when I decided to return to college as a mom of four kiddos, ranging in age from 3 – 15. “Just” being a mom and a homemaker was my most important role in life, and that was the way I wanted it. After being a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, I thought perhaps it was an OK time to step out a bit and return to college to see if I could do it. So I did! And I was actually pretty good at all that academic stuff after all those years of being away from a classroom.
I will admit it was rather intimidating, but I was determined. So I set a goal and made a plan. Each semester I had to revise the plan a bit to accommodate the needs of my family and my class schedule – I tried to take classes only during the hours that my children were in school – so it took a bit of juggling, but it all worked out. I had a dream . . . I needed to prove to myself that I could do this thing that seemed so overwhelming to me as a ordinary wife and mama. Or I needed to figure out that I couldn’t do it, but that really wasn’t an option. I was determined to figure it out!
As it turned out, I did quite well and completed an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies with a minor in English. That was great! But by that time, of course, my children were older and they were becoming a bit more independent, and along with a few other life changes, I decided to tackle a second degree in my field of interest: ancient and Biblical history. I was determined to discover the answer to some things that I had been pondering for many years (of course, getting an education only shows you how much you STILL don’t know!) so I pursued a second undergraduate degree in Classical Studies and Philosophy. After two more years of planning and scheduling . . . done!
By then, I was hooked on the whole process of learning about times, people, places, and wisdom of ages gone by – so I set a goal to get a graduate degree. And so I did. I was fascinated with the history of the Christian church and discovered so much about how we came from the days of Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee with His disciples, admonishing them to “love one another” and “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” to the days when we often find it difficult to discover two Christians who agree with one another about much of anything. Justcurious, I guess.
Anyway, the point is, I never could have accomplished those goals without planning. A LOT of planning. Back in those days I planned everything I needed to do, every hour of each day . . . to make sure I didn’t forget something! I had a pretty simple planner (back then there wasn’t a lot of the fancy, adorable stuff that we have now days), so I just used a small three-ring binder and wrote down my To Do list each day. I also added one page each week where I had each day of the week written down and the weekly activities written down in the time slots so I could plan around them. This was really helpful because I could see at a glance where I had blocks of time available for any “extra” stuff like doctor or dentist appointments, or other important events.
I know how important it is to make plans if you want to achieve your goals. You can dream all day (which is a lot of fun!), but if you don’t put one foot in front of the other, you will never arrive at your dreamed-of destination. And for me, the first step is to make a plan by writing it down and then rolling up my sleeves and tell myself to “Just Do It!” Then I get to check it off the list!
Some of these beautiful daily planner pages that are available online for FREE even include menu plans, errands and phone calls to make. There’s even a place to keep track of how much water you drink each day! Yay! I just would write down the word WATER and then put little check marks beside it to keep track. This way is so much more creative and fun! If you have been thinking about getting started on following your dreams, why not start by setting a goal and making a plan. You’ll get there much faster than if you just keep dreaming about it! Here are a few amazing and creative planners that I have discovered that you can print out for FREE. If you visit any of these bloggers, be sure to tell them that Vintage Mama sent you!
Have fun and be sure to stop by and let me know how you are doing on following your dreams. Can’t wait to hear from you!
On this one, you can keep track of your daily water intake and even jot down what you are thankful for!