A Goal Without a Plan is Only a Dream

Note: this blog is one of my favorites from back in March, 2009. Enjoy!

I’ve been “blogless” due to other writing responsibilities but now I’ve been inspired! Have you ever had an issue or topic on your mind and then you just happen to find a quote or article that exactly matches what you are trying to say? That has happened to me a few times in my life.

Several years ago I was preparing for my installation as the President of my community service organization. I had no idea what I was going to say that evening as I accepted my position. And then I read my daily horoscope. I forget what it said now, but it was perfect and I shared the message with my friends that night. I remember sharing how serendipity plays a part in our lives at the strangest times.

Just the other day it happened to me again. I had spent several weeks working on a newsletter and then a workshop, both dealing with habits and goals. I was getting off track, way behind schedule but I took a break to check through my emails.

That’s when I found “Quote of the day” sitting in my in-box. It was from Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, author and trainer. I get a new quote sent to me almost every day. If I had been using my “Important VS Unimportant” strategy encouraged by Stephen Covey, I would have skipped the email and gone back to my writing. But something told me to open it. The quote said, “A Goal Without a Plan is Only a Dream.”

Here I was trying to put my thoughts into a two-hour workshop about creating goals and making dreams a reality and these 9 words hit my in-box. They say it all. They hopefully motivate someone to make their dreams a reality by taking their goals and making them part of a full plan. 

As I wrote in my newsletter a few weeks ago, I believe that the way to create a master plan takes dreams, then planning, then specific goals, and then steps to take action, not to mention a little motivation and accountability. And here was this brief quote reinforcing all I wanted to teach!

In my workshop today, 24 participants and I took a goal that meant a lot to many of them, “I will de-clutter my home by Dec. 20, 2009,” and we created a plan that everyone in the room could believe in. We took a dream, one that clearly meant a lot to the woman who suggested it, and we broke it down into manageable steps. As part of the full goal we picked one room, the kitchen and figured out 10 areas to focus on - countertops, fridge, tabletop, junk drawer, etc. We calculated an estimate for each area and decided that a typical messy kitchen could take up to 12 hours to purge, scour, organize and de-clutter. 

We discussed all the saboteur voices that might try to discourage us like, ”It will be too hard or too overwhelming or too time consuming.” We found a positive perspective, “It is possible if I break it into manageable steps and put the time blocks in my calendar.” Someone mentioned the strategy of “Only touch each item once.” In other words don’t move things into this pile and then that one and then set it aside to eventually do something about it. That led to a discussion about preparing places ahead of time to put important papers.

At the end of a 15-minute discussion we had a plan that most people in the room could move forward with. We took a goal, created a plan, and made people hopeful that a dream could become reality.

In today’s story, a goal plus a plan can make a dream come true!

This is what coaching is all about. It’s like buying a self-help book and being personally guided by the author!

(Also, if you want some help in the same way, or another topic that needs a new perspective, just get in touch! We can set up a free consultation to turn your dreams into reality.)