A goal without a plan is a wish

A wise man once said…

Actually the origin of this quote is debatable, but a lot of wise men and women have said it or something similar for a long time. It wouldn’t surprise me if this adage–in one form or another–dated back to the earliest human civilizations. It feels a little motivational-speaker-ish to me, and anyone who’s spent time in professional development and training seminars you know we’ve had just about enough of that.

That said, there is truth in it even for those of of us who don’t use phrases like, “living my best life,” or who would cringe at sentences containing phrases like “maximizing returns.” Wishes and dreams are important. They are big parts of keeps me going. I dream of the next vacation. I wish I could afford XYZ. It’s when I sit down and turn those dreams and wishes into a plan — usually as a checklist that evolves into a spreadsheet the more progress I make — they aren’t real. Concrete action makes them real.

Even without a plan, writing them down makes them real. Writing them down and sharing them, even more so. Maybe writing them down and sharing them with an anonymous internet audience will really push them into reality and create a sense of accountability. “I told the internet, so I’d better follow through…”

End of the Year

New Year’s Eve never held much interest for me. I’ll admit that might have started when I realized everyone else was going to, and being invited to, parties and gatherings and I wasn’t, but that’s a topic for another time. As I got a little older, though, I realized it just didn’t mean anything to me. A new year is a new page on a calendar and a number added to the end of last year’s dates. We can make resolutions any day of the year. What’s wrong with a Thursday March 4th resolution? I believe the pressure of making resolutions — including the pressure put on us by weight loss companies and financial planning firms — is one reason so few are successful. (According to a 2019 article in Forbes I just googled, 80%)

I digress. Goals and resolutions are only part of what the approach of a new year seems to mean. It’s also about reflection. My birthday is less than two weeks before the end of the year. I’ve always seen Christmas as the culmination of the year. For the past ten years, I’ve been teaching. So, when the kids leave on the last day before the holiday break, the year is over. Incidentally, this is usually on — or within a day or two — of my birthday, and I sincerely appreciate the gesture.

So, here I am reflecting, wishing, dreaming, and writing down goals.

What’s 2022 About?

Here it goes. I’m committing to cyber space.

  1. Finish revising my 2020 National Novel Writer’s Month manuscript. It’s well under way, but I dawdled and procrastinated. Then I quit in October to get ready for this year’s project.
  2. Finish my 2021 NaNoWriMo project. I completed the draft — more or less — at the end of November, as prescribed by the challenge. Now it needs to go through a rigorous rewrite, revise, and edit process.
  3. Plan — and I mean really plan for ’22’s project. That’s right, the plan includes two completed novels and a draft.
  4. Create and maintain — meaning add to, look at, and pay attention to — two idea folders (a virtual one and a real one.)
  5. Get to a distant national park. I’m thinking Glacier or Olympic.
  6. OR… get to Europe. This will depend on budget and other economic factors. That leads me to number seven.
  7. Decrease my out-of-debt date by at least 6 months. It’s currently five years, and that includes our student loans. This means budgeting a little hustle with my tutoring gigs and any other side-gig I can work out. I know. This might conflict with the previous goal, but budgeting and debt reduction can’t be all there is. What would I have to look forward to between now and then?
  8. Blog more. Really, the goal is to build an online community through my various social media outlets, but to do that, I need to offer more “content.” That word bugs me a little, but I understand it’s the go-to term. So, blog more or “create more content.” Is eight goals enough?
  9. Do a better job keeping up with outdoor chores. We have a great little lawn. Landscaping costs money and yard work is one of least favorite things to do, but it could look so nice.
  10. And I think of this one as soon as I start thinking about that last goal. Get more social. I don’t know how to pull friends from the sky and I’ve always been terribly at making new ones. I just don’t know where to meet anyone or how to bridge the gap from acquaintance or colleague to an actual social life. I’m going to add one little piece to this goal because it’s relate and I refuse to have 11. I want to get down to visit my dear friends in Florida. Covid in 2020 kept our get-together to a socially distanced half hour, and I didn’t see them at all in ’21. It’s time. I need to do a better job staying in touch with them, too. No, that isn’t a 12th goal. It’s… goals 10a-10c.
  11. Finally, and this one doesn’t get a number because it’s an idea and not part of a plan I can commit to yet — and because I really want to the list to look like a manageable, nice, round ten — I have some career related soul searching to do and only a few months to do it.

So that’s the idea

What do you think? Now I want to hear from you. It’s the end of the year. How do you reflect, goal set, dream, resolve? Drop a comment below or engage on one of my social media feeds. (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, or any of several Facebook Pages. (There’s one for each book, plus the PL Press Books page.) Or just send me an email. (Look at me working on goals 8 and maybe 10!)




Teacher, Author, Publisher, Mental Health Advocate

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Quick And Powerful Ways To Simplify Your Life In 2022

Want To Achieve Your Goals In 2019? Start Now.

New Dragon Letter from Ixchel

7 Free Things to Do in Quarantine

Complexity is creepy: It’s never just “one more thing.”

Using Spreadsheets to Beat Procrastination

You May Be Doing This Major Mistake In Your Productivity

Why Setting Monthly Goals are Better

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Phillip Davis

Phillip Davis

Teacher, Author, Publisher, Mental Health Advocate

More from Medium

Top 5 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Parents

New year resolutions can be a useful & necessary first step

The Daily Highlight.

Do you struggle to get your things done?