“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
He was only twelve years old when he flew in a plane for the first time. From that day, he knew he would one day be a pilot. He wasn’t sure how to make it happen at that point, but as he moved through life, the plan began to take shape, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s goal became a reality. He became a pilot driven to fly faster and further and delighted audiences with writings of his adventures (Wind, Sand and Stars and The Little Prince). Imagine, if that boy born in 1900 hadn’t come up with a plan, his goal, like so many of ours, might have simply remained wishful thinking.
Nothing was working. Getting out of bed just meant sleeping somewhere else because my body was too tired to sit up, much less walk around. It seemed that nothing I did made me feel better. The more I slept, the more tired I was. No magic pill was able to solve the problem, and no one seemed to have a helpful answer, so I begin to think outside the box. Drawing tired me (point A) on one end of the page and healthy me (point B) on the other end, I was stuck with how to get from one point to the other. Reading books, talking to professionals, and following my own intuition, I knew my goal of feeling ‘well’ would remain only a wish without a plan.
I wonder how many times we would live differently if we had a plan. In what areas of your life could you use a plan? There is really no part of life that wouldn’t be improved with a plan, but how do you make that happen? When have you said, “I really wish I could…” but never made a plan to make it happen? Wish you could earn a college degree? Make a plan for making it happen. Wish you could buy a car in the next couple of years? Make a plan for that to happen. Wish you could lose weight, gain weight, read a stack of books, learn to play the guitar, or stop a bad habit? Without a plan, that goal will continue to remain a wish.
As I take a step back from much each year in the month of April, I do so because I have seen in the past the difference it has made in my life to notice those things that aren’t as good for me and intentionally remove them from my life. Removing activities and foods was part of my plan. Alcohol was one of those items. Alcohol is not taboo for me, it’s just something that seemed like it should be removed for the month. For many people, it is or should be taboo. In fact, April is Alcohol Awareness Month. With more than 88,000 alcohol-related deaths yearly, this is a great time for many of us to take a step back and be aware of the effects alcohol can have on a life — on many lives. In fact, maybe you should make a plan now to learn more. If you choose to drink alcohol, you need a plan.
Have you thought about something you’ve wished you could do? What are you waiting for? Get out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Write down where you are now on one end of the page and where you wish to be eventually on the other end. Filling in the space between here and there is how you’ll make your plan. I can’t make your plan for you, but there are many free resources to help guide you in your goals for any given area.
When I was feeling so sickly, I made a plan to feel better. The change began slowly, but as I write this a few April’s later, I am able to say with full confidence that creating a plan was a big part of getting better. If I hadn’t made the plan to be healthier, that goal would have remained simply a wish never realized, and I might still be sleeping my life away!