“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When I was in high school, I was part of a group of students that got to go to these leadership conferences three times throughout each school year. If I’m completely honest, at the time I thought they were kind of silly, but I went because it was a way to get out of class for half of the day. Every year, it was the same guy who led the leadership conference. He always lectured us on how to be successful and one of his points in how to be successful was setting goals. We would do this exercise where we would write down our goals and put them in envelopes and we were instructed to hold on to those goals until the next conference a few months down the road. I would always set goals that I knew I would achieve, like “get all A’s,” because I was already doing that and knew that it would be easy for me. They didn’t challenge me and I didn’t have to actively plan to achieve those goals because they were goals that I was already achieving. Outside of those leadership conferences, I never really set any specific goals for myself.
It wasn’t until I turned 24 that I realized that I needed to start setting some goals so that I could actively work toward bettering myself as a human. I set multiple goals: I wanted to get back down to my college weight, spend more quality time with my family and my husband, and complete some devotionals and bible studies to name a few. What I did not do was make a plan for how I was going to achieve those goals. And you know what? I didn’t really achieve any of them. I made progress on some of them, but I didn’t actually achieve any of them because I failed to plan. Using a budget is a great way for you to create a financial plan to achieve your goals and turn your dreams into reality.
What are your dreams and goals? Maybe you want to travel the world. Maybe you want to spend time doing volunteer work. Maybe you want to be able to give to church or charity. Maybe you want to be able to retire early so that you can spend lots of time with your kids and grandkids. Do you have dreams and goals? If not, take some time to think about it and figure out what it is you want to work toward. Personally, I really want to travel and spend a lot of time outside doing things like hiking and camping. Whatever it is you want to do, how are you going to pay for it? Things cost money, so what is your plan to have the financial stability to be able to do whatever it is you want to do? If you don’t have a budget, this can be an extremely hard question to answer. If you don’t start planning, start budgeting, start getting yourself out of debt, start saving for retirement, then your goals actually look a lot more like wishes. With a wish, you’re hoping that stuff will happen. With a goal (and a plan), you’re making stuff happen. You’re taking control and actively taking steps toward your dream instead of passively letting life go by and hoping for the best in the end.
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