Where Are You Going? How Will You Get There?

Where are you going, and how do you plan to get there? Even if you’re simply headed to the market for a few groceries, you need to know the answers to those two questions!

Those same two questions, or questions that are very similar, can be applied to almost every area of life.


  • Homeschooling? Where do you want your student to be, academically, at the end of the semester? How will you get him there?
  • Want to learn a new skill? What is the skill you want to learn? How will you learn it?
  • Hoping to make some improvements to your home? What would you like to do in the next month or year? What steps are necessary to get there?

It’s far too easy to just want to accomplish something, and then wonder why that desire never comes to fruition. I know. I did just that for years.

Just one example: I’d tell myself that I’d pick up the needles and start knitting again; but without a clear idea of what I wanted to knit, or what steps I’d take to relearn that craft, or when I’d work knitting into my busy days, nothing ever happened. Worse, in my unfettered, unguided optimism, I’d spend too much money on knitting needles and yarn and patterns, only to have them languish in the bag in which I brought them home from the store. It was discouraging, and it was of my own doing. I knew where I was going, but I had no idea how I’d get there.

Once I took the time to plan out a few steps, I was off and running, and I haven’t stopped knitting since.


Another example: I imagined planting pretty flower beds and garden areas around my home, only to be frustrated as each growing season came to a close over my weedy, unimproved areas. I knew what I wanted those areas to look like; but I needed a plan on how to accomplish that vision, step by step, including how I would pay for it. Taking the time to think through those steps helped me to realize that the time and money for that particular plan will have to wait another year or more, eliminating the frustration as each summer came to a close.


We need to know where we want to go, in the various areas of our lives, and map out how we plan to reach those the desired outcomes. For the last few years, I’ve done this in the form of setting goals at the beginning of each year. This year, I’m very slow at getting those goals figured out and on paper, but here’s the deal – Even in this, I know where I’m going – I’m setting goals; and I know how to get there – I’m taking my time to write realistic goals, with carefully thought out steps to meet them.

The emphasis is on setting realistic goals for yourself. These are your goals, not mine, not your sister’s, not your best friend’s. Goals are a personal thing. Your goals might be loftier than another woman’s, or your goals may be more basic. If you’ve just had a baby, your goal may be just to get yourself to the point where you can get showered and dressed and take care of the basics for your family might be the goals you want to work toward. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your goals aren’t enough. They are your goals and not another’s. 

Setting goals is not at all the same thing as making New Year’s resolutions! One of the benefits of setting goals is that it can be done at any time of the year, and goals can be set for both short-term and long-term time frames. The key is to not just set your goal (know where you’re going), but to map out reasonable steps to achieve that goal (how you’re going to get there). The important word in that last sentence is reasonable. It’s also extremely important that you do this in writing.


I set a goal last year of learning to quilt. I did a good job of seeking counsel from a friend who is an experienced quilter as I was setting my overly ambitious quilting goals. What I failed to do was to set reasonable steps on how to achieve those goals. I failed to take into consideration the fact that not only am I a busy homeschooling mom, but I also have a husband and home to tend to. Though I have quite a bit of sewing experience, I have absolutely no quilting experience to draw from. The results were pretty dismal.  I failed to set reasonable steps for an already busy, beginning quilter. I needed steps that could be taken in the small amounts of time available during our homeschooling week days, and steps simple enough to offer me a challenge without rendering the goal unattainable by being too challenging. My steps for quilting will be much less ambitious this year, but they will still afford me the opportunity of learning to quilt. Lord willing!

This year, even though I’d hoped to have all of my goals for the year in place by the end of January, I consider it a better option to take my time to be sure that I’m setting reasonable goals with carefully planned steps to achieve them. Most of my goal areas have been outlined, but I’ve a few more to work on. Here are the areas I’m using to set goals for the year: Spiritual, Personal, My Marriage, My Kids & Grandkids, My Home, My Blog, My Ministry, Reading, and Creativity. There are sub-categories under each of these main headings, but you get the idea. I’ve already begun working towards the goals that I have set.


 

Are you making plans for where you’re going and how you plan to get there? What are your goals for the next month or year? How do you plan to achieve those goals?


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18 comments to Where Are You Going? How Will You Get There?

  • Thank you for this post.  Something I needed to hear.

  • Hi Cheryl,

    Great post. I wrote about discipline yesterday. It take lots of discipline to reach our goals. It is good to have you posting agin.

    Blessings,

    Elizabeth

  • Wise words friend!

    After reading the book Getting Things Done a few years ago, I realized my downfall in goal setting was not listing out all of the steps it took to get me to the goal.

    I would generalize too much. A step would have more steps within it. Now I accomplish more, or at least fool myself into thinking I do because my steps are smaller. But hey! At least it’s progress. Albiet slow.

    Hugs!

    Dana

  • Another wonderful post that I really ministered to me…it was just what I needed to hear! *Ü*

    I was wondering what computer program you are using to keep track of your goals?Wishing you a blessed day!

  • @elizabethq – Self-discipline is, indeed, a good thing, and absolutely crucial for attaining our goals. Your post was excellent!

  • @SunnySideoftheRoom – I wish you could see my goals outline, the main points are the goals and the sub-points are the steps, and some of those steps have sub-sub-sub points within them!  And small steps are just what we’re looking for! It’s all about the small victories which add up to big accomplishments.

  • @RoseCottage – I’m using One Note, which is a part of Microsoft Office Home, for outlining and keeping track of my goals. I use One Note extensively in keeping track of my life!

  • My goals (actually, my life) is written out. Lists. Lists. Lists!
    Great post!

  • Ugh, Cher!!!  I have SUCH a hard time with this area!  I think it’s a backlash from being raised in an extremely structured home, church and school.  Everything was planned and detailed and scheduled and…expected.  I did it all, as I am quite a people-pleaser by nature.

    So…when I was finally released from all that and realized, duh…I can make my own decisions now…I just dropped every agenda, plan, goal, resolution, etc.  I was so t.i.r.e.d.

    Now, I feel like I’m regaining some of my health physically, and some of my mental stamina, and I want to begin with goals again.  I do very well on the daily lists and calendars, to keep up with all appointments, housecleaning etc.  I keep Isaac’s caregiver on a good schedule each week.

    However I have no idea how to begin with personal goals.  AND I see that is not a good thing with my business, especially.  I need to make steps forward and don’t really know how to begin.  It all seems so daunting.

    So, I am going to go back and read your post again!  And maybe the Lord will bring something to the forefront of mind, so that I could begin in just one area of my life.

    Thanks for the encouragement!
    Alesha

  • @ObtainingMercy – Yes! Choose just one area and set just one goal in that area to start. Then, prayerfully and thoughtfully break down how you will reach that goal in teeny-tiny steps. It’s not a race! After a bit, you might want to set a second goal in that same area, or perhaps, set a goal in a completely different area of your life. These are tools to help you, not rules that have to be kept.

    Would more goal setting posts be helpful, do you think, or just make things more confusing or stressful? I want to encourage, not cause more stress.

  • I have been considering much of the same things you have Cheryl, but I have not put them down “on paper” as you have.  I have business goals written down and time frames to do them in, but not the topics you have.  Would you mind if I borrowed your topics to jump start my own thinking on these?

  • @Homeschoolmummyx3 – I don’t mind at all! My goal areas are very general and are based on the priorities that the Lord has reminded me to keep. Use them, change them, however the Lord leads you.

  • Loved the post and I love OneNote.  Such a great program.  The 2010 version which I use even has a print to option so instead of wasting paper printing out online receipts, recipes etc.  I just send it into one note.  🙂

    So glad you are back blogging again.  I enjoy each and every post.

  • @juejee – Yep, I love the print to One Note feature, too. Great to save instructions, articles, etc., too.

  • @copperswife – I really don’t know if other posts would help me or not – other than to simply encourage me to do it.  My curiosity wants to see your “breakdown” of steps for one of your goals, but that might not help me at all.  For example, I have no plans to begin quilting!!! 

    I honestly think that I get stuck at the beginning.  To me, it just looms as something infinitely painful to put my life under a microscope and find all the areas that are lacking.  I just think I will feel like such a failure to see so many areas that need improvement; and then I will be too overwhelmed to even begin.  Does that makes sense?  Or does it just sound wimpy?

    I do know that right now, I feel the Lord would have me continue to focus on my physical health.  I have started walking; and we are continuing the eating plan that we started nearly 2 years ago.  I also plan to pick up a pilates dvd that I can use on the days I can’t walk.  Maybe, I should just work on that one area; and not try to analyze anything else just now.

    Even if I just spend time planning and making notes on that area, that would be one step further than I have taken my plans before.  That would be progress!   I think rather than burden you to write more on a subject than the Lord would impress you to do, maybe I could just ask for prayer that I would be diligent to begin with this one area.  How does that sound?

    And, as others have commented here, I am so delighted to see your blogs again.  I’m thankful that the Lord is allowing you this season of writing once again.

  • @ObtainingMercy – Yes! I will pray for you, Alesha!  I think you are absolutely on the right track with your physical health goals. There’s no need to have multiple areas that you’re trying to conquer when one are is all that the Lord is giving you to deal with right now. What works for one, will never work for someone else. I do think it’s helpful, though, to write goals down as well as the steps you plan to take to get to your goal (Where are you going? How will you get there?). As it turns out, I think that the Lord is leading me to write more in this area, so we’ll see if He provides the time and inspiration simultaneously! Kiss that boy’s head for me!

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