“A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I have heard this saying over and over the past few years but never really knew where it came from until this week. This phrase was first seen in a book called Le Petit Prince, written by Antoine in the 1940s. In this book, he shares many lessons about life but this one hit home the most for me.
Thinking back, my life has always been centered around goals.
When I was growing up, my goals were focused on two things: basketball and school.
For school, I wanted to get at least a 3.75 GPA, that was it. To accomplish this goal, I knew I had to study for 2 days for every test and make sure I never received a zero on an assignment. I knew if I did those two things, I would hit my GPA goal easily which would make me a better college recruit.
Now for basketball, my goals were loftier. I wanted to be the leading scorer in my high school history. I also wanted to win state, be a part of the all-state team, win conference, get a college scholarship, be on every all-tournament team, etc. These goals may have seemed big, but not when you break it down to smaller action items that were actually in my control.
To accomplish my goals, I decided I needed to make 500 shots 3 times a week (heavy shooting days), make 250 shots on the move 2x times a week, lift 4 times a week, do ball handling for 30 minutes 3 times a week, and watch film for 1/2 hours a week.
I knew that if I did each of those tasks in my control — every single week, then I would give myself the best chance possible at accomplishing all my goals.
All that hard work I put in ended up mattering. I hit all those goals except the state championship, the one I wanted the most. We did go to state twice in my career and took 3rd and 4th, something I am super proud of, but I will always back with some sadness knowing I didn’t win a state championship.
I am not sharing this with you because my high school sports career or grades were meaningful. I am sharing this with you because none of those things would have been able to be accomplished if I just said I wanted them — sure there is power in expressing your goals, but expressing them doesn’t accomplish the goals.
Now, as I have transitioned from basketball to being a financial advisor, I have realized that most people fail to hit their goals because they see where they are at today and they see where they are going, but they leave it at that. They do not actually take the time to figure out what needs to be done to accomplish the goals they have.
Basketball taught me that you can reach your desired outcomes by creating a plan and by sticking to it. Sure, there were plenty of days I didn’t want to get shots up or lift, but my plan made sure I didn’t listen to that voice in my head telling me to stop. I just kept going and stuck to the plan.
One of the best examples I can use is running a marathon. Anyone who has ran a marathon knows that you don’t just wake up one day and say “hey I am going to run a marathon next week” then all of a sudden is ready to do it. You would need to create a running program that is thought out and gives you a plan for each day until the race.
This is the mindset you need to have when accomplishing goals in all areas of life.
If you want to buy a house, have nice cars, pay for your kids’ education, build an emergency fund, travel every year, save so you can retire at 60 while living the lifestyle you want, you need to have a plan to do so. Those are all great goals to have, but they are also not simple to accomplish. You don’t just wake up one day and all of a sudden every goal is funded and accomplished. The only way to get there is by creating a plan. Sure, that plan may need to be changed and modified all the time, but that’s okay.
As you go about this year and think through the things you want most, take some time to lay out a plan to get there. Without one, the things you want most are just a wish.
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Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimers page.