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  • Writer's pictureBrent Mead


I think about goals and dreams often. I don't think there is a person on this planet that doesn't have dreams for their future but I bet many haven't achieved several of their dreams. There's an idea in the United States called the "American Dream" where every person can achieve their version of success not by chance but through hard work and determination. The American Dream saturates our culture. Our country was founded with the idea that every person should have a dream, however, I have heard far less about how to get from who you are today to your dream 'you.'

"A goal set properly is halfway reached" - Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was a motivational speaker in America who spoke often about goal-setting. A goal set properly is halfway reached. A properly set goal combines a goal that combines effective planning with a goal that focuses primarily on personal growth.

Excellent planning can help you achieve your dreams but poor planning will cause problems along the way. Most people struggle with or fail to reach their goals or dreams because they don't know what their plan looks like and they don't recognize progress. It's frustrating when countless hours of work feels wasted. I've seen many colleagues in school become frustrated because they don't see themselves 'progressing' in their playing.

So what can we do differently? We plan. Ziglar suggests there should be 7 steps in your planning:

1) Identify your goals

2) Benefits for reaching this goal

3) Major obstacles and mountains to climb to reach this goal

4) Skills or knowledge required to reach this goal

5) Individuals, groups, companies, and organizations to work with to reach this goal

6) Plan of action to reach this goal

7) Completion date

I plan on doing a separate blog post breaking down each of these seven steps. Each of these seven steps has a specific purpose and helps provide clarify the path to your goal. Many people quit their goals for two reasons: not expecting problems or not understanding their progress. I encourage you to take a goal of yours and go through these seven steps listed above. Spend a good amount of time envisioning each step and flesh out #6 in great detail. Write with detail clear, measurable goals for each step. Ask yourself the following questions: how will you know when you've met this step? How will you know if you're ready to move onto the next step in your plan? Consider what problems you might encounter and how you would react when you will encounter a problem you don't expect. Finally, write down sources of inspiration to draw from when the journey inevitably becomes challenging. Planning can provide comfort in the early stages of dream-chasing but remember "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Prepare for your plan to be altered & don't lose hope.

These steps will help develop a clearer vision for this goal. Planning is important for achieving goals. A goal set properly is halfway reached.

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." - Henry David Thoreau

As previously stated, a properly set goal combines effective planning and focuses on personal growth. We cannot control the decisions of others and a goal that focuses on personal growth increases the likelihood of accomplishing this goal by removing the impact of others' decisions and actions. My high school band director would often tell students, "the process is more important than the result." The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau supports this idea. The true joy in chasing a dream is learning along the way. Learning leads to change and most of the time, change inspired by a desire for personal growth is good.

Finally, I don't enjoy advocating for others to change or encouraging people to continually seek a better 'version of themselves.' I don't like it when people tell me I should be better or to seek self-improvement. Perhaps that's my Midwestern stubbornness rejecting the idea that someone knows what would be better for me more than I do. I do know when people work hard, battle adversity, and succeed; I smile.

It would bring me joy to know your successes, too! Please share something you're working on in the comments. I wish you good luck with finding your next step. If you have questions or need some encouragement, contact me because I'd love to help you with your goal planning.

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