The Power of a Plan

What’s your dream?
I’m sure if you took some time and thought about it, you’d probably be able to name quite a few of your dreams.

For me, one of my big dreams is to be debt free by age 30. I have student loans, a car loan, and some other debt that I would like to disappear.
While it’s important to have a dream, it’s even more important to have a plan to achieve that dream. Without a plan, your dream is just that, a dream. It’s not tangible. I like to think that dreams without plans just float out in this cosmic dream space waiting for their matching plan.

But making a plan and sticking to it is never easy. Most people fail when they try to achieve something.

I’m not trying to sound coldhearted, because I’m certainly guilty of failure. I can’t even count how many times I’ve woken up Monday morning determined not to buy Starbucks that week.

But sure enough, Tuesday rolls around and I find myself in line ordering my venti mocha. Suddenly, it becomes a lot easier for a second and third, sometimes even a fourth.

When I look back at the week, I’m severely disappointed in myself for spending so much money on Starbucks. I think back to Monday morning and ask myself, “Kelsey, you had a plan. You weren’t going to buy Starbucks this week. Are you that weak?”

And then Sunday night, I make the promise again, and the cycle repeats.

I’m not trying to say that buying Starbucks is bad (especially when it’s so delicious). I just know that buying $6 drinks doesn’t align with my dream. The money I spend on Starbucks could be used to pay down my student loans or my car loan.

This is why a plan is so important.

First thing is to turn your dream into a goal. A goal is more specific than a dream. The best goals are SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. When a goal is SMART, developing a plan is much easier.

When working on your plan, you need to take into consideration what is realistic for you. For myself, I can’t just quit Starbucks cold turkey. I would need to slowly step back from it. You also need to realize that it’s going to take time. Things aren’t going to change overnight. Setbacks will happen.

The goal of the We Dream community isn’t just about dreaming. It’s about taking that dream, turning it into a goal, using the resources and advice of others to create a plan, and working towards achieving that dream.

I encourage you to take some time and think about your dreams. How can you take them from just a dream and make it happen? What tools and advice do you need? Do you just need a little encouragement? Or a plan tailored to you? What is holding you back from achieving them?

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Your dreams are your castles. But you need to build the foundation to get there. So start building.

Regional Finalist – Southwest