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Step 7 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Plan Your Goal

Part 7 in my series on Designing a Meaningful Life

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“Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”

– I Corinthians. 10:12, The Message

Step 7 – Plan Your Goal

Goals enable us to accomplish what is really important to us. It involves ongoing evaluation and monitoring to correct time frames, remove obstacles, or break into smaller components if necessary.

When replacing an established habit, for example, it takes time to put a new one in place.

Goal-setting helps us become aware of all the things we could accomplish that seemed impossible before.

Creating that goal statement and developing a specific plan of action is both exciting and keeps us on course. Goals need to be personal and have value to us.

Here are the basic components of any goal:

Goal Statement

  • Says exactly what you want to accomplish
  • Needs to be realistic, obtainable, and measurable


  • Set a specific time when you will start and when you hope to complete your goal


  • What will keep you from meeting your goal? Obstacles can be financial, physical, current obligations, etc. Develop a plan to overcome any obstacles, both current and those that become obvious as you work through your goal. “If this happens, I will…”
  • Make a list of obstacles you face right now and ways to overcome them

Plan of Action

  • Put down step-by-step the ways you will complete this goal


Unless you write down the benefits of reaching this goal, you won’t have the motivation to keep going when things get tough.

  • What benefits will I receive because of this goal? What will be different?
  • Will the benefits outweigh the risk and work? Benefits must be personal and satisfying.

Tracking or Ongoing Evaluation

  • Evaluate your progress weekly. Does your goal need refining? Is it still important to you? Why? Why not? Write down ways you will overcome discouragement.


  • Without a commitment, you can get off track and get discouraged. A commitment continues to motivate and encourage you. Write it down, sign and date it.

I, _________, hereby make a commitment to _____________________. Date __________

Visualize It

  • Close your eyes and see yourself having reached your goal. Imagine how it feels and all the pleasant things resulting from this goal. Do this every day.


  • Turn your goal statements into affirmations. Write the affirmations down and repeat every day as often as possible. Visualize and feel the end result.
  • Affirmations are repeated as though they were already true

Celebrate the completion of your goal with people who love/appreciate you!!

Goals are not intended to be so rigid and inflexible that we become broken by them.

Goals are often discarded because they are not important enough to overcome the obstacles to get there. When that happens, we may feel like a failure. If our goals are right for us, we will be energized even when the going gets tough. After starting your goal, if you discover it isn’t what you wanted, refine, or rework it until it is right for you.

One of My Major Goals

Step 7 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Plan Your Goal

Here is an example of how I took a life-altering event and worked it through to a new beginning. As I came to terms with the death of my husband, I realized I needed to make some major changes. I would need to sell my home. That involved decisions of where I wanted to live, where I could afford to live, and finding a way to make it happen.

As I worked on my initial goal, I soon realized I needed to modify it. There were no homes for sale within my community that fit my requirements.

I reviewed additional options: purchase and move a modular home to a site, build a new home, or move out of my area. I wanted to remain in my community. The costs and risks involved in moving a modular home were not fiscally sound for me. After careful consideration, I chose to build myself a new home. Here was my revised goal.

Goal Statement: While my house is on the market, I will look for a building site, a house plan, and a contractor. From the sale of my current home, I will purchase a lot and initiate construction. If needed, I can put in place a small mortgage.

Time: Begin immediately. My time-frame had to include not only the sale of my house, but finding a lot I liked, a house plan to fit that lot, and a reliable building contractor. It required working with a dependable real estate agent.


  • Find a suitable lot within my means
  • Find a contractor I trusted and who I could work with
  • Find a house plan that I liked and could modify to fit my lot
  • Sale of my current house with enough reserve to purchase a lot and build
  • Find reliable mentors who would help me think through all the critical steps
  • Establish a construction loan package that would convert to a permanent loan
  • Deal with higher levels of pain from a deteriorating hip joint

 Plan of Action:

  • Ask my realtor to locate available, affordable, and buildable lots
  • Consult a local builder who had built other homes in my community. Did the people like the homes he built? Was he easy to work with? Did he listen and give specific answers to their questions?
  • Match costs to build with proceeds of the sale of my home
  • Talk with trusted individuals about my plan-of-action. I had some previous knowledge about building as my husband and I had built two previous homes.
  • Find a construction loan that would roll-over to a permanent loan with a low fixed interest rate
  • Have my house plan drawn up; review modification particulars and sign a building contract

All plans of action get more involved as you work within them. I found a lot I liked that was within my budget, sold my home, put together a loan package, signed an agreement with a builder who modified the plan I brought him to meet my specifics, and entered the hospital to have a hip replacement the day they started building my new home. After my house was completed, I moved, with the help of many good friends, from my old house to my new one.

Reviewing the process

Once I started, I was committed to following through. By reviewing all the potential obstacles, I was able to find ways to overcome them. I refined and modified my original goal. I affirmed my goal by visualizing my new home. I was an active participant in the whole building process, measuring my furniture to meet the specifications of my house plan, etc.

I wanted a home I could live in within my means and enjoy for many years.

Before I broke ground, I gathered with a group of my friends to celebrate this new transition. Later, my friends were invited to help celebrate my new home.

I love my home. It is right for me and my needs. But to have the home I have today, I had to let go of a home I loved in order to create a new reality that was right for me today. The goal planning process enabled me to do that.

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