Wishful Thinking: The Goal Without A Plan

This goal-plan combo process works great for achieving any goal. It will keep you on track, and help you to stay accountable. The plan helps us know what we need to do, the goal is a motivating factor that keeps pushing us forward! So make sure both your goal and plan are SMART goals so they can work together towards the same goal!
"A goal without a plan is just a wish." That's what they say, but is it true? A goal by itself does not guarantee success. It needs to be paired with the right plan for that goal to become reality. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between goals and plans and show you how to create your own goal-plan combo so you can start making things happen!

1. The goal without a plan is just a wish

So, what does, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” mean? In short, it means that without actionable steps, your goal is just that: a dream. It’s nothing more than wishful thinking. Wishful thinking has never resulted in tangible results the way hard work and planning have.

We all have personal and professional aspirations, from entrepreneurs to college students. Dreams, however, can even be the most well-intentioned—such as finding a new job or learning a new skill—without specific strategies to back them up. The foundation of any vision is a plan. The tools and resources you need are already in your hands. They're within reach, readily available—and we'll get them for you with as little fuss or drama as possible.

Your ambitions and aspirations will be unconnected if you don't have a strategy in place. You can't stop there, though, when it comes to making a plan. In fact, some of the most highly effective people will tell you that it’s not just about making a plan, but putting that plan into action that matters most. If you’re still not sold on why goal-setting and planning are so important, jump into the next section.

2. What are goals and what are plans

On definition for goal is "the result or achievement toward which effort is directed".  And a definition for a plan is "a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance".  

So in our context, we can say that a goal is what you're striving for and a plan is how you will do it.

3. Why do you need both goal and plan to succeed

Consider what might happen if a crew of builders came together to construct a house but had no plan in place.  And they just started working. Without a strategy, their efforts would be disconnected, inconsistent, and most certainly not end with a fantastic conclusion.

It's wonderful to have objectives in life. It implies that you want to improve your life in some manner, and you believe that a better future is possible. You’re not content with the status quo. But you must strive for your potential success to be anything more than an idea for it to be something greater.

When you have a goal in mind, you need to break it down into clear steps you have to take to give yourself a sense of direction. You have to plan the what, when, where, and (most importantly) how so you’re not wandering doing tasks that may or may not be giving you leverage to meet your goal.

When you have a goal in mind, you’re in a passive “thinking” stage. But, once you have a plan, you can move into the active “doing” stage. This is where you'll start to see results.

Some of your goals may require more detailed and comprehensive planning than others, but having the structure of a plan will help you achieve the final product that you originally hoped for.

Working on Growing your business? Here is a post about the top goals for marketing -- and how to achieve them!

4. How to create a goal-plan combo for your goal so you can start making things happen!

For our process, we start with 1 BIG goal.  We use the SMART Goals framework that will help us define that goal clearly.  

Specific — Specific goals, rather than broad aspirations, are more effective.

Measurable — A SMART goal has a defined finish line, so there's no room for an argument if you meet it.

Achievable — It's also vital to remember that goals must be realistic. Something that may be done.

Relevant — A SMART goal is important. It should reflect your overall purpose in life or a long-term vision. Make sure your aim is something that will push you forward and not consume your time needlessly.

Time-Bound — A good objective must have a due date for you to assess your success. Set a deadline for the objective. What is the maximum timeframe you can reasonably complete what you're attempting to do? Then, make a goal deadline to keep yourself honest.


Once we have determined one Big goal, we will start working on the plan.  We 'work backwards' from the end goal to get from where we are - to where we want to be.  

We write down all the milestones we need to complete in order for us to reach our goal. Work backward from your goal and list everything you'll have to do or accomplish along the way.  

We define the specific strategies, and tactics to reach our end goal.   And we are going to define some specific SMART goals that move us along the way.


This goal-plan combo process works great for achieving any goal. It will keep you on track, and help you to stay accountable.  The plan helps us know what we need to do, the goal is a motivating factor that keeps pushing us forward! So make sure both your goal and plan are SMART goals so they can work together towards the same goal!

A goal without a plan is just wishful thinking. Without the right direction, you may not be able to reach your goal as quickly or effectively as if you had an actionable process mapped out for yourself and executed on time with consistency. This blog post has given you some tips about how to create a goal-oriented strategic plan that will help keep your focus in line so that you can achieve more of what matters most to you!

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