ACT!

Do you know where you’re headed? Do you have a plan to get there? You’ll never reach your destination if you don’t take the first step!

Everything we attempt in life requires planning. No matter your age, a plan is necessary to achieve whatever goal you set. Maybe your goal is to write a book or to be a better parent. The only way to reach that goal is to strategically plan a course to accomplish the desired result. You have to begin to begin. Take a small step forward today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. The things we plan to start tomorrow become the regrets we face later in life.

Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” What is the first step? Write out a goal and then, ACT on it. Planning is pointless without action to put the plan in motion. Don’t bury the plan hoping that it will happen “in time.” ACT! That single action puts things in motion.

Author Katherine Anne Porter said, “I am appalled at the aimlessness of most people’s lives. Fifty percent don’t pay any attention to where they are going; forty percent are undecided and will go in any direction. Only ten percent know what they want, and even all of them don’t go toward it.” Most people get caught up in the busyness of life. They feel helpless to change their situation so they drudge ahead through the same routine without hope of accomplishing the things about which they used to be most passionate.

The person who aspires to write a book will only dream about it until they take pen to paper and begin to write. (Or put hands to the keyboard!) Many people never start toward a goal because they don’t know where to begin. One sentence on paper is closer than an entire book written in the mind. The idea is to begin. Start writing. It may never go any further but it is necessary to achieve the goal.

The parent who struggles with their child desires a strong relationship throughout their child’s life. It takes time to build the foundation for that strong relationship. So look at your calendar and plan time now!  Intentional time is more valuable than passive time. A child, from birth throughout college and beyond needs a parent to focus on and encourage them. Focused activity doesn’t just happen! It requires a plan and then setting that plan into action.

Goals are necessary to achieve a desired result in every area of life, be it relationships, dreams, or career aspirations. If you aren’t planning to achieve the next goal and putting action to the plan, you will not arrive at the desired result.  An object at rest stays at rest, but even the slightest motion has the power to bring great change. Once it has begun, it is nearly impossible to stop. God’s plan for your life requires your action.

Pray, plan, and act upon that plan. That is the only way to get to the destination!

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Milestones (Not to be Confused with Millstones)

This has been a week of milestones for me! My daughters both have had significant changes in their educational lives, moving from elementary to middle school and from middle to high. My wife and I have been married 20 years. It really doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that long and yet, it’s hard to remember life before we were wed.

It’s strange how life seems to go by so fast in the moment but when we look back, it seems that it’s been ages since the milestones of the past. Our wedding was 20 years ago today but I remember each detail as though it just happened. The first time I held each of our daughters, looked into their eyes and fell so deeply in love with them seems like yesterday but for all the moments and memories in between. Birthday parties and family trips, graduation ceremonies (way more of these than I remember in my own educational path) and personal victories, each milestone sets a way point as I look back over the road that is my life. As much as those moments stick out, it seems to me it’s the time spent navigating from milestone to milestone that makes the memories I cherish so dear.

As great as the mark of 20 years of marriage seems to be in the society we live in, knowing the journey Tracy and I have traveled, complete with bumps and detours, wins and losses, that’s what makes the moment precious. I wouldn’t trade a moment of the journey because those momentary course corrections are what have brought us to the place we are today. Those frustrations we all encounter are the moments where real strength is developed.

Celebrate the milestones but remember the moments that got you there. Without the joys and trials along the journey, the milestones would be empty. In the moment, it may be painful, but refining takes time, heat and discipline, so hold on and know that God is still molding you into the wonderful creation He intends for you to be. Don’t lose heart in the struggle, embrace it and thank God for it. The victories and milestones of life are so much sweeter when we realize the work that went into achieving the successes we celebrate!