Value of Having a Plan
Have you ever had a goal that you wanted to accomplish, but it did not end up working because of lack of planning?
Have you ever had a goal that you planned for, but the plan did not work out and it was difficult to find motivation to keep working towards your goal?
I have been in both of these situations and been disappointment when working towards my goals did not go as planned. Having a plan and ongoing inspiration can help us to accomplish our goals. There is a theory that there are four steps to change. These steps are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action (DiClemente & Norcross, 1992). The preparation stage is when we have accepted the change we would like to make and then taking steps to get ready for taking action. Vision boards and planning are great steps to take to prepare for action!
Making a vision board, whether it is for the new year, a special project, or a new habit, allows us to stay focused on our priorities and stay inspired even when the change is difficult. Any change, new habit, or even new year will have challenges that we did not anticipate or that may decrease our motivation. Because of this a vision board can help us to stay focused and to press forward when parts of the plan have to be tweaked or changed to accomplish our overall goals. We all grow tired and feel overwhelmed at times from making any kind of change. Because of this it can be helpful to have something to look at and to help us to visualize why it is important to keep working towards our goal.
Types of Vision Boards
There are several ways that you can make a vision board or display your goals in ways that can inspire you and keep you focused on what your priorities are.
- You can make a collage of your vision and goals! This can be very fun because you can use whatever stickers, pictures, phrases, and embellishments that inspire you regarding your goals. This is a great way to express your hopes, desired results, and your “why” behind working towards that goal. The inspiration from the collage can spur you forward towards your goal and be a source of comfort to press forward when barriers come up. You can see a small vision board that I made below with a frame from the Dollar Tree. This is my Amazon referral link for the stickers I purchased for the vision board.
- You could choose a word to focus on that represents your “why” behind the goal, that describes your desired outcome, or that inspires you towards your goals.
- If you are someone who likes to work on a variety of goals, you could write out all of the goals you have for the year. For example, if you were wanting to work on your health, career, relationships, and faith during 2022 then you could write out a reflection on all four topics and what you are hoping to achieve throughout the year.
Using SMART goals as our foundation can be helpful in allowing us to make plans that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. After we have made a vision board or other inspirational reflection, we can than break down our goals into specific and measurable steps. This supports us in making changes and allows the change we make to be sustainable.
Specific – I would like to eat more vegetables.
Measurable – I plan to eat 4 servings of vegetables daily.
Achievable – this is a doable goal because it is simple and will take place during my lunch and dinner meals.
Realistic – this is realistic to me because I enjoy vegetables and can fairly easily start eating 4 servings daily.
Time-based – I plan to work on this goal for the next three months.
Summary: My goal is to eat 4 servings of vegetables daily, during my lunch and dinner meals. I will work on this goal for the next three months. This is realistic and achievable due to my enjoyment of vegetables and desire to eat healthier.
Trouble Shooting Your Plan
There are times for all of us that working towards our goals does not go as well as we hoped or planned. For most of us we give up on our New Year’s resolutions by February or we might quit a diet three weeks in. If the methods that you had planned on did not work, do not allow that to dishearten you to give up on your goal! Try adjusting the plan or the methods of how you go about working towards your end goals! Your health, wellbeing, and dreams are worth pursuing!!
DiClemente, C. & Norcross, J. (1992). In Search of How People Change: Applications to Addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114.