“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Chances are, you’ve heard this quote at every personal growth conference you’ve attended throughout the years—and for good reason! A plan is the backbone of a goal. Without a plan, your goal loses its spine and becomes nothing more than a wish.
But there’s a difference between hearing this quote and actually creating a plan and putting it into motion. Today, we want to give you all the motivation you need to give your goal structure and make Antoine de Saint-Exupéry proud.
Let’s jump into everything you need to know about why a goal without a plan is just a wish, how to set goals and how to put your plan into action.
But First, Who Was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry?
The man behind the famous motivational quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” was renowned French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. de Saint-Exupéry was best known for his short novella Le Petit Prince, or as we call it in The States, The Little Prince.
Since its publication in 1943, Le Petit Prince has become one of the most widely translated books of all time, available in more than 250 languages and dialects, from Bavarian to Braille. The quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” first appeared in the original publication of Le Petit Prince almost 80 years ago.
In addition to The Little Prince, de Saint-Exupéry’s literary works included Wind, Sand and Stars, Night Flight and Flight to Arras. A common theme in de Saint-Exupéry’s work was the skies, which is understandable when you consider that he first achieved fame as a French aviator. Sadly, de Saint-Exupéry’s first love of aviation appears to have led to his death.
Despite a robust and well-received body of work, de Saint-Exupéry disappeared while on a reconnaissance mission in World War II. Though he vanished back in 1944, his disappearance is still shrouded in mystery till this day. Remains from his plane and some personal effects were discovered in 2000, yet his body has never been found.
However, the work he left us with—including this legendary quote—continues to be celebrated.
Breaking Down the Renowned Goal Quote
So, what does, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” mean? In short, it means that without actionable steps, your dream is just that: a dream. It’s nothing more than wishful thinking. And wishful thinking has never produced tangible results the way hard work and planning have.
From business owners to college students, we all have personal and professional dreams. However, even the most well-intentioned dreams—like finding a new job or learning a new skill—can fail to come true without concrete plans to support them. Plans are the backbone of any dream. They provide the foundation and support necessary to not only dream the dream, but to wake up and live it.
Without a plan, your dreams and your goals become disconnected. And you can’t stop at just 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.
The Importance of Goal Setting in Life and Business
Throughout your life, it’s imperative to set goals, both short-term and long-term. Ideally, your short-term goals should feed into your long-term goals. For instance, you can set a long-term goal of changing your career path. Then, set short-term goals to learn a new skill and grow your network.
Both in life and in business, your short-term and long-term goals should push you to become the best version of yourself. Take it from Dean Graziosi, who said, “Goal-setting is arguably the most important step to success.” Without goals, you live each day with no true purpose—and how can you reach success without a purpose in life?
Even if right now you’re not quite sure where you want to end up in 10 or 20 years, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any steps forward in a positive direction. Without goals, you’re essentially a feather in the wind—just floating wherever life blows you. And without a plan, you have no actionable steps to redefine where you want to go.
If you want to stop being a victim of your circumstances and instead become a hero of your success, learn how to set effective SMART goals.
How to Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Setting SMART goals positions your desires into a concrete plan that you can feel confident about achieving. With this effective goal-setting method, it’s easy to plan for your goals. That way, they become a roadmap to success.
If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, here’s a quick explainer:
- Specific — Effective goals are ones with detail, not general statements. So, instead of setting a broad goal to read more, set a specific goal to read 10 pages of a book daily. The former is a wish; the latter is a goal.
- Measurable — A SMART goal has a defined achievement mark, so there’s no debate over whether or not you completed it. Continuing with the example above, “Read more” cannot be measured. But, you can track if you’ve actually read 10 pages of a book each day.
- Achievable — Successful goals are achievable, meaning you can reasonably achieve them. Of course, your goals should always push you to reach greater heights. However, it’s unreasonable to set a goal of finishing an entire book in a day. Instead, you’re better off breaking up that goal into something achievable over time.
- Relevant — A SMART goal is relevant. It should feed back into your overall purpose in life or an overarching long-term goal. Be sure you’re setting a goal that pushes you forward and doesn’t waste your time.
- Time-Bound — An effective goal must have a due date for you to measure success. Determine a timeframe for the goal. How long will it take for you to reasonably achieve it? Then, set a goal deadline to hold yourself accountable.
You can truly achieve all of your short-term and long-term goals. And SMART goals can provide the boost you need to believe that. With your highly specific SMART goals in hand, you can confidently take the next steps towards making your wishful thinking a reality.
Why You Always Need a Plan (or Two) in Place
A goal without a plan is just a dream. So, once you have your SMART goals in place, it’s time to brainstorm an action plan. Your action plan is a roadmap for what you need to succeed. It should include everything, from personal development to technology and tools. What follows will be a growth journey with tangible results that propel you closer to your ultimate purpose.
But bear in mind, the quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” can also refer to goals that did have a plan at some point… but have now hit a dead end. In life, it’s common to hit a snag or two while accomplishing your goals. This is why we recommend having a secondary plan up your sleeve. That way, you can continue making headway on your goals, no matter what life brings.
Remember to Always Act on Your Goals
So many people wait until New Year’s Eve to make a resolution or set a goal—don’t be one of these people. When you feel stuck, ask yourself what Dean would ask you: “Are you running on a treadmill or climbing up a ladder?”
When you’re on a treadmill, you may be running fast and working hard, but you’re not really going anywhere. On the flip side, when you’re on a ladder, you might be going slow and steady, but you’re inching closer towards your dreams.
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to act on it. Even if you’re only taking baby steps up the ladder, you should still analyze what’s working and what isn’t. This will help you clear a path towards that goal.
Even if your goal has a plan, it can still be a wish if you’re not taking the necessary steps to achieve it. The easiest way to build momentum is to start on your plan and continue to act on it until you reach your goals.
Turn Your Wish into Reality with a Solid Plan
A dream without a plan might just be a wish, but that doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming. You should never stop dreaming! But in order to achieve success in life and in business, you need to pair that dream with an actionable plan. Then do the thing!
How will you take action on your goals?
Text Dean at 480-400-9019 and let him know!
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