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A good life requires a little planning

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I’ll be honest, I’m not good at writing down goals. In fact, I’m not really good at planning in general. Like, at all.

When my husband and I go on a trip we usually end up wherever we’re going without much of a plan or itinerary. We’ve learned to just kind of go with the flow. For us, in many ways it works. Our daily lives are so busy and full that we tend to fall to the opposite extreme any time we can. Someone once told me you can’t plan fun…and I tend think he’s right.

But I believe we all have a calling; a gifting where our greatest strength intersects with our deepest fear and our highest potential for good. In nearly every respect, it’s what scares us to death. It’s that thing that brings out our passion and our insecurity; the place where we literally splay our hearts wide open and pray. We pray that God would do something with our meager offering and protect our hearts in the meantime. Mine is writing, and it certainly has challenged where I put my security and confidence, and demanded that I learn to place my faith and hope and trust in something far greater than myself.

My grandma always used to say: It’s a good life if you don’t weaken. Her very difficult and trying life birthed in her a wisdom I may never attain. She knew who she was, she knew what she wanted, and she called a spade a spade. She always said that too. In a way as imperfect and beautiful as possible, she lived a good life. I hope someday I can look back and say the same.

For me, a good life requires that I live into the gift I was given, as difficult and uncomfortable and challenging as it may be sometimes. As much as it requires me to sacrifice some of the things of this world. A good life is far more than what I have or who I can impress — it’s rooted far more deeply in who I am, what I believe, and living my life in accordance with those beliefs even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. But I can’t do it on my own.

I’m also realizing that with dreams and callings, as much as we trust and rely on God, we can’t really just wing-it. We’re required to do our part. One of my favorite quotes is: Work like it depends on you, pray like it depends on God. The more I reflect on it, I do a lot of trusting and working, but not a lot of planning. Therefore I also do a lot of wasting of time, energy and resources constantly figuring out where I’m going.

My friend Ruth just launched her amazing book: Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. It’s a simple, powerful and practical guide to finding contentment in the midst of the seemingly scattered pieces of a chaotic life. In every chapter I found myself relating to her honest story, questioning how I could make better decisions not only for me but for my family. I’m not good at planning. I’m not good at planning meals, writing grocery lists, organizing my things, managing my time or setting a budget. Apparently, I’m an anti-planner! Reading her book made me realize how much time, money and energy I waste in so many areas of my life and how quickly I can course-correct.

In secret #4 she talks about how written goals can change your life.

“It’s not enough to have some hazy daydream of what you’d like to accomplish someday. You have to actually take the time—whether it be five minutes or five hours—to write it down. Taking the time to write down your vision of the future not only forces you to self-evaluate and decide what is most important, but it also motivates you to act on those dreams. Writing them down makes them real. And once they are real you can’t ignore them.”

I’ve always assumed writing down goals applies just to big things, but it doesn’t. Reading Ruth’s book I realized how many simple daily goals I have that I’ve never put to words and therefore never follow through on. Things like waking up earlier in the morning to have quiet time and drinking 8-10 glasses of water each day. These are simple things I want to do, that I should easily be able to do, but don’t. And then there are big goals, the ones regarding my family, my marriage and our future, and the goals I have regarding my work and writing.

I have a lot of big dreams, but I realize I don’t have any long-term goals. I’m a hazy daydreamer! I have them all somewhere floating around in my head but I don’t ever take the time to think them through or get them down on paper. I don’t create a vision or a plan to get there. Now I wonder how I thought I would get anywhere…not even knowing where I want to go? 

Perhaps you’re like me and just kind of wing-it? I’m not a fan of resolutions and I choose a word of the year to inspire me instead. But this year, I’m going to start casting a vision and getting some goals down on paper so I can actually attain them. What are your goals, dreams, and aspirations? Ruth offers the most incredible 6 step roadmap to goal setting that I will be diving into over the next few days! Perhaps you will join me in taking the time to write down yours and make them real.

Discover your own secret of the Good Life in Ruth Soukup’s incredible new book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. You can order your own copy by clicking on the blue link above in this post. Through personal stories and practical action plans, she will inspire you to make real and lasting changes to your personal goals, homes, and finance. It is real, honest, and speaks to the heart of the matter—how can you live the life you’ve always wanted? Watch the video trailer to see why you too, need this book!

This post is written as part of Ruth Soukup’s Secret 13 Blog Tour, which I am so excited to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more about the blog tour and join in, click HERE! To find out about the amazing Secret 13 Essay Contest and your chance to win an ALL EXPENSES PAID weeklong Carnival Cruise for 4, {seriously!} click HERE. 


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