From the time I was in about the third grade until I was in my teens, we – my mother, grandmother, younger brother, and I – had a garden. I helped plant. I toted the bucket while mother or grandmother picked. Mostly, I pulled weeds and blew my runny nose every few steps of the way. I’d also help shell the peas and beans.
I was blessed to participate in this gardening venture about 3 times per week all summer long. My allergies were severe and aggravating, and my back hurt. After shelling beans for hours, my fingers hurt too.
Although I hated the work, I loved the fruit of our labor.
I say that I was blessed because not only did we have great food to eat, I learned many of life’s lessons during those years.
After Bob and I were married, I decided that I would try gardening. My first gardens did not work out so well, but again I learned.
When planning for great results, you need to plan and put in the work (Part 1), have the right tools (Part 2), and be committed (Part 3).
Although I thought I did each of these things, my first gardens still failed because I really did not understand what these steps really were. Let’s take a closer look – not so much at gardening, but at the steps required for you to achieve great results with your goals.
Plan and Put in the Work –
Most folks fail at their goals because either: they don’t plan to do anything; they plan it poorly; or they don’t follow through.
To achieve great results, you must take the time to plan the work thoroughly. This requires doing three things.
- First, write down what you expect to achieve in great detail.
My goal was to have more than enough vegetables for my family. I wanted to have some left over to put in the freezer and enjoy throughout the winter. I calculated exactly what and how much I needed to plant, and where I wanted to plant it.
Your goal might be to write a book. If so, decide what that looks like, how many pages or chapters. Sketch out the details. No matter what the goal, you must know specifically what the end result – success – will look like. Without that, you won’t know if you’ve achieved your goal.
- Second, write down each step and how much time is required to complete each one.
For my garden, I knew how many days it would take for me to prepare my boxes, and how much time I needed to plant. I also knew where I needed to acquire seed and plants.
If you are writing a book, you’d need to know how much you want to write each day, and how many days a week you want to write. Whatever your goal, the more details you can include, the more likely you are to be successful. The details will help you set both your start and completion dates.
- Third, research it thoroughly before you start. Know what you are getting into.
For my garden, I needed tools, seed, and garden fabric. I needed to plant on certain dates. If you are starting a business, you may need permits, licenses, etc. You may need software. Know the requirements and expenses connected with your goal. This ensures that you are able – financially and time wise – to complete what you start.
The next thing you need to realize is that talk is not action. Put it on your calendar! Then actually do what you planned.
The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
Don’t let excuses – or laziness – get in your way!
Unlike the sluggard and much like the ant, my garden would get off to a great start each year. I would make my plan, gather my tools, and get to work. I would dig, plant, place drip hoses, and lay garden fabric to prevent weeds. I had a plan, and I put in the work.
How about you?
Your challenge is to realize that it is easy to make a plan. It is often hard to take those steps necessary to make it a reality. Pray about your goal and for guidance before you start. Then, take into account that life can get in the way, and try not to take on more than you are willing to accomplish each day. Break your goal down into small achievable steps. Put each step on your calendar, and make time to do it. Resist the temptation to move your goal to the next day. Know the costs and any legal requirements before you start. Be willing to step out in faith to achieve that goal that the Lord has for you!