To Keep Your Dream Alive Remember This One Simple Thing


Maybe this year hasn’t turned out exactly as you planned.

Every year I have plans that are laid aside because of setbacks, resource issues, or just plain bad luck. It happens to everyone. No one is immune to the fact that sometimes plans don’t work out.

This year may have been one of those years for you. Several years ago, I learned a principle that has helped me to keep focus even when plans don’t go just right. And here’s the deal…many times your plans are really more than just plans…they are the starting points of what you hope grows into the fulfillment of your dream.

Whether it’s beginning a new small business, or parenting your children better, even becoming a more faithful christian…the best laid plans don’t always work out; and sometimes those plans have to do with your dream for your life

Some things are planned out of necessity. Other things are planned because they point us towards our dream. When those plans don’t seem to work out, it can really get us down.

To keep your dream alive remember this one simple thing…

Plans are measured in months…Vision is measured in years.

Plans are just that…they are short term goals that help us reach a preferred future. Your vision is your preferred future. Vision is what you hope your life becomes or what you desire to accomplish in your life. Simply put…Vision is a long term idea of what you want your future to look like.

We all have a vision for our life of some kind, even if we’ve never put it into words.

But here’s the problem…We let the failure of short term plans knock us off the path to reaching our long term vision. Don’t fall for that trap.

One of the best things I’ve ever learned is this: plans change, vision doesn’t.

There are many possible plans that God can use to point you toward your vision. Just because something didn’t work out quite right this year doesn’t mean that the world has ended and your dream is impossible…no…a thousand times no!

I believe that your vision is in your heart for a reason. In fact, I believe that God gifts every human being with a unique vision for their life. It’s part of our work to find it, and (with God’s help) make a plan to capture it.

Beginning this blog, among other things is for me, a step towards my dream. It’s what I feel is a God-given dream.

Remember this:

Dreams don’t come true over night.

Dreams require work, sweat, and sometimes tears. Your best plans are the short term means to a long term end…and plans change…

Plans are measured in months, vision is measured in years.

If you want next year to be better and put you closer to your dream…Here’s what to do:

1.) Learn to roll with it.

Life is going to throw you into things you didn’t expect. Life is tricky like that. When something comes up that’s outside of your plan…learn to adjust…learn to roll with it…learn to change quickly. Where I live, we have an active whitetail deer population. Sometimes at night, those deer like to cross the highway. Many times I’ve found my headlights staring down an unlucky deer that just happened to be crossing my path. I’ve learned that in that situation, quick thinking and change is an absolute necessity if you don’t want to crash. It happened to me again just two nights ago. Bottomline…something unexpected is going to cross your path this year and you are going to either plow right into it and wreck your life, or you’re going to make some quick adjustments and roll with it. Which one will you do?

2.) Live day by day…plan year by year.

One of the best things I’ve ever done is make an overall yearly plan. I’m always surprised by how many people have a great dream; but they never make a plan to reach it. If vision is long term, then it makes sense to look further down the road. You need a yearly plan. Set aside some time to see where you’re going next year. It will help you all year long. I promise.

3.) Review what happened this year.

Figure out what could’ve and should’ve changed. Think about what went right. There’s no better way to see where your life is headed than to look in the rearview mirror and see where you’ve been.

4.) Determine what personal changes you need for next year.

Author and consultant Chris Brogan, mentions finding three words that you want to describe your life next year. I love this. I’m already finding the words that I feel God wants to describe me next year. This is a simple, powerful way to point your personal life towards the direction of your dream.

5.) Stick with your dream.

You are going to encounter difficulty. That’s a given…in every difficulty you have a choice. To stick with your dream or to abandon it. Let me ask you a question…What are you going to miss out on if you don’t reach your dream? Maybe you’ll miss out on seeing your kids go to college…maybe you’ll miss out on finding your career…maybe you’ll miss out on something God has waiting for your life. Is it really worth it to miss out on your dream simply because you give in to the pressure of short term difficulty? Stick with your dream.

Question: What are you going to do differently next year to put you closer to reaching your dream?

Please answer this question in the comments box below. I’d love to hear your feedback!


Larry Shankle is a pastor, author, and blogger. He helps people get clarity and direction in their calling, purpose, dreams, and leadership.

Larry and his wife (Amanda) live in the Arkansas river valley with their two boys (Braxton and Dawson). He has spent almost two decades in active local church ministry serving in multiple leadership roles. Larry has spent the last six and a half years serving as Lead Pastor of GrandviewChurch in Natural Dam, AR.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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