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Monday, January 3, 2011

Actionable and Measurable Plans

18 Form your purpose by asking for counsel,
   then carry it out using all the help you can get.
(Proverbs 20:18)

As the New Year dawns and all good people begin to share their "resolutions", I am reluctant to believe many of them as I have seen the results of "resolutions" in the past.  Most of us start out well, fizzle by February, and bemoan our ill-fated plans by March!  What happens?  We don't have well thought out plans that are truly "actionable" and "realistic". 

If there was one thing that was drilled into me over and over again in nursing school it was that our goals for our patients needed to be actionable and realistic.  In other words, we needed to be able to show how we planned to accomplish the care for our patient, each step outlined in detail, until the goal could be realized.  Why was this so important?  Simply put - a plan that was outlined with detail gave us guidance in establishing the best course of action that would get us as close to the results we desired.

Our passage today indicates that our "purpose" (PLAN) needs to be formed by asking for counsel.  First of all, asking for advice when formulating our plan for the year is important because we NEED the input of others.  Most of the time, we set out on plans ourselves without seeking the input of others because we think we have it all figured out.  Others may see things in a different way, lending a well-rounded approach to the plan.  When we have the wisdom of a counselor on our side, we may have more "actionable" steps to our plan.

The counsel we receive is only as good as the counselor we seek out.  In other words, if we want to succeed in weight loss, we go to somehow who has walked the path before us.  If we want to learn to invest our finances wisely, we need someone who can live on a budget and who is able to spend wisely.  When we come for counsel, we are seeking the opinion of that other person and we are looking for them to give us instruction that will affect our conduct.  So, it is important that we seek the best counsel as possible.

Every goal has to have actionable steps - those itemized increments that will get us to the goal.  No step in the process should be without some purposeful action.  If we are just including something into our plan because it looks good or sounds good, but really has no real purpose in aiding in the accomplishment of the plan, it is wasteful.  We spend energy on something that has no results.  When we do this, we "burn out" on the plan faster and then we don't realize our original goals.

What plans do you have for this New Year?  Have you sought wise counsel to assist you in formulating your plans?  If not, you might want to heed the advice of scripture.  The plans of a righteous man are ordered by God.  The plans of a righteous man are actionable and measurable because they have been submitted to the counsel of the wise.