Life plan? A plan without action is just a dream…

Life plan? A plan without action is just a dream…

Have you been stuck in a rut? A never-ending cycle of planning, researching, and starting-but-not-quite, only to end up back at the drawing board?

Take action

I have heard this time and again as I have followed several influential side-hustlers/entrepeneurs… “take ACTION”… *don’t wait until you are ready* … take action now, and adjust the plan as it unfolds…

There are so many aspects of life that this is true, but probably most importantly when you are trying to affect change in your life. Action forces the envelope, pushes you outside of your little comfort box, and is how we learn! So go ahead, make mistakes! Then learn from them, and continue taking action!

Taking action, with all of the imperfection that comes along with it, is better than finding yourself in the same place only years older…

I recently stumbled upon aAction blog post of mine from years ago. Written back when my blog was more of a journal. Upon reading, I realized a few things. My life plan was nothing more than a bunch of partially realized or unrealized dreams. AND most of those dreams remain true today, more than seven years later.

There is one significant difference. I am now desperate to take action.


I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, reading a lot of books, and doing a lot of researching, learning, thinking… and I know that I must take more significant steps than I have in the past. I need to stretch beyond my newer comfort zone, and THEN keep stretching.

There are a lot of great leaders out there. Each has their own way of doing things. Many have a philosophy that they have come to follow. The most common thread among those I have been drawn to: ACTION is much more effective than planning, goal-setting, dreaming. While it is important to have the eye on the prize, it should be evolving, and it cannot evolve without taking steps in a direction beyond the current state.


Resources that I have found useful:

Chris Guillebeau –; $100 Start-up; Born for This

Marie Forleo – B-School; MarieTV

Cathy Heller – Don’t Keep Your Day Job (podcast)


Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Life plan baby steps

I’m here – half standing, half sitting, perched on a bar stool at my counter height table – wishing more than anything I had a nice comfy lounge chair to be outside enjoying the unseasonable end-of-summer heat. I left work early due to back spasms that just aren’t letting up. Fortunately, I have a sweet spouse who offered to swap me massage appointments (we see the same RMT) so that I can get in tomorrow morning, rather than wait until Thursday. In the meantime, I’m trying to get by on ibuprofen, alternating ice and heat.

As usual I’m struggling staying focused on anything. I found some great sources of information to help me hone my desire to do something unique while satisfying my personal goals in life, but as I ran out of time on the day discovered I also lost my focus moving forward. Somehow I need to get back there and continue the momentum. I can see why people need to take week-long hiatuses to go through this process effectively. Unfortunately that’s just not in the cards for me right now. And so I flounder (again).

This back pain is a prime example of how the distractions in my life seem to just take over and interfere. I know that in many cases it’s simply because I have let it happen, in others I just haven’t found the answer yet.

When it comes to my fitness the latter applies. Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia three years ago was at first a bit of validation that I was dealing with something that was not all in my head. But it doesn’t give me any real answers. It hasn’t helped me to feel better. I have tried many strategies, and have managed to improve the situation in bite sizes, however the pain still interferes far too much with my daily life and my long-term goals. I want to be fit. I want to be able to just hop on my bike and do a day trip that involves a long ride there and back. I do not want to be hurting three weeks after every carefully planned attempt at restarting my fitness routine. I have tried so many things. I’m sick of this cycle of un-success. Today I did what feels like the last option (of course I thought that with my last course of action, not knowing about this one). I called a pain management centre I recently learned of. They work with chronic pain sufferers in a self-managed/referred program that will likely involved some pretty dedicated commitment. But if I can get back to daily exercise that is not at the expense of my ability to function, I want it.

Some people would say: if it hurts, then just don’t do it. Many would love a reason to just not bother. But, I know in the long run that if I can find a way to make this work I’ll be healthier for much longer. Sedentary lifestyles result in heart disease, or Type 2 diabetes, or other disease… The short term sacrifice is SO worth the long term gain. Besides, my current mental state will also improve significantly with regular successful physical activity. Whether it is wise or not, I am really banking on this next step making room for significant changes.

Then there are the many other aspects of my life in which I must focus and achieve greater momentum and accomplishments. I started the process of planning, but haven’t completed the nitty gritty yet. I do know that I want to focus on one of my hobbies, learning how to become a better photographer. I bought the camera, and I’ve been playing around with it, but I need a little help getting this ball in motion, so I signed up for a basic municipal recreation evening class in Digital SLR. I can’t wait to get to know my camera and its abilities better!

I also entered a deadline into my calendar for blogging. I need to hold myself accountable. I want to write more. I want to write SOMETHING everyday. I’ve decided that publishing some written work daily on my blog is not entirely realistic for me at this time (just as publishing a photo a day isn’t). So I am committing to two new written entries each week. However, I hope I will somehow make time to write everyday, and then some of that can be stored up for future publishing when I have unforeseen challenges arise (i.e. illness or family obligations). After I start my photography course I’ll commit to two new photo entries each week as well.

These are actions to be added to my life plan that got stalled a week or two ago. They are baby steps, but at least I can feel like I’m doing something.

“Blog-storming” a life plan

“Blog-storming” a life plan

Forming a plan. Not as easy as it sounds. I had this fantastic idea last night, that I just need to sit down and truly plan what I want out of my life. Hell!? Where do I begin? Short term? Long term? What aspect of my life? This isn’t a new idea I had, I’ve talked about it many times before. What makes me think THIS TIME, I can come up with something that makes sense and is doable?

I really don’t think that, but I know I must believe it. I am so tired of floundering and considering my options and my million interests and my assets… and my limitations.

Getting started

So, where do I begin? The big vision? Here’s an attempt: One day I hope to see myself with security, with a good quality of life where I need not worry about the future. Having been a mom and a woman making sacrifices for my family and my ideologies, I have very little in the way of a nest egg. I haven’t socked away a big savings, nor established a promising investment for my retirement years, or my children’s future. I would like to see myself able to travel where I choose, when I choose and how I choose. I would like to see myself able to provide the kind of support my family might need, in whatever form that might take. I want to be confident I can take care of life’s surprises, including my (and my family’s) health as well as humanly possible. I want to know that I contribute to a better, more equitable society.

While I’ve always had a lot of ideas of ways I’d like to contribute to society through my career and benevolence, I know that deep down I’d like to find a way to do that while self-employed. Yet, I do not feel confident taking the full-blown plunge into self-sufficiency (i.e. leaving my job and opening a business). However, I have taken the first step towards making it possible, by securing a part-time job in my field that leaves me with time for my family and my other interests and endeavours. Now what is the next step? How/when do I know to take the plunge into a sea of possibilities and unknowns?


What are my dreams? Realistic options? My priorities? And in what order do I pursue them?

Here’s an in-exhaustive list:
Master’s degree
Social business: bookswap & fair trade coffee
Help to establish a Not-for-profit childcare facility (or lobby for public daycare)
Sustainable home (eco-friendly & efficient)
Involved parenting
Significant role in a cause that I’m passionate about
Physical fitness
Accomplishment of at least one of my hobbies/interests (photography; learning another language; musical instruments; etc.)
an orderly, yet comfortable home

What comes first?

What are the immediate priorities for me? I don’t see this as numbered in a sequential order, but more organic in nature. Parenting is at the top of the list to be certain – and with this means juggling the unique needs of a family that is non-traditional: 4.5 years separated/soon-to-be-divorced; and shared custody with their military dad who lives in a neighboring province. Self-employment is something I’d like to begin working towards, and think some of my other dreams fit in towards realizing this (i.e. consulting/freelancing). Advocacy/activism is inherent in my life, but I would like to make it a bigger part of what I do outside of my job – it’s time to assess where my greatest passions are. Physical fitness has to be one of the top priorities. Self care is of course a priority. Aside from my physical health, I acknowledge the need to make time for me. I will pick just one activity to pursue further, a little bit at a time – photography.

Down the road

Where does that leave some of the other dreams? The Master’s degree is something I’d like to pursue sooner, rather than later. I can table this consideration to a slightly later date – deadlines for Canadian Universities are somewhere around December or later for entry into the Fall 2011 start cohort. The social business, may or may not happen – something to keep in my back pocket for now. The childcare centre may fall into the advocacy work that I want to do, or may be something to consider becoming involved with down the road. Consulting/freelancing could easily be an avenue for some of my top priorities and should be a strong consideration for immediate future/present work. Politics is definitely a down-the-road consideration for personal participation, but again could fall in with some advocacy work in the near future. Travel is always something I do, if only in small ways (i.e. daytrips & short vacations). One day when I do not have two young children whose lives would be so greatly disrupted, this will move up on the list of priorities. Gardening can happen when we find the time/money to make some changes to our property. For now, I make small progress in the bits that currently exist. A sustainable home is something that we take baby steps toward everyday. We do the manageable pieces like recycling, changing light bulbs and turning off lights, flushing selectively, etc. One day I’d like to make a bigger investment into equipment that will allow us to reduce our footprint far more substantially. This too will have to wait until we have the financial resources to pursue it further. Playing a significant role in a cause that I’m passionate about, will happen as my advocacy work unfolds. At some point, I will know that I am really making a difference. First I need to find my focus. Accomplishment of at least one of my hobbies/interests is something I can make small steps towards, but I may need to table the really big work until a later stage in my life. Having an orderly, yet comfortable home is something I am continuously trying to achieve. I never feel like I’m “there”, but do feel like there have been big steps in the right direction. With so many other interests, I just have to accept this will never entirely be, without the financial means to hire someone else to maintain it for me. 🙂

So not exactly a plan, but the first step in forming one. After a short break, I will come back to this (today) to try to eek one out.

To recap, my main focuses will be (in no particular order): parenting; becoming self-employed; activism; physical fitness; and hobby: photography.


Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

I invite you to subscribe to my blog using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my page on Facebook, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it. You can do so using the easy share button below

The Plan

Today was day one of my vacation. Last night I was thinking online status messages: “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, today just is…” I have said this so many times, and I know I am not alone is the thought processes: I need a plan. First and foremost I need a game plan, a life plan of how I am going to work towards the things I really want. Within the game plan, there are smaller plans that I must work out, as I have realized I just work better with a plan: a fitness plan, a career plan, a family plan, etc., etc.

One thing I know about myself is that I really do have difficulty with taking it easy. I value relaxing, in the today-I’m-going-to-take-a-day-for-myself sense, and also in the importance of taking care of myself (i.e. relaxing before bed to settle down and be able to sleep), but when it comes to slowing my life down, taking less on and focusing on just a few important things, this is really, really, REALLY a big challenge.

I was talking with a girlfriend about how I’m always looking for the next “thing”. It’s not that I dislike what I’m currently doing (whether it be work-related, family, school, or personal projects, etc.) but I’m just constantly in the mind-set of “what next?” It’s not a good feeling anymore. I don’t feel content.

I don’t know if it has anything to do with growing up with constant change (daughter of an RCMP member, and grand-daughter of two Canadian Air Force members), or the not-so-distant-past highly stressful periods of time in my adult life.

I’ve tried to over come it, by carefully working through what the important things are to me, and how I might make a focus on those things (and little else) work for me. But, I think I’ve stumbled. I came up with a bit of a game plan, made a few good plays, but really suck at the follow-through.

If I were to make a list of all of the priorities in my life, RIGHT NOW, I would find (I am certain of this) that I have more than enough to keep me busy, occupied and challenged for quite some time. I don’t NEED to change anything. In fact, what I need is to NOT change anything for a specific timeframe.

So after spending day one of my vacation, going for a run & coffee with a friend, doing laundry (and then more laundry), reading, and taking my girls to the lake, I need to take a day while I have it to myself to be more productive in the planning. Tomorrow, I will have another run with a friend, then lunch with another friend. In between, I’ll likely do more laundry. But afterward should be spent creating a plan, and then some. Once that’s complete, I’m going to need a little help on the follow-through. 😉

From Family 2010


Sometimes a blank page is a curse. Where on earth do you begin? My life feels that way sometimes. Only it’s not a blank page, there are so many things written all over it, and I can’t focus on any of them. It’s like I have A.D.D. But only in the most abstract way. I can focus on my book (most of the time). I can write essays for school. I can listen to one radio talk show and not feel the need to constantly change stations, seeking more stimulation. Wind doesn’t distract me. The tag in my shirt is just a tag, not a torture device planted to keep me from hearing my teacher/boss speak. But when it comes to the bigger picture, everything pulls my attention in a zillion directions.

From Scenic

I always said I could be a professional student, there is just so much to learn, and I do love learning. But then I am in school and I want so much to be in a meaningful job where people rely on me to meet the challenges and take care of things. I love being home with my children and want to be there for them more than I ever can be. I want to greet them at the door when they take the bus home from school and watch them run down the road with their friends while I bake nourishing muffins then call them in to work on homework. I want to volunteer every free moment doing something really valuable for people and organizations in need. I want to travel the world and back again. I want to found and operate a successful small family business. I want to be an expert that people call on for advice & support within my own unique niche. I want to be self-sustaining: gardening our own food, powering our home ourselves with solar panels and windmills. I want to be a dedicated athlete, getting up every morning to greet the sun while I sweat on a solitary jog, ride or swim. Sweet geezuhs! Just how much money and how many hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year, years in a lifetime would it take to accomplish even a small fraction of my dreams?

Taking stock

Do you ever feel like you just can’t get grounded?

No matter what I do, I always seem to be looking. Looking for what? I’m not really sure. There are always a plenitude of plans running through my mind. Ideas. Opportunities. Dreams. Why can’t I just do them all? Of course I can’t, many of these ideas run completely contrary to one another: continue my 3 day/week job, focusing the rest of my attentions on my family; take photography courses and become fluent in French; continue my education at the graduate level; open a small socially conscious bookstore/cafe; run a consulting business; run for office (ya right!); live on a small family farm, sustaining ourselves with what we can produce and/or trade/barter; travel the world…

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Some days I feel so entirely lost in these dreams that I can’t do anything at all, so I sit and I read a book, drink my coffee, wander aimlessly on the internet, taking the occasional “break” to do something domestic like hang laundry, clean the bathroom, pay some bills…

One day I’ll have it all figured out. Right?

My biggest problem is that I have too many interests, passions, and needs. They all seem to conflict in some way, while being entirely interdependent at the same time somehow.