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#WQWWC #6: Setting Goals for a Successful Life

“The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.”

Seth Godin

What is fun anyway? The people I love and admire have fun doing worthwhile things and making their community a place you would want to live. I want to be one of those people who get things done, lead, grow, and make an impact for the rest of my life. Don’t you?

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.”

Mark Victor Hansen

Where do you record your dreams and goals – In your blog, your journal? I recorded my lifelong goal to be a teacher in my journal. Each opportunity that came up to move me toward that goal, I took even when it meant a hardship financially or a fight to take a step. 

“It’s important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.”

Yuichiro Miura

As an eighth-grader, my goal in life was to finish college and teach. Yet, I dropped out of college when my funds ran out. My dad had not prepared to pay for three years of college when my scholarship ran out and offered to pay for me to attend a 5-month course in dental assisting instead. I was nearly 19 by this time and felt desperate and OLD. Even though the sight of blood in a black and white movie made me queasy, I became a dental assistant.

After drifting in and out of a variety of jobs in my twenties, I wanted to get back to my life goal. 

Our pastor told me I would not make a good teacher because my spiritual gift was encouraging, not teaching. My first husband told me that I needed to be a teacher before I could go back to school. I told him that was impossible, and I thought it was. Becoming a teacher was still a goal I wrote in my journal.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

Pablo Picasso

The only possible way to teach as a profession is with a degree. Defeated, I couldn’t see a way to get to college. We were poor and my husband had a genetic disease that took both his and his sister’s lives at an early age.

When my life was at its lowest, I had lost my job as a dental assistant in the small town where we lived, and my best friend invited me to take some graduate education classes with her that she needed to renew her teaching credential. It was not expensive to audit the classes and my husband agreed. 

She invited me to work as a volunteer aide in her kindergarten class. I was thrilled when she invited me to teach a kindergarten class the next year in our church school. The pay was $350 a month when the funds were there. It was enough to meet my husband’s stipulation for going to college. To me, it represented a miracle. I took the next steps to become an elementary teacher. 

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Bill Copeland

Most of the goals during my thirties and forties focused on achieving the credentials to practice a profession – teaching and then consulting and administration, and remarrying the wonderful man who is now my husband of twenty-five years. I grew in my profession, and never again filled my life with meaningless and unfulfilling jobs. I quit running up and down the field without scoring.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”

Earl Nightingale

I loved education with all my heart, and when I retired, I set most of what I did aside to build a new life. That’s when I started blogging and it has been a life-changing hobby. My overarching goals were to write and give back to the community that gave me so much. My goals have been much more short-termed, some even could be classified as tasks. Admittedly, in my search for worthwhile goals, I gave up many times on what I thought were goals. 

“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”

Michael Korda

We’re starting over AGAIN!

We sold nearly everything and downsized to an adorable condo in Prescott, AZ. We hope to move in this week.

This past month, we accomplished my husband’s twenty-five-year-old dream of living in Arizona – talk about a patient and persistent man. Once I agreed, we set goals and tasks. Before we made the commitment we had a vague notion that we might move SOMEWHERE in three to five years – that was eight years ago.

Once we committed to WHERE we wanted to move, he became a driven man, and we had daily goal and task-setting meetings to make sure all the details got done in a timely manner. It was hard work, sad, sad, sad to leave the people we love. On the other hand, it was exhilarating to accomplish so much. If I talk about this too much, forgive me. I’m still amazed that we did it!

Yesterday we achieved the goal of walking across Lake Wilson and climbing a granite dell. We did it one white dot at a time. I was scared to death and none too nimble, but it felt great – when we got back on solid ground!


While my husband and I walked around Wilson Lake, we set what we in education call SMART goals. Here is one of our SMART Goals for the year.

  • Specific – Walk together 15 miles a week for the rest of the year.
  • Measurable – 35,355 steps per week
  • Attainable – 7,071 steps a day, five days a week.
  • Relevant – It’s important to stay fit. I need to lose weight so hopefully, I don’t produce so much estrogen (produced in fat) Estrogen fueled the breast cancer I had removed last year. I don’t need a repeat experience. Vince and I will have a chance to chat uninterrupted for about an hour – WOW! There are lots of beautiful places to explore.- yes very relevant
  • Time-bound – One year


In summary, I believe that God allows us to set goals for ourselves rather than trusting our lives to fate and the backlash of circumstances. My life has been directed by goals and inspired and protected by God. Sometimes goals are wrong for us, they might not be our goals but belong to someone else. That doesn’t mean we can’t help them along the way, but they probably won’t drive our lives until we make them our life’s passion. Goals motivate me not to waste my life and make me feel that each day has meaning.

So what about you?

What inspiration do you draw from quotes about goals? What do you want to do this year? How do you feel about setting goals? Do they hamper or help you, inspire or discourage you? Do you have an overarching driving goal for yourself? Do you have a goal for someone else? – That’s another story altogether, isn’t it? 

Respond to any or all of these quotes, or find some quotes of your own. Let your experiences lead you. There is no word limit on your blog post. Write a post on your blog and don’t forget to link back to my blog so I can find your blog and visit. Not sure how to do that? See how to create pingbacks here


Talk to me. You are my friends, my very life’s blood as we seek greater, worthwhile goals to fill the days of our lives and make them bright with promise and purpose.

52 replies »

  1. Hi, Marsha – I greatly enjoyed learning more about you through this post. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    I love the hiking SMART goal that you and your husband have set. My husband and I are also avid hikers. To shake things up for us, keep up our motivation, and stay accountable, we have joined a Conquerer Hiking Challenge where we will virtually walk 299.4 km of the Nova Scotia Cabot Trail in 35 days. 90.94 km done, 208.5 km to go!


    • That’s awesome. I thought about your 52 trails in 52 days when we were hiking the other day. It harder to know how to set a goal by yourselves, but on the other hand, some one else’s goals may be too difficult. Thanks for the comment, Donna. You always inspire me. 🙂


  2. I love reading these personal stories of people setting goals and achieving them. Congrats on your success and retirement, and I wish you and your husband the best in AZ.We are planning to do the same thing in a few years, but in Florida…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marsha, I enjoyed your reflection on goals. I think they can be a meaningful way to give our lives direction. I’m all about beginning with a vision. Then our goals become steps to reach a purposeful life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow was this a wonderful post- Marsha – the flow was perfect and I found myself reading with so much engagement –
    you have a powerful story and i celebrate the AZ move with you now how cool.
    Love so much – especially the takes on goals and the way you piggy backed on them –
    also – the faith share and little things that really made this personal and uplifting

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Yvette. I’m still playing around with the challenge, whether to put my entry right in the intro piece or do a post later in the week to join in the challenge. I also thought that by including several quotes participating bloggers could use those quotes rather than having to look up something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is a good idea – to give options because sometimes a single quite does not speak to someone.
        But sometimes too many can wel – be too many – ha– and not saying that here at all because you so adeptly crafted an essay that piggy backed on them and integrated the ideas so well (this might be my favorite piece of writing from your blog so far- whew – did I enjoy this)
        And a side note is that I must admit in some bloggers I follow I skip some of the quotes when there are too many
        My mind can only chew on so many dense thoughts and if it is a photo challenge post- I read one or two of the quotes and then soak up the photos and the personal shares – and that helps me not get bogged down
        And so those are my two cents – from years of blogging and having about a dozen bloggers I follow use a lot of quotes
        In fact one day I got a little annoyed when I saw a blogger change their whole style and follow the photo – quite – photo – quote repeat format — I actually preferred what they did before that- and I guess we all need to experiment – but that format has a formal feel and can be wonderful – but it is not for everyone – and It reminds me of Tina Schnell’s signature style and it works so well there – but I am glad all bloggers don’t follow the same format – because it sure keeps things fresh – ya know
        Okay – I am rambling – sorry! Bye

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love Tina’s style! When Colleen asked me to host this challenge, I used Tina as a model. Her quotes are so apt, but the purpose of this challenge is different. Former participants wrote long essays about one quote. We used to have a student event like that where the students could choose one of 100 inspirational quotes and write an essay. I’m sure that was the original format – one quote per post and the writer chose the quote. Since I am more of a photo blogger, that style is hard for me. I adapted my normal blogging style to add quotes.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Oops on my part … I wrote my insightful comment 😉 in the email box, so now I have to recall what I wrote. Oh boy … out of luck.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey. To me, the hardest decision in life is answering, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” That question haunted me for most of my adult life. Here’s a post I wrote in 2018 on my old blog. It isn’t directly about goals, but it is about a professional journey and the concept of goals is implied. …. well … at least in my mind. This post actually came to me as I was reading your journey.

    OH … an FYI … last year during my 7 weeks on the beach, I averaged over 23,000 steps per day.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Frank, this is a lovely, lovely piece. You remind me that I can and should talk about my educational background. I spent so many years working hard to achieve my goal of teaching. Every fiber of my being agreed with the second half of your career. I tried reblogging this post from my phone with no luck. Thank you for sharing it!


          • Self-driven improvement is always the best. If state-mandated and self driven happen to coincide, so much the better. I taught in private school my first two years of teaching. There was no support. When I went to public school I loved all the staff development. Older teachers groaned and I thought they were nuts. As a consultant, I observed all kinds of classroom instruction. Older teachers who were obnoxious during had kids literally walking on their desks having paper wad fights during instructional time. There were experienced teachers who respected the kids and involved them in the learning process like partners getting a job done. One of my favorite was a chemistry class which started with a student bringing her coffee. She had a short chat session either the students, then a quick review, the into the lesson. The kids were 100% engaged and so was I. I observed new teachers practicing the latest techniques in classroom management and in hands on content Instruction. Good teachers who knew they were good to bad teachers who didn’t have a clue their class was not the norm, I saw them all. The good teachers were self/driven and found creative ways to incorporate what they had to do into their own successful style, tweaking and making it better. The bad teachers griped about the kids, the state, the curriculum, the administration, or anything else they could think of to justify their poor teaching.


    • In my email? I love your post you shared. When I get to my computer, I’ll read the rest of your education posts. I’ve been having conversations with other bloggers about doing something around education on my blog. You may have just primed my pump. For years I’ve kept all the reference books I garnered as a history consultant. I sold/gave them away just before we moved. I thought I would blog about teaching, and they would come in handy but I never did. Teachers today have it even harder since they have to be the sage on the stage unless they have learned how to zoom hands on teaching. You must have been or still are a fabulous teacher, Frank.


      • I think teacher’s job today must be horrible … Even pre-covid. I recently said to a another retired colleague that anyone trying to replicate would they do live on Zoom are doomed for ineffectiveness. Then again, if they are deemed to be effective … So be it

        Liked by 1 person

        • The exemplary teacher I know are pulling their hair out and say it’s a lot of work. One teacher likes the fact that she can see exactly what they are writing. That’s been the most positive thing anyone has said to me about online teaching. Without online teaching we couldn’t have had a pandemic!


  6. Your words resonated with many, judging by the comments so far, Marsha. I can’t imagine living my life without tasks, goals, and objectives. I had to create and write them at work for 25+ years. I always wake up with a plan for the day and even capture certain tasks on my wide-open calendar. Your education goals mirror mine a little. After some information gathering in my early 40s, I tackled a master’s degree which enabled me to teach as a university lecturer for 10 years. It was a great second, part-time job, then became a fabulous “retirement” job once I left full-time work.

    Your condo is cute…is it a corner unit? I’m sure you are prepping to move in and I am so jealous! On a fun note, they set the house on Monday and starting putting it together. Hans and I drove there yesterday to see the progress and grab a couple of things out of storage and get some mail, and we got to walk around inside! It was a thrill, of course, everything is under construction, but we are pleased with the layout and how big and full of light it feels. I will text you some shots soon. Great post and enjoy your move!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I never tried teaching in a university, Terri. My hat is off to you! I taught a few classes for teacher prep, but it wasn’t me. As a County Office we had a fifth year credential program that competed with the university program but was in Visalia and was much cheaper than going through the state or private university. Also the teachers could teach on emergency credentials while they completed their classes. It was a great service and quite successful. I just wasn’t good at it. I did required state-mandated training in both math, language acquisition, and language arts. I also created a training for Class-Size Reduction, and a coaching program for ore-school teachers. That might have been my favorite. Much of my job included classroom observation and one on one coaching. I loved that as well. I know you are so anxious to get in your new home. Our furniture was supposed to arrive today but the driver hasn’t left CA yet. Maybe tomorrow. We are supposed to have a new dresser delivered today. Our goal today is waiting! I’ll look forward to your next pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Exquisite post, Marsha. Those images are especially alluring. Flashes from the film “The Big Country” come to mind, absolutely stunning. I’d like to crawl all over a granite dell, myself! Great quotation choices. Pursuing a worthy goal enriches life so much. You are an inspiration, my friend, especially your resolve to continue pursuing your ultimate goal and having the courage to abandon the circumstantial routine of, “running up and down the field without scoring.” Deeply proud to know you, and grateful for these encouraging words. Happy climbing to you both, and happy move-in week. 😉 Cheers- aj

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’ve lead a fascinating life so far. The location looks like a wonderful place to settle down.
    I pray you and your husband can, if not overcome your ailments, then live in harmony with them.
    Good luck in your new home.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Marsha, it is Bella.

    Great Post. Love the way you write and share your life journey. I love all the quotes, I just like quotes.

    Goals are essential otherwise life is aimless, and we would go nowhere fast.

    It is interesting your learning about cancer. Stay well and fit.

    I have written a few post on goal settings and even created a free goal Setting booklet download too .

    I don’t set new years resolution, I tend to set goals multiple times in a year.

    Lovely post, lovely meeting you.

    Liked by 2 people




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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