Live for today, plan for tomorrow Published Feb. 13, 2013 By Airman Ashley J. Thum 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- We've all heard the phrase, "change is a part of life." So, if we know it's coming, why not prepare for it? No matter what type of family, financial or educational status you may currently find yourself in, keeping an eye on the horizon is never a bad idea. One key word - both when setting and working to achieve goals - is balance. I try to remind myself not to spend any money unnecessarily for a certain amount of time, but after a few days, purchases that seemed so insignificant before have suddenly become irresistible. Quitting something abruptly is never easy. I recommend - based on my experience - instead of denying yourself any use of your bank card, set aside a reasonable amount of money to spend on things like convenience store pit stops, but don't let yourself break that budget. With the money you save, make an extra payment on your credit card, or better yet, deposit it into your savings account. Making lists, writing it in a journal, or sharing it with a friend are other ways to keep yourself goal-oriented. According to a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California, writing things down is a good way to keep a record for the future, and telling someone else about your goals creates accountability. A visual reminder of the goals you seek to accomplish also helps to keep them fresh in your mind. Try making a flashcard with some short-term goals for that month, and hang it on your refrigerator, or keep a brochure from the college to which you're applying on your desk at work. Before we married, my husband and I both knew each other's education and career objectives. We discussed where we eventually want to settle down, as well as plans for our family. This not only helped us understand where we wanted to be in the future, but also helped us realize the type of support we could offer to each other to meet our goals. In addition to setting goals and writing down reminders, it's also very important to tap into your support system - whether it's friends, a spouse or another family member - to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. Keep in mind, many decisions you make for yourself right now will affect someone close to you in the future. Although there are a vast number of things we as Airmen cannot control in our lives, there is an equal amount of things we can. Your road to reaching your goals begins with one step forward.