It’s an incredible thing to have dreams. I’m in favor of having lots of dreams. In fact, sometimes I daydream about having an Alpaca farm. I also just spent the last post writing about the importance of dreams, and how dreams are necessary for clarifying your goals, plans, and priorities. But here’s the million-dollar question- once you identify a dream, how do you make sure that your life is steering you confidently in the direction of that dream? How do you ensure that each day of your life is taking you closer to, and not further away from, the aspirations you have in mind?
So obviously this is one of the big questions we all have to grapple with in life, and the beauty of this question, and so many of the questions I plan to look at, is that the answer will be slightly different for everyone.
We can all probably agree on one thing- a dream without a plan will remain just that, a dream. And while dreams can help us define what we want, what we really should look for are GOALS. For me (and for many other self-help types writing on this subject), a goal is simply a dream that’s been harnessed to a plan.
And while there are all sorts of ways to set goals, I believe there are a few rudimentary guideposts that will ring true for most of us:
- In order to turn a dream into a goal, there must be a plan.
- In order to accomplish a plan, concrete actions must be taken.
- If the plan is not timebound (i.e., if there is no deadline) the chances of it succeeding go down.
- If the plan is not prioritized (i.e. if time is not made for the completion of your plan) the chances of it succeeding go down.
Let’s run with this, shall we? I’m going to grab a random dream and see if we can’t pin it down into a goal by using these four rules of thumb.
DREAM EXAMPLE: I want to produce and perform in a solo cabaret show.
I like this dream. I like it for several reasons: 1) It’s ambitious but achievable- a performer might be reliant on a host of things like luck, timing, and the size of their cuticle beds for getting cast in a Broadway show, but anyone with a solid plan can put together a nice cabaret for themselves. 2) It’s just big enough that it’s the type of dream that has defeated many dreamers- they’ll say things like “I don’t have the time or the resources”, or “maybe next year when I’ve done XYZ”.
Over the next few blog posts, I’ll break this dream down step by step, and illustrate how I have turned some of my dreams into tangible goals. I’ll also show you some of the specific tips and tricks I’ve personally used to not give up on projects when they become difficult or frustrating. In the meantime, see if you can identify a dream of yours that you’d like to push forward on, so that next time, you’ve got your own project in mind as we begin to get into the nitty-gritty.