When Dreams Become Goals, Miracles Happen!
Dreams versus Goals
The difference between living the life of your dreams and only dreaming about it often boils down to clarity. For example, you may dream of living in a spacious house in an upscale neighborhood, driving a nice car and taking luxurious vacations in exotic locations. But unless you can clarify your dream life in terms of time, dollars and the steps you must take to attain it, it will remain in the dream zone.
Moving Out of the Dream Zone
To realize your dream, begin with some research. What is the median market price of homes in the neighborhood you want to live in? How much would the mortgage payment be? What would the monthly payment and insurance fees be on that dream car? How much will it cost to take your dream vacation? Breaking your dreams down in terms of dollars lends clarity and gives you a foundation upon which to structure your goals.
Once you clarify your dream, it’s time for a reality check. Get out your calculator, because this is where you need to do the math. Given your current income and circumstances, what will it take to make your dream attainable? You may need a different job, more education, or an additional source of income. You should also take a close look at your current budget and spending habits. What are you willing to give up in the short run in order to attain your long term goals?
Moving Into the End Zone
The final step in transforming your dreams into goals is to construct a timeline. Accept the fact that your dream life may be many months or even years away. Begin with the big picture of your dream life at the end of your timeline, then work backwards. Which events must occur, and in what order? If education is a part of your goal, when will you begin, and how long will it take? If you need a better paying job, what is your strategy for obtaining one, and when will you get started? Creating a timeline and defining your steps shifts your dream into the goal zone.
Eyes on the Prize
Long term goals require patient persistence. Staying motivated and enduring setbacks takes determination and commitment. Set yourself up for success by using motivational strategies such as discipline, positive imagery, and inspirational quotes. Create an image file of photos depicting your dream life and visit it daily. Reward yourself when you reach milestones on your timeline. Cultivate relationships that are supportive and energizing, and steer clear of negative and time consuming relationships that drain you. Find role models and follow them on social media. Feed your positive energy by exercising, eating healthful foods and getting enough sleep. Practice gratitude for what you now have, and be thankful along each step of the way to your dream life.
Allegheny College: 12 Strategies for Motivation that Work
Smart Goals Guide: Eight Top Goal Setting Strategies
Images courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net.