Do you ever think about what your life will be like in the future? Sure you do. Everyone does it and we’ve been doing it since we were kids. I remember my childhood fantasies of the future. I was going to be a fireman and a professional wrestler when I grew up. Well, one out of two ain’t bad, I guess.
As we age, those mental images change as our interests do. Some are just fleeting fancies, while others ignite a fire in our soul that shapes the course of our very lives.
Some people call these images “dreams” and others call them “wishes” or “goals.” Often, these three terms are used interchangeably as if they meant the same thing. They don’t and the difference is vitally important. Understanding the difference between wishes, dreams and goals can help you gain focus for your life and remove many of the self-imposed barriers that we all create around our lives.
Let’s start off with “wishes.” Wishes are pie-in-the-sky thoughts that are unlikely to ever come true. There are what I like to call the “wouldn’t it be nice if…” thoughts. As in, “wouldn’t it be nice if I had a million dollars?” Sure, that would be great, but it’s not likely to come true as long as it remains just a wish.
Next we come to “dreams.” Dreams are wishes with a burning desire attached to them. A wish may come and go, but dreams burn their image into your soul until they become a part of you. They consume your thoughts and you become determined to live out that dream. Dreams are vitally important to your success in any endeavor and you should never quit dreaming and never let anyone steal your dream.
This next step is critical. For a dream to become a reality, it must be turned into a “goal.” Goals are dreams with the details filled in. The difference between goals and dreams are:
- Dreams can be vague. Goals are specific. A dream is, “I will be an author.” A goal is, “I will write a novel on life in the old west.”
- Dreams take place “someday.” Goals have a deadline attached.
- Dreams are the end result. Goals are broken down into smaller steps that lead to the final destination. (You dream may be to become an author, but it’s turning it into a goal, and creating smaller, intermediate goals, that will get you there.)
TIPS FOR TURNING DREAMS INTO GOALS.
- Commit to your dream. Do you really want this or is it really just a passing wish?
- Set a time frame for achieving your long-term goal (your dream). Write it down.
- Figure out the steps you must take in order to get there and assign due dates for them as well.
- Put ACTION to your goal. If you do not act on the steps you’ve set up, you goal goes back to becoming a dream. Soon the flame will burn out and it will be no more than an unfulfilled wish.
- Track your progress. Your due dates are not set in stone, they are to keep you on course. While you should work to meet your deadlines, understand that they can be changed if necessary.
- Become accountable to your goal. Share your goal with someone supportive whom you trust. Even if this person doesn’t “ride you” about your goal, the fact that they know about it will help keep you on track.
Guard your dream/goal. There are people out there who don’t set goals and who have forgotten how to dream. These folks are the ones who will tell you that you are “not being realistic” and that “you should just give up.” These are not the people you want to share your dreams and goals with. They will try to “steal” them from you. If your long-term goal is legal, honest, ethical and will make you happy, don’t let anyone take it away from you. This is your life and you are the one responsible for living it. You have a right to be happy and do the things you love. Now, am I telling you that it’s OK to do something foolish or dangerous? No, I’m trusting that you have the proper amount of discernment to figure out what you can and cannot do.
Dreamers make the world a better place. Most of the modern advances we have started out as a dream, that was turned into a specific goal. I truly believe that people start to die when they stop dreaming. Don’t let that happen to you. Dare to dream and take the steps to make your dreams come true.