When we were little we used to dream of many things. We dreamed of being a singer in a rock band, teacher, professional athlete, police officer, and super hero (maybe not the last one unless you are me). Some of us got to a point where we stopped dreaming. We decided that we didn’t want to become a teacher because of the pay. We decided that being a singer in a band meant that we had to stand in front of people and that meant that we would have to expose ourselves to ridicule and hurtful comments from others. Even if we have genuine talent and desire for a certain thing or experience we stop dreaming. We stop dreaming sometimes because we are afraid that we won’t achieve what we set out to do and that would be a failure on our part. There are other reasons of course but either way we stop dreaming. A goal is something that many of us don’t set because we again are afraid to fail. I think that it is important to have goals for the things we want to achieve in life so we have a direction. If we understand that our goals are not stationary like a building, but fluid like water then we don’t have to be afraid if we don’t meet them.
I always like to define things. People can use the same words and have totally different meanings. I have seen people argue with each other and be completely saying the same thing, just different wording. So I think it is good to define the words goals and dreams. These two words are related, but they serve different purposes.
A dream in my mind can be anything. I heard a saying one time that seems like a great way to illustrate this. The saying goes like this: “I am currently working on earning my second million dollars because the first million was just too hard to earn.” The idea that someone is working on their second million without earning the first is crazy (unless of course it is you dear reader). A dream can be anything and our dreams should be big and fun. If we are not happy with our weight, debt, income, marriage, living situation or anything else; I would encourage you to dream of something that would make it better. The dream doesn’t even have to be grounded in reality, or even make sense to other people, as long as it makes sense to you. Look at me I quit a very good job, in the process of selling most of what we own and moving to New York! We are going from the desert to the snow, crazy! I have no job waiting for me there, I have no family. We do have some dear friends there and they are a huge blessing for us! We have been told by many people that it doesn’t make sense what we are doing.
A goal, is in my mind, a dream with a plan, that’s it! I think many people are reluctant to set a goal because we want to over think it. By the very nature of a goal they are often times not as grand as dreams because it is hard to plan that far ahead, or it just seems hopeless. Say for example someone is 200 pounds overweight and they want to lose it. We can feel like it will never happen. Imagine taking that goal and breaking it into pieces that are more manageable. If we say for example that we are going to cut our soda intake in half and look for an alternative on these hot summer days to drink and enjoy, it becomes easier. I also feel that goals should sometimes be difficult to obtain. If we make the goal harder to get then when we do make it we can really celebrate our accomplishment.
When making dreams and goals beware of feelings of failure! Say for example the goal of cutting soda in half was not a success. It is at that point that the goal should be examined. Is it a good goal? Why did the goal not work? What can you do differently that will make the goal work next time? Was there any improvement at all? I have found in my life that it is important and necessary to celebrate the small victories. A war is won by winning smaller battles. Even the times where we don’t feel like we are making any head way there are usually always things that can be acknowledged that are putting us closer to the goal than ever before. When we make a goal it is important to stay focused on the goal not the way we were trying to make the goal happen. Say for example that you wanted to work the same hours as your children (that is a dream, because there is no plan.). Then imagine that you come up with a job to work where you can do that, but this job requires training that you do not possess. So you enroll yourself into school and start working toward the goal of having the same hours as your children (it becomes a goal because there is now a plan). Imagine during the course of being in school that an opportunity presents itself that allows you to have the same hours as your children and you take it. You are not a failure because you didn’t finish school; rather you are a success because you met your goal of having the same work schedule as your children’s school schedule. Always try to stay positive and dream the big dreams!