Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dreams Are Not Goals

Recently I was listening to a podcast where the guest was talking about how goals are not effective for self improvement. This idea got my full attention, for I am a goal oriented person.

The guest explained his reasoning that goals are not effective for many people share common goals and not all succeed. He said everyone has goals of being successful at what the do, but few achieve their goals. So goals are not really that useful. I see his point, but I disagree with his view of the value of having goals. Mostly because I think the two of us have a different definition of what is a goal.

What many people, including the above mentioned podcast guest define as goals, I defined as dreams. In my view dreams and goals are very, very similar. They are so similar, it is extremely easy to them one and the same. They are something we have a strong desire to accomplish or become. We want to be successful, financially secure, in good health, happy. These are all dreams people have. For me the difference between a dream and a goal is not only a plan to achieve it, but a realistic plan. The word realistic is often the true difference between a goal and a dream.

The key to achieving our goals is to clearly define what it will take to accomplish them. Turn the 'whats' that need to happen into tasks or action items. If the number of tasks required becomes overwhelming, put them into groups and tackle one group of tasks at a time. Set dates to accomplish the tasks by to keep you focused and inspired. Again being realistic is the key.

Say, for example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, giving yourself a month to do so might seem realistic. But do the math. Is dropping a pound a day on average something you can do? If so great. If not, maybe you should plan on taking a month and a half to loose the 30 pounds.

Even if you don't hit the individual tasks or small goals in the time frame you set, don't let that stop you. That happens way too much. Take my weight loss goal example. Say your goal was to lose 30 pounds in a month, but you lost 16 pounds. Did you really fail? 16 pounds closer to being in shape sounds a lot better than not trying at all. Loosing 16 pounds is far better than simply saying "I need to get in better shape", doing absolutely nothing about it, and considering it a "goal."  The difference between a dream and a goal is a goal has action.

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