Turn Setbacks into Setups

Dreams or Personal Goals? The Life Design Concept

October 17, 2018

When planning for your future, are you supposed to follow your dreams or set personal goals? We are always told to follow our dreams, yet calling someone a dreamer implies they are unrealistic. So then we are told setting goals is the key to success, but this idea feels cliche and often ineffective.  


The truth is, both personal goals and dreams have their place in the minds of the successful. Instead of thinking of them as separate ideas, consider dreams and goals as interrelated, or connected. Goals are to the point and simple, while dreams act as an elaborate and ever evolving life guide. Successful completion of any task requires the proper combination and integration of the two.


Goals are a lot simpler than you think

A goal is simply a task, built into a series of many more tasks, which represents an end result. There is no special technique or way to approach goals. There is no secret trick to getting more accomplished. There is no elusive or mysterious code to them that only successful people know. Goals are simply objectives to be completed. The only determining factor in whether or not a goal is completed is your motivation; how bad do you want it? No amount of planning, color coded post-it notes, or trendy techniques can substitute a burning desire.


Dreams are meant to be followed, not “completed”

Dreams act as the navigational beacon of your life, providing the direction to which you set all goals. Another way to look at dreams is compare them to a set of guiding principles. They are the standards and expectations you hold yourself to, and are accountable for, in all areas of life. Your dreams are what keep you passionate, engaged, ever growing, and youthful. Your dreams provide the motivational drive to accomplish your goals. The completion of your goals, in turn, are what provide the reinforcement to keep pushing forward.


Dream. Plan. Execute.

Most people are afraid to dream big for either fear of ridicule or failure. The irony though, is that shying away from dreams leads to failure! This is because the big picture must be in perspective, and referred to at all times, before the smaller steps (goals) to get there can be determined. Working only in terms of goal setting creates a series of tasks aimed at accomplishing very short term objectives without any unifying vision. Dreams determine goals, which in turn dictate action.


Dare to Dream!

If you have goals in your life, find the overarching theme or dream to which they fit. Your goals must all be directed toward a common vision, otherwise you are just distracting yourself, spreading your resources too thin, and engaging in tasks without a real sense of purpose.


For those of you who have dreams but no real defined goals, congratulations! This is a great place to be. You are in a position where you can begin the goal setting process without any preconceived distractions. Be specific with your dreams and work backwards from there, right down to what you need to do today to get the ball rolling.


To help get you started check out this list of short and long-term personal goal examples. Your dreams are ultimately up to you, but this comprehensive list of goals is a good place to begin.


Finally, own your dreams and communicate them. Small, conservative thinking never created anything memorable. There may be others who laugh or ridicule your spirit, but keep in mind their negative energy is just a defense mechanism; it’s not your dream they think is silly, they simply don’t like the fact their own life is uninspired.


Let the world know what you intend to do and who you wish to be. Once that message is out in the open, the world can begin to respond, others can begin to support, and doors can begin to open.

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