- by Matt Leedham
“Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Albert Einstein
Albert speaks the truth although it may seem a little harsh to the un-indoctrinated. A lot of us think we have big goals in life, but are they really goals? Or are they dreams? And what’s the difference?
Dreams are lovely to think about. In many ways, it’s your mind’s way of playing. Set it loose and your mind will wander aimlessly most of the time, or down some specific path of some idea or fantasy you have about the future. Day-dreaming about what could be isn’t a bad thing at all and certainly has its place in developing big plans for our lives.
But a dream is not a goal. Goals can be executed. Dreams may come true.
How do you turn a dream into a goal so that it actually happens? Start with defining the dream.
Dreams tend to be vague and open-ended. This happens because our creative mind can’t be bothered with the details at the time. It’s also scary to commit to something so grand. Dreams tend to sound like this…
1. I want to start a business someday.
2. I want to lose weight.
3. I want to own a home.
4. I want to travel the world.
5. I want to spend more time with family and friends.
6. I want to write a book.
Let’s define one of these dreams. I am passionate about travel, so we’ll start there.
Dream: I want to travel the world.
Exercise: Fast forward your life 5 years from now and assume the dream had come true. What happened, what did it look like? What would have to happen, specifically, for you to look back and say, “yep, that definitely happened…I traveled the world.” Be as specific as possible – paint the picture. Where did you go? How much time did it take? How many countries/cities did you visit? Was it one big 6-month trip, or 10 trips taken twice a year for 5 years? Were you with someone while traveling? Did you meet people, or try new things? What exactly would you have to do to feel like you reached this vision?
Now, let’s design a goal based on the definition you just gave this dream.
Here’s an example: "I will travel to 10 countries on a least 4 continents by September 2015 and meet at least one person in each country that I stay in touch with via FaceBook, email, or Skype."
Now that’s a goal! How realistic it is depends on you. Variables include your priorities (note: see our post on personal values), your finances, your family, etc. If the sample goal is not realistic for you the way it is defined above, then redefine it to fit your circumstances.
Don’t just dream it, achieve it!