Goals are part of every aspect of life and achieving them comes down to priorities and proper planning. Without setting goals and objectives, life becomes a series of chaotic events that feel out of your control. This series will walk you through the why, what, how, and when of creating goals so that you have a better chance to meet them and achieve your dreams. Although both important, goals and dreams are not the same thing. The importance of setting goals becomes obvious when we think of how many dreams we have had that we have never acted on. Don’t let your dreams stay wishes!
To have your best chance of success meeting a goal, you need a clear understanding of your reasons for pursuing a change.
What is the importance of setting goals?
People feel better when they have goals. Goals remind us we have choices in life. And choices help us feel we have the power to control parts of our life, and the ability to make changes.
Feeling stagnant isn’t a passionate way to exist. Taking ownership of our lives and harnassing our drive and focus can be invigorating.
Before creating goals, we need to have a dream!
Allow yourself to dream!
When beginning to think about goals, I encourage you to try to imagine an endpoint without immediately squashing it with all the negative reasons it will never work. Allow yourself to forget “reality” for a minute and give yourself the freedom to dream big. Some people never allow themselves to dream. For more on this read HERE.
How can we know what we truly want if we aren’t allowed to think about it?
Just because we have a dream doesn’t mean we need to throw caution to the wind and impulsively quit what we are doing to make these changes. A dream is a fantasy, a vision with possibilities.
Once we have a dream we can think about it for a while, ask ourselves important questions to reflect and explore it more, and then ultimately decide if this dream is right for us at this time. Sometimes we have a dream that sounds wonderful but on further reflection, we realize it won’t have the effect on our lives we are imagining.
The process of creating and clarifying dreams often opens the doors to different dreams that we may not have thought of if we hadn’t gone thru this.
The difference between goals and dreams:
Let’s stop for a moment and make this important point. I want you to BOTH dream and create goals. I use these words together but they are 2 different actions.
- Can be anything and don’t need to be based in reality “I want to be in the Olympics!” (this would be a fun dream for me but is not reality so I would not create it as a goal)
- Dreaming stretches your imagination and can lead to bigger ideas
- Dreams are inspiring
- Dreams are imaginary
- Dreams are the destination and not the details of the journey
- Dreams may not change you because they are passive visions
- Dreams don’t produce results on their own
- Are grounded in reality
- Goals take your imagination and attach it to concrete actions
- Goals have the ability to change you forever
- Goals are the “machinery” put in place to help you realize your dream
- Goals are about action and produce results
Step one: Creating goals
Create a list of goals. Start to think about what you would like to add to your life and why. Would you find this goal fulfilling?
- Is there a skill you want to gain?
- A career change that you want to work towards?
- A place you have always wanted to travel?
- Self-care habits that could use fine-tuning?
Keep the goal positive
It is important to frame goals positively and focus on what you want to gain and not what you need to stop. If my goal is to “stop eating chocolate” it makes me think about what I don’t have. Similar to the effect that physical exercise has on muscles, what we focus on makes it grow stronger. We may end up thinking about chocolate even more than we were before.
On the other hand, if I say my goal is to “eat fruit after dinner 4 nights per week” the focus is on a habit I want to increase.
Reframe your plan in a positive light. Keep the focus on what you are hoping to gain.
Now that you have a dream and a list of possible goals we can move onto the process that will make you successful in realizing your dreams and not just thinking about them.
The 2nd post in this series is about writing SMART goals to make achieving your dreams possible and the 3rd post helps you put a plan in place to sustain your efforts over time even when motivation fades.
Don’t let your dreams stay wishes! Take action by setting goals.
Download your free SMART goals worksheet to help you set and achieve all your goals effectively!
Share your goals and dreams with us! Big and small, goals mean we are alive and have the fortitude and mental health to keep improving our lives.
Some additional articles on wellness for you to enjoy:
Feeling stuck in life? Instructions from a psychiatrist on how to live the life you love
Want to Motivate Behavior Change in Others? Apply Motivational Interviewing Techniques to General Life
“Embrace the Suck” How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Turn Your Day Around
The Ultimate Guide: 15 Tips to Improve Executive Function Disorder
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2 thoughts on “Achieve Your Dreams! A Series on the Importance of Setting Goals”
What great information for us all, but especially for our tweens and teens! Sometimes things feel so far out of reach, but step by step, they become real possibilities.
That’s right Dr. Dearmin. The important piece is just to keep moving forward, inch by inch, creating that momentum that adds up to results.
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