We all have dreams and visions of what we want in life, in our career, in our business, and for our family. Dreams of having a certain house, dreams of a special vacation, dreams of car, in short, dreams of what we want to become or have. In our career and business, we have a vision of our ideal work-life balance, a vision of a what being successful looks like, a vision of where we want to be 2, 5, or 10 years from now. We dream of having everything we may want and have a vision of what it will look like when we get it. Having dreams and a vision for our future is great, but that is not enough. We must turn our dreams and vision into reality – and that is done with Goals.
Setting and achieving goals may be one of the easiest and yet most difficult activities we engage in during our lives. We will set goals every day, yet when we look back on our goals we realize that something happened, and we did not achieve the goals we wanted to achieve.
Setting and achieving our goals can be easy to do, if we follow a straightforward process to clearly create our goals, remain focused and on track while executing our goals, and make adjustments along the way as needed.
Often people make the mistake of treating their dreams and visions for the future as a goal. They talk about how they are going to achieve certain successes, talk about how they are going to accomplish certain outcomes, and talk about what it will be like when they finally do it. But it is all talk – nothing more. They certainly mean well, and they have a great idea, vision, dream, or aspirations – yet there is something missing – they have not created a goal. A goal turns a dream or a vision into reality and makes it actionable.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” – Walt Disney
As Walt Disney puts it, stop talking about it and start doing it. Even if you don’t clearly set a goal, simply starting to do something will get you closer to reaching your dream or vision for the future. I have found myself in this situation many times. I have a vision for what I want in the future, tell myself I have a goal, and start to do something that will move me closer to my vision – and get lucky and hope that nothing goes wrong. I never had a goal, I just thought I did because I told myself I did.
So what makes it a goal? What should we do to call it a goal rather than a dream or a vision? The first step is to write it down. Writing down our dreams and visions puts some reality to it, it starts to make it physically real – it is no longer just an idea or thought, it starts to take shape. As you write it down, even if it still has gaps and holes in it, this physical manifestation of your dream or vision starts to take on a new life. You will begin to see where the holes and gaps are, and then you can start to fill them in. You start to understand what it will take to accomplish your dream or vision, you start to see the actions and activities that you need to engage it to make your dream become reality.
There are many methods and structures that can be used to create a goal. One of the more common is the use of the SMART acronym that helps to ensure a goal is specific, can be measured, has a time line and is realistic. Check out How CLEAR and SMART are your Goals? to learn more about creating and accomplishing your goals. In the end it doesn’t matter much which methods or systems you follow to create a goal if they have the key factors of being specific, measurable and include a timeline to completion.
Setting a goal to reach your dreams and achieve your vision of the future provides that needed discipline and structure to keep you on track. By creating a well written goal and setting a timeline with properly planned and defined milestones, your chances of achieving our dreams and fulfilling your vision increase dramatically. Less than 5% see their dreams and visions become reality. Those that do see their dreams become reality are the ones who set goals and stay focused on completing them.
Staying focused on your goals can be difficult, and often when we find ourselves faced with an obstacle or having to overcome a roadblock, we give up on our goals or convince ourselves that it cannot be done. The more difficulty we experience, the harder it can be to work through it. The CLEAR Process™ can help overcome these challenges and takes setting goals one step further by providing a path to achieve your goals.
Every goal starts with a dream or a vision of where we want to be in the future. Our dreams provide a picture of what we want to have or accomplish in our future, and a vision helps to put ourselves into that picture as an active participant – but they are still not reality – yet. Taking our dreams and visions, writing them down, giving them structure through a well written goal, and then putting this goal and structure into action, our dreams and vision become reality as we start to live what we envisioned for our future.
Having a dream is not enough. Having a vision for the future is not enough. Dreams and visions are just the beginning, you must turn your dreams and visions into goals, and put your goals into action, and you will see your dreams and vision come to life and become reality.
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