We All Have Dreams

We all have dreams and goals. Some of them are simply "wishes", like winning the lottery or sailing to Tahiti. But we also have goals that are vital to our futures and the well being of our families. And yet many of us make little or no progress toward achieving our most important goals. We wait and hope, but get no closer to our dreams. It doesnít have to be that way! We all know people who soar from one project to another, achieving their goals and living the life they want. How do they do it?

For a dream to become a goal, it must be specific. While itís fun to daydream about being rich, it takes courage and hard choices to decide exactly how much money you want and how you are going to earn it. Being "thin" is an image; losing 23 pounds by your birthday is a goal. In life, we probably canít have it all. You can lose 23 pounds, or you can have the cake and ice cream. Your choice. Be clear.

Thereís a story from ancient Greece about a general who landed his troops on the beach, then burned his ships. He wanted each soldier to know there was no turning back, no retreat, no alternative to victory. Once your goal is clear, emotionally commit to achieving it. There are no alternatives.

This is called "accountability". Once youíve defined your goal andcommitted yourself to achieve it, start talking about it! If you want to lose weight, donít blame your spouse for buying ice cream if they donít know and understand your goal! Talking about your goals makes them emotionally real and powerful. It allows people to help you reach your goal and support you along the way. Some people will also criticize or undermine you. Donít worry about it.

This is basic, and one of the oldest, simplest and most powerful techniques for achieving any goal. Write it down! Describe precisely what you want, how you will earn it, when you will have it, and the benefits you will receive from achieving your goal. Write the details. Write the colors, the shapes and the dates.

Every morning, use a small card or a corner of your appointment book to record a short description of your goal where you will see it all day long. Donít carry the same card day after day! If your goal is worth anything, itís worth 1 minute of your time to write a simple sentence describing your dream and focusing on your priorities. Do this every morning.

Create a map for getting there. And put dates on it! A goal to retire at age 40 has no meaning without a savings and investment strategy. A goal to create your own business is just a fantasy without a plan to attract investors, find a location, hire staff and sell your goods or services. The beauty of a plan is that it allows you to be specific.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Any goal that is worthy of you, is worth a few minutes of your time and some of your energy every single day. To one day write a novel, write a chapter this week. To open your own business, read a business magazine today. To create a more loving family, give someone a hug today. To be salesperson of the year, make a phone call right now!

One of my clients is a PGA golfer. From the moment his ball lands on the green until he sinks the putt, he repeats over and over "I will make this putt!" He repeats that phrase as many 200 times before every putt! Do you think he would be more, or less, successful if he spent those moments thinking, "I just hope I donít miss it." Tell yourself what you want to hear!

Never be afraid to review your goals, evaluate whether you are still 100% committed to them, and re-commit to achieving them. If your values, or your choices have changed, change your goals accordingly, and be honest about it! And if you goals still fits, run to it with all your heart!

Never wait to have a party! Each deposit in your savings account deserves a checkmark on the calendar and a hug from your partner. Each day without a cigarette deserves a smile and congratulations from your loved ones. Every step toward your goal should be documented and celebrated! When you get discouraged or have doubts, your record of past successes will quickly get you back on track. Not sure about this? Ask any marathon runner whether they count each mile on their run to the finish line! Celebrate each and every milepost on your path to victory!

© Philip E. Humbert, PhD

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