How does one determine what dreams to pursue, which dreams are worth the effort and which will bring a fulfillment worth the struggle? Last week in part one of this series, I shared the benefits that can be unveiled upon attaining the goals one sets for themselves and today I’d like to address the three questions above. Everyone has dreams of some capacity, but which one’s do we solely comment about and which one’s would we get off the couch for on a regular basis without prompting? After reading David Bach’s Smart Women Finish Rich, I took to heart his ideas of how to assess what makes a dream worth a person’s time. While this particular book focuses solely on money, his tips can be applied to any kind of dream, and let’s face it, most dreams require some money (not all though).
Keeping in mind his suggestions, I’ve come up with five tips that I feel will build the best foundation as each one of us sets out to accomplish our dreams.
Determine What You Value
Make a list of our priorities in life. Number them 1 for most important and so on down the list. For example, 1. security, 2. health, 3. independence, 4. reaching full potential. After you have completed your list, create a dream list – things you would like to achieve/enjoy/see. Now, looking at your dream list, determine which value each dream correlates with. If you find that there isn’t a value for one or more of your dreams, most likely you will want to cross it off your list because it is something that won’t truly fulfill you. For the items that do match up with your values, based on your priority list, you can determine which dreams to focus more heavily on.
Now that you have a list of dreams you would like to achieve, make them concrete. Be specific. Instead of saying I want to travel the world, write by summer of 2012, I will be on a plane to Paris with enough spending money to purchase one luxury item from Chanel. By making it specific, you are able to clearly understand what you are aiming at, how much money you will have to save and by what date you will have to have saved it.
Write It Down
Being someone who is drawn to things of beauty, I always choose a notebook, journal or planner to write my goals in that speaks to me, that begs me to open it up and gaze at its contents. Once you have written specific goals for each of your dreams, write them in a notebook, on a piece of paper that you laminate and tack to your idea board that makes it permanent.
Map It Out
Also at this point, map it out. Break down your long term goal with mini goals you will reach along the way to assess whether or not you are on track. For example, each month I will put $300 into my Money Market account to save for my trip to Paris, or by the end of September 2011, I will have purchased my tickets so that I can get the best price. Be as detailed as you can because the more baby steps you have the more opportunities you have to hold yourself accountable and not forget or stray off course.
With your dream and steps to achieve it in your planner, on your idea board or tacked to the wall in front of your desk, you will be reminded daily what you are aiming for, what all of your hard work is due to. There are other ways to remind yourself of your goal on a daily basis that are helpful: drive by the neighborhood you wish to someday buy a house in, read a fictional story based in Paris each night before you go to bed, hang a pair of the pants you want to fit into on the door of your closet. In other words, visualize what you want and with your effort, it will materialize.
By breaking down your goal into mini goals, you are able to assess regularly, as mentioned above. I recommend at the very least, do this monthly, but preferably weekly or for smaller goals – daily. If you have on your to-do list by the end of the week to have engaged in aerobic activity four times a week and strength training two days a week, you will want to be able to check that box off because the sense of accomplishment will be exhilarating, but also motivating to continue the work.
Having completed each of the six tips above, you are heading in the right direction, but now is when the tough get tested. Next week, this series will wrap up with five ways to combat any obstacles, pitfalls or challenges you might face along the way to success (and believe me, you will run up against them). Before next week though, go out and purchase a beautiful journal to write your dreams on. Take the time to make them very specific and most importantly, make sure they are worth the effort you will have to put forth to achieve them based on what you value.
Happy dreaming and click here to view the third and final post of this series as we continue the work to achieve them.