Don’t Chase Your Dreams, Tackle Them into the Ground

dreamEveryone has at least one dream. Whether it’s to be a rock star, to own a huge mansion, to be the best author in the world, or to look hot — having dreams almost defines what makes us human. Fido over there doesn’t dream about losing five or ten pounds or finding the perfect doggie mate. (This of course, is different from dreaming at night when sleeping – quite a sight to see my dog “running” while laying down dead asleep.) Anyway, I digress.

The point is, you know what your dreams are, don’t you? When you’re bored surfing Facebook, trying to pay attention in class, or surviving a long work day, those dreams fade in and out of your mind. Sometimes you catch a mental image of that dream, such as being on the beach making passive income instead of slaving over at work for 60 hours a week. What is your image? Is it difficult to picture your dream? Search around for visuals of your dream online or in magazines. You can even cut out these pictures and glue them on a poster board and make a dream collage. You can have multiple dreams, maybe they even intersect.

So tell me: what are your dreams?

It is nice to dream, but dreaming gets you nowhere in life. Soon enough you wake up and face reality. Ouch. So how do you get yourself out of the mediocrity of your current situation? How do you use those dreams to your advantage? The key is to change these dreams, these fleeting images of happiness (what you deem happiness is, of course), into hardcore, no-fucking-around goals.

How do you do that? It’s quiet easy. You can use two popular models to help you:

First, do you want a S.M.A.R.T. goal? Just make them:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Now make your goals G.R.O.W. with these tips:

  • Goal – be specific (be S.M.A.R.T)
  • Reality – what is your current situation?
  • Options – what are your choices
  • Will – what will you do now? Commit to a choice from your options.
I’ll lead you with an example to help you get familiar with these great models.  My goal is to lose weight. Losing weight is at the top of everyone’s new year’s resolution lists, but it’s a terrible goal. It’s too vague, and it doesn’t tell you anything about how or why or when you know you’ve reached it. Here is how to make this goal S.M.A.R.T.
  • Specific – Say I want to lose 50 pounds. Losing 2 lbs a week is a healthy average, and a good goal to shoot for, so I want to achieve this goal in 25 weeks from the starting date. So if I start on August 1, 2011, my deadline would be 25 weeks from that – January 23, 2012. So I’ll say “I want to lose 50 pounds by January 23, 2012.”
  • Measureable – I will weigh myself once a week until I lose 50 pounds. The goal is 2 pounds a week to reach this goal by the deadline, so now I even have short-term weekly goals, which are easier to work on than a big goal like 50 pounds.
  • Attainable – I am overweight and I know being overweight sucks. So I know the urgency of wanting to lose weight for health and personal reasons. Know the reasons why you want to lose weight. You don’t have to list why in your goal, but it is helpful to think why you really want this goal in the first place. If you don’t really want it, what’s the point of reaching for it? This is where your dreams come into play – what will make you happy?
  • Realistic- Since I know a 2-lb a week weight loss is attainable and healthy, I know this is a realistic goal to shoot for. It’s not too within my reach like 10 pounds in 25 weeks, or overwhelming like 100 pounds in 25 weeks. Knowing what is attainable or not for your goal takes a bit of research.
  • Time-bound – The 25-week deadline is my element of urgency. If there’s no urgency, why bother doing it? Ever notice how you can slack off all semester for a term paper, but as soon as the day before it’s due comes, you’re working like a madperson to get it done – even sacrificing sleep and friends to finish writing that paper? Even better if the deadline is meaningful, maybe a big milestone birthday is coming up, or it’s March and you want to save up money for a very nice vacation this summer – Create urgency in your goal, and you’ll feel motivated to work harder for it.
To recap, my goal is: “I will lose 50 pounds at a rate of 2 pounds per week starting August 1 and ending January 23.”
Now that I’ve got a S.M.A.R.T. goal, let’s work on G.R.O.W.:
  • Goal – Just reiterating the S.M.A.R.T. goal I wrote above.
  • Reality – I eat too much, I don’t exercise, and I’m unhappy. (note: this is not entirely true, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s keep it like this.)
  • Options – I could lower my calorie intake by 500 per day. I could exercise and burn 500 calories per day. I could do both. I could be more active – park in further spots, walk during lunch break, go on hikes, play tennis.  (tons more to put here, but again, this is just for examples.)
  • Will – I decided to lose 50 pounds by eating 500 calories less per day and exercise daily, burning at least 500-750 calories per day. I could go on even further and explain how I will workout, (cardio or weight training or both, what programs, what weight amounts), and what time of the day (mornings, evenings, whenever I get out of work). The countdown of 25 weeks starts on August 1. But you should start tomorrow.
There you have it, so stop chasing your dreams – tackle them and start making goals with them.

Before something happens in the world, it must happen in your mind.
– Anthony Robbins

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Chase Your Dreams, Tackle Them into the Ground

  1. […] Don’t Chase Your Dreams, Tackle Them into the Ground (thecatalystblog.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Don’t Chase Your Dreams, Tackle Them into the Ground (thecatalystblog.wordpress.com) […]

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