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What It Takes to Accomplish Your Goals and Dreams

goals and dreams

Everyone has dreams they would like to see come true. How long would it take you to list three of your favorites? In fact, why not do that before we continue. Just write down three really important things that you would like to see become a reality in your life. Go ahead, I’ll wait!

All set? OK, let’s see if we can’t get you a little closer to making those dreams happen. The first thing that needs to happen is, we need to change your perception about the things on your list. It’s good to have dreams, but by nature, dreams are not very tangible. So let’s begin by changing the label. What should we call them instead of dreams?

How about calling them goals?

Are you thinking: What’s the big deal, what difference does it make whether we call them dreams or goals? I’m glad you asked. Here’s one of the dictionary’s definitions for dream. Dream – An idea or hope that is impractical or unlikely ever to be realized; idle hope.

Now let’s look at the way the word goal is defined and see which one is the most appropriate label for the three things you wrote down. Goal – Something that somebody wants to achieve or accomplish; something to aim for.

Clearly, if the three things on your list are to have any chance of becoming part of your reality, it would be better to refer to them as goals.

Goals involve intention

Unlike dreams, goals are something we aim for. That implies several things. The most important is, we intend to reach reach those goals. Calling them goals means that we have set our sights on them and they are now part of our focus. As a result these goals, we become “goal-oriented.”

Let’s go to the dictionary again and see what it has to say about being goal-oriented: Goal-oriented – Organized to achieve particular goals: strongly motivated and highly organized in achieving goals that are specified in advance.

At this point we have left the realm of “dreams” far behind. Having goals is a lot closer to reality than simply dreaming about something. Of course, there’s still a big difference between aiming at our goals, and actually achieving them.

What else do we need to accomplish our goals?

Our definition for goal-oriented includes being organized and motivated. These are vital elements of any successful attempt at achieving our goals. It also mentioned something that is specified in advance. Let’s elaborate on that aspect a little.

The more refined and defined our goals are, the greater our chance of achieving them. It’s impossible to align your focus on something that is just a vague generality. Having a crystal clear vision of what we intend to accomplish gives us something to really focus on. Success requires that we take the time to clearly define our goals.

It doesn’t stop there!

There are several other necessary elements to setting and achieving goals. Here’s a sampling of things that will greatly increase your ability to turn dreams into reality.

1) Determination. This is especially important with respect to big goals that will require considerable time and energy. One way to increase your determination is to…

2) Break big goals into manageable stages. Smaller, “stepping stone goals” keep you from feeling overwhelmed. They also provide positive reinforcement and a sense of accomplishment along the way.

3) Eliminate distractions. If your efforts are too diluted, it really won’t matter what else you do. When you are serious about achieving an important goal you need to push less important things out of the picture.

4) Constantly evaluate your progress. To reach your target you must stay on course. That means checking you progress to make sure you are still moving in the right direction. Your path will always be somewhat fluid, so keep your eye on the ball.

5) Believe in yourself. Doubt is a waste of time and energy. Deal with doubts before you start working toward your goal, not after. Doubt is the opposite of determination and engaging in it will bring your progress to a standstill.

6) Make a commitment. Every important goal will present you with challenges along the way. If you are not totally committed to success, those challenges could seem insurmountable. Making a total commitment to success will shrink those challenges down so you can climb over them.

7) Make yourself accountable. Tell others what you intend to do so you will feel accountable. This can be very motivating for several reasons. The more accountability you feel, the more motivated you will become.

You must take ACTION or nothing will happen!

You will accomplish amazing things once you get focused. Remember, we are talking about accomplishing your dreams here, that’s important. I am constantly challenging myself and having fun in the process. Why don’t we do it together? So, grab your goals, leave a comment, and let’s blow all the obstacles out of our way.

It’s time for action, go ahead, challenge yourself so you can amaze yourself and accomplish your goalss!

What amazing goals will you accomplish?
What actions are you ready take to accomplish your goals?
The lines are open!

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My all time favorite tool for accomplishing amazing goals and creating massive positive change is called the 100 Day Challenge. If you are ready to realize your dreams and goals, then you should read this article.

63 Comments

  1. Karlil October 5, 2009 Reply

    To me, dreams are goals without a plan. Goals are in essence dream with a plan. The difference between a good plan and a bad one is in the level of details. I list is comprehensive Jonathan. The point that struck me the most would be #2. I love it.

    • Jonathan October 5, 2009 Reply

      Hi Nik, well said and I totally agree. As soon as we start planning we automatically begin to clarify and define. Having a plan is absoluetly vital to success.

  2. Stephen October 5, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan! Great work here. I’m so pumped by you being so pumped I’m trying to figure out what to do. I’m experimenting with being smooth and relaxed about my goals instead of pressured by them. I don’t know if it is going to work or not.

    • Jonathan October 5, 2009 Reply

      Hey Stephen, you bring up an interesting point. When I get the idea to do challenge myself it is usually because I am feeling a little overwhelmed by everything I am already working on. But once I decide on my new goals and make them public, I began to feel very calm. Then I tend to move methodically from one project to another, and feel very at ease in the process.

  3. Bunny October 5, 2009 Reply

    Way to go, Jonathan!
    This is a wonderfully inspiring article my friend. All the tips are right on!

    • Jonathan October 5, 2009 Reply

      Hi Bunny, you are always so supportive and I really appreciate your friendship. Thanks you.

  4. Steven Aitchison October 5, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan, you never cease to amaze me with your writing ability and the way it inspires me to do more with my life. I have 3 goals that I am actively working toward, and do you know what, I can almost touch them, they are that close. Thank You!

    • Jonathan October 5, 2009 Reply

      The thing I like about inspiration Steve is that it is so contagious. We have the great pleasure of interacting with highly motivated people, and we pass that motivation around like a wonderful personal development flu. I feel excited when others reach, or reach for, their goals. In other words. Thanks for the encouragement my inspiring friend.

  5. timethief October 5, 2009 Reply

    Karlil said it all. I begin with dreams and when I begin to visualize step by step achieving what I dream I simply fail to commit to actually setting goals, writing them down and developing a plan. That’s where your advice is going to serve me well. Rather that letting my dreams fade into the mist I need to commit to a process and you have provided one. Thank you.

    • Jonathan October 5, 2009 Reply

      Hi timethief, and thanks so much for joining the conversation. You can easily combine this process with your blogging. If you write your goals in an article, not only do they become clearer in your mind, but you also create accountability with your readers. That’s how I initially came up with the countdown challenge idea, and now there is a bunch of us giving mutual encouragement. It is truly a win-win situation.

  6. kate smedley October 5, 2009 Reply

    Some very wise words and excellent practical advice.

    • Jonathan October 6, 2009 Reply

      Thanks Kate, I really appreciate your support.

  7. Vin October 6, 2009 Reply

    I’ve never been a big fan of having “dreams” and I think this article explains why. A dream seems too lofty, and as you pointed out with the definition, impractical. If I want something to happen, I make it a goal, and put forth my best effort to make it happen! Great article!

    • Jonathan October 6, 2009 Reply

      Hi Vin, and thanks for your input. I guess a lot depends on whether our dreams are based in real possibility, or they are way out there in some fantasy world. For me, most of what I might consider a dream is really a goal that hasn’t been defined yet. But then again, I like to set some pretty lofty goals. As you pointed out, in the bigger picture it really comes down to the effort we are willing to put out. Big goals require a big effort.

  8. Tristan Lee October 6, 2009 Reply

    Hey Jonathan. Thanks for these useful tips! I totally agree with you. It’s not just enough to have goals, but to become “goal-oriented.” This involves intention or the ability to determine what we want this moment, make a decision that we will get there, and take the actions required in order to get to there.

    • Jonathan October 6, 2009 Reply

      Hi Tristan, the concept of being goal oriented really does make things a lot clearer. Having goals is not the same as being goal oriented, which is more of a mindset. Thanks for joining the conversation, I really appreciate your feedback.

  9. jonathan figaro October 6, 2009 Reply

    Hey Jonathan, you tips are so useful it reminds me of a Brain Tracy audio tape. Ha-ha Great set of pointers to keep people in the right direction. My advice to anyone who want to be positive is keep reading your blog because your tips are practical, simple and easy to read. Keep up the good work.

    • Jonathan October 6, 2009 Reply

      Hey Jonathan, thanks for the positive energy. I like to keep things simple and straight forward. There is already more than enough confusion in this old world.

  10. Nea October 7, 2009 Reply

    Number 7 works extremely well for competitive types. You might be okay with giving up or falling behind, but only if you’re the only one who knows it. In such cases, telling others is a great way to remain motivated.

    • Jonathan October 8, 2009 Reply

      Hi Nea, you got me! Yes, I am the competitive type with a twist, I only compete with myself. I like to push myself to new heights.

  11. Dragos Roua October 10, 2009 Reply

    Wonderful comparison between goals and dreams. A dream “might” happen, while a goal “will happen”, eventually. I really think this is a powerful mindset.

    • Jonathan October 10, 2009 Reply

      Hey Dragos, thanks for stopping by. You are a good example of someone who understands every aspect of how to set goals, and then work to turn them into reality. I appreciate the “will happen eventually” reference to goals. It seems like whenever I go to work on a specific goal I immediately get bombarded with “other stuff” that needs my attention. Does this stop me from achieving my goals? Not at all. There may need to be a slight adjustment in my timetable, but I just keep moving forward and that’s what really matters.

  12. Nea October 14, 2009 Reply

    I never thought to check the literal definition of dreams v.s. goals. You know it makes so much sense and it really matches the way most people approach the two. I know that I’ve been guilty in the past of accepting that something would always be a dream for me. Because of that, it wasn’t a goal. With those definitions in mind, it’s another reminder to do more than just dream. Thanks a ton for this article.

    • Jonathan October 14, 2009 Reply

      Hi Nea, it’s amazing how quickly we can adjust our thinking once we get a little dose of clarity. I often look thing up in the dictionary, even familiar terms like dreams and goals can take on a different flavor after getting Webster’s opinion. Thanks for your comment Nea, I really appreciate it.

  13. Dr. Jennifer Howard October 20, 2009 Reply

    Thanks Jonathan. It’s great to see how we can allow our dreams to guide us in creating our goals and make such big steps towards achievement. These seven steps, you listed, help so much in solidifying our ingredients for success in order to take action. Make it Happen Now is a great way to give all of us a deadline in the movement towards reaching our goals. I am sure the program you created will help us all make it happen now (no pun intended).

    Dr. Jennifer Howard

    • Jonathan October 20, 2009 Reply

      Hi Jennifer, I always feel a special sense of validation (or something close to it) when you join the conversation. Thanks for you encouragement and vote of confidence, it means a lot.

  14. Josue Cano January 10, 2010 Reply

    So dreams are things imagined that will most likely not happen while goals are things we aspire to and move forward to in achieving. I’m choosing goals.

    • Jonathan January 10, 2010 Reply

      You got it brother, good choice!

  15. Martha Miam December 28, 2011 Reply

    Wow thank you so much for those tips :) Number two is definitely a helpful one for me. I have realised that trying to do things in one go just does not work and you end up giving up afterwards. I have never paid attention to the words ‘dream’ and ‘goal’ before and now it makes so much more sense.Thank you again!

    • Jonathan January 2, 2012 Reply

      Hi Martha, so glad you found this article helpful.

  16. Galen Pearl January 2, 2012 Reply

    Okay, I only wrote down one dream/goal. Let’s see what happens!

    • Jonathan January 2, 2012 Reply

      Hi Galen, don’t forget #7, make yourself accountable. If you declare your goal publicly it will inspire you further so you can really “shine.” Yes, I know your word. :)

  17. Connie January 3, 2012 Reply

    Hi, Jonathan, You are SO right, action is the active word to turn our dreams into reality. As the saying goes, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.’ Thank you for providing such a wealth of information in your post, as well. ~Connie

  18. Anne January 4, 2012 Reply

    Definitely break your goals up into little, manageable chunks. This is the only way to face them and actually be confident that you can achieve them. The big picture is way too big for many of us. We have to take in bits at a time and once that small journey is covered, we can set off to continue our trip.

    I always say achieving goals is a journey – not a destination. It’s the travelling that makes it happen.

  19. Julie January 8, 2012 Reply

    When I first was introduced to Goal Setting I felt like it was a complicated and insurmountable task but the reality is it was the most practical approach to realizing my hopes and dreams. Being able to set myself up for success was a freeing exercise. Creating goals gave me a road map to accomplishing the things I wanted by plotting out the necessary steps. Using the S.M.A.R.T. process is smart!

  20. Lyka January 11, 2012 Reply

    Plans are useless when there’s no Implementation. Believe and Work for your Dreams!

  21. Ken Wert January 4, 2013 Reply

    There is a lot of talk around the self development block about goallessness, especially since Leo Babauta wrote about the pitfalls of goals back some time ago.

    But I think there is great power in setting and pursuing goals. They give us something specific to aim at. Human nature can be both selfless and self-absorbed, charitable and greedy, productive and lazy.

    Our job is to rise above, transform the less noble elements of our dual natures into something more noble and creative. This adds meaning to life, passion to what we stand for and fulfills something inside that I’m convinced can’t be fulfilled pursuing the ignoble parts of our natures.

    Goals help us achieve that as we learn to pursue them effectively. Your list and wisdom here, Jonathan, is dead on. Thank you.

  22. Ben January 7, 2013 Reply

    Thankyou for the article Jonathan. I’m finding it helpful now after setting the intent/goal to have it displayed where I can see it every day. And if I don’t feel like it I can think about the goal and do what I need to do anyway!

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