Recently I’ve been having a little trouble with motivation. I’ve been feeling a little lost, not sure what I’m doing. I want to be successful in my businesses of course, but I’m lacking focus, structure and drive. I find myself procrastinating or not even wanting to get out of bed some days. Do you ever feel like that sometimes?
Sure I could just be having an off day. It’s fair. I’m entitled. Some days you just need to give in to those urges to just do nothing. But when it happens too often, then I know I need to step up my game. I need to check myself before I wreck myself. I need to reassess my life goals.
Dream a little Dream or Big Dream Rather
We’ve all been told to dream big. Follow your dreams. Reach for the sky. My particular favourite is… ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.’ And there’s nothing wrong with that. We should dream big. We only get one shot at this life, so why not make the most of it.
But dreaming about something isn’t living it. Wanting and wishing does not make it so and won’t get you where you want to be. It’s important then that we take steps to make our dreams reality; to make sure we will eventually get there. To do this requires belief, patience, planning and action.
Believe you can
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right.” – Henry Ford
First and foremost, believe you can achieve it. If your dream is to fly a rocket to the moon, but in the back of your mind, you don’t really believe that you could possibly do that, then you have no chance. You’ve shot yourself in the foot. You’ve failed before you’ve even begun. Where would Elon Musk be if he thought that? Belief is your first and maybe most important step. Without it, there’s no point continuing.
Slow your roll
We all want what we want, now. Sometimes thinking about the time it will take to reach your dream can actually convince you out of it. I get it. We’re impatient. We’re lazy. We’re got stuff to prove. We want results, success, rewards, now. But that’s not how life works. Sure it will take time and hard work. Most things worth doing, do. So slow your roll. We’ll get you there, you just need to give it time.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein
To give ourselves the best chance in achieving our dream, we need to plan for it. We do this by setting goals.
Goals are a measure of our dream’s progress. By setting goals, we have direction, we have purpose, we have a trackable path that leads to the destination we want. Goal setting is creating the map that will lead us to our dream.
Without goals, the dream can be too overwhelming, too huge an endeavour that we may feel lost, fearful or bored. We give up hope. We stop believing.
Imagine your dream is to go and live in Paris. You can dream about it all you want and believe you’ll get there all you want, but unless you make plans and take steps (i.e. accomplish goals) to get you there, it’s merely a wish unfulfilled. Without goals, your dream doesn’t get priority in your life and you’ll soon find that your everyday life can get in the way and blur those dreams or hide them entirely.
Goals can terrify people. They worry that if they make the wrong ones, they’ll end up in a place they don’t want to be. Just remember that goals are not set in stone. Nothing is final or unchangeable. Even your dream may change before you’ve had a chance to reach it. Your ideals, your values, your circumstances, your priorities, and your wants and needs can all change and influence your dream. We need to regularly assess and possibly adjust our sail so that we keep enroute to reaching it.
Ready, set… Action
With a plan and goals in place, we’ve set our course. But there’s no point in planning the map if we don’t follow it. Doing is what will get you there. Not just wishing. Not just planning. But taking action. We’ll never reach our goal if we don’t take steps towards it. Adding a timeline to our plan helps ensure our steps are actionable, achievable and trackable in attaining our dream within a reasonable time frame.
It’s important to realise that motivation can wane. Some days you just don’t feel it. You’re bored, have doubts, insecurities or fears. But don’t give up. It’s discipline that will get you there in the end, not motivation. Make sure you do something off your task list, every day. Make that a habit. Include it as a priority to your day just as you would a task your boss gives you as part of your job or brushing your teeth even. Give it importance. Before you know it, you’ll see the light at the end of the goal tunnel.
To keep you on the right path, it’s important to revisit and reassess your dream plan regularly. At least once a month make sure you’re on track for your 3-monthly goals. Every 3 months make sure you’re on track for your 6 monthly goals. At 6 months, make sure you’re on track for your yearly goal, etc. Adjust where you need to.
I find having an image that you look at every day that represents your dream, can also help remind and motivate you of your dream destination. You might even want to vision board your dream and put it in a place you can see it daily such as, as a screen saver on your devices or just a poster behind your door or on your ceiling where it’s the first thing you see every day.
Repeat the dream map whenever you have a new dream you want to reach. You can create one for each area of your life, relationships, career, wealth, etc. but I’d advise going through one at a time until it’s achieved or until you’re a pro goal setter. You don’t want to overdo it and feel pressured or overwhelmed.
Living your best life isn’t difficult. It just takes a little belief, patience, goal setting and action and you’ll be living your dream life in no time.
You got this… A Guide to Goal Setting
So, here is how I set goals and update my dream life map. You don’t have to do what I do exactly. There is more than one way to skin a cat after all. Just as there are other ways to set goals. Do what you feel suits or works for you best.
- Be sure of your destination
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” – Lewis Carroll
Make sure your dream goal is what you really want. It won’t survive the journey if you only kinda sorta want it. Maybe you want many things in your life. Many areas you want to pursue. Brainstorm for a bit. Just with a pen and paper, really think about your dream ideals and make a list of them. When you’re satisfied with your list, prioritise them until you’re left with the one you want the most.
Now really think about what you want. Ask yourself why you want it? What would your life look like when you reach it? What would your life be like without it? Make sure it’s a goal you believe is worth pursuing.
- Set a rough deadline
This can change. We may not know how long it will take to reach our goal. It’s most likely something you’ve not achieved before so we’re in unfamiliar territory here. We don’t know what’s reasonable or not or if other steps will take more time. That’s ok. Just make a guesstimate. We will reassess our timeframe as we go.
- Dream State-ment
Create a dream statement which you can also use as an affirmation to remind you of your end goal. This is just a succinct sentence that states your goal and timeframe. An example would be, I will move to Paris in 6 months or I will lose 5kg before my next birthday. Keep your statement in a place where you can see and repeat it every day. Keep it clear and as specific as possible.
- The Breakdown
Ok, now this is where the nitty gritty of your goal planning comes in. From your high level dream goal, break it down into further subgoals. Think about what needs to happen for you to achieve it. Then keep breaking down those subgoals until you have manageable tasks.
For example, before you move to Paris, you need to book your ticket. Before you book your ticket, you need to get the money. To get the money, maybe you take on a part-time job. To get the part-time job, you need to find a part-time job you’re willing to do. Once you’ve found a job you want to do, then you need to apply for the job. To apply for the job, you may need to update your resume. So your first step becomes updating your resume. That’s doable. Not too overwhelming like moving to Paris, right? Our tasks become baby steps to our goals.
Of course there are many other subgoals that will need breaking down in order for you to move to Paris, but this is just a small example of how goal setting works. See how such a daunting dream of moving to Paris can be broken down into manageable steps. You may want to identify this segment of your map as ‘the ticket’. You may have other segments such as ‘Selling your house / Things’, ‘Learning French’, ‘Finding a place to stay in Paris’ or ‘Packing’. Each one of these in turn will have their own list of subgoals which can be broken down into manageable singular tasks.
- Add a timeline
Now that we have a list of tasks, we can add a timeline to them. You may want to use a calendar or a diary, physical or digital, whatever works for you. Think about each singular task. Guesstimate a timeframe and think about their priority in relation to the other tasks and overall within the deadline you’ve set yourself. You’ll start to see your plan coming to life. Add milestones to your map. What you’ll need to achieve by what time, in order for the next project to start. They will help keep you on track and on time.
- The Sweet Spots
When you reach a milestone, reward yourself. Adding rewards will help with motivation levels, give you something to look forward to so it doesn’t become one big mundane job in itself, and it will keep things interesting. Even better if your reward is related to your overall dream goal.
Maybe you could reward yourself with a cute beret when you get your part-time job or indulge in a visit to a local french bakery when you find a place to stay in Paris. These are little enticements that get you excited about getting closer to reaching your dream goal and to motivate you at each stage to keep going.
- Accountability (opt)
Tell someone or share your goals to keep yourself accountable. To make sure you don’t give up, it sometimes helps to know that others hold you to it, or that you could publicly fail if you don’t follow through. You’d be surprised how easy it is to give up on our dreams when things get hard. This is just one way to make sure that you don’t.
Congratulations you should now have a step-by-step plan to reach your dream goal that’s manageable, trackable, motivational and achievable.