Updated: Sep 8, 2021
What are dreams?
There are two ways we dream; while we are asleep & while we are awake. Dreams while we are asleep are a collection of your emotions, struggles, thoughts, events, places, people, & symbols that are relevant to you in one way or another. Dreams mostly happen during the REM stage of sleep & are completely involuntary. Dreams while we are awake, also known as Day Dreams, are a stream of conscious imagines or thoughts that take a person away from there current activities. These thoughts are generally more personal & associated to how someone wants to live. Daydreaming is such a common occurrence large studies have found that approximately 47% of people spend their waking hours doing it.
Why is Daydreaming so Important?
Daydreams are a good starting place to figure out your goals. They are a way to imagine how your life would be if you had the power to change it. Goals are asperations of things you would like to do in your life before a certain time frame. Goals give you purpose, they help give you direction in your life as you move from one goal to the next learning & growing in to the next best version of yourself. Some of the best goals ever accomplished in this world started as daydreams.
Turning Daydreams into Goals...
First off you must make sure your daydream is something you truly want to accomplish not just a flight of fancy. Second, make sure this is a goal you are setting for yourself & not something you are doing to please or impress someone else. Third, weight out if this goal is something you feel you are capable of, is this a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Fourth, goals should be behavior based modifications that way you can work on turning them into habits over time. In example, losing weight is a great "goal" however it is the outcome of behavior changes, therefore you need to make the necessary behavior changes for weight loss your goal, not actually losing weight. In this case you may want to make your goal "I will exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day by riding my bike." This is a goal that requires a change in behavior. Lastly, goals should be written in a positive statement as well as avoiding "out words" like "hope" or "want". They should be written as if you have already accomplished them. So, instead of saying "I won't eat candy" you would say "I will eat more fruit & veggies." or even "I will limit my candy consumption."
Be sure to visualize your goal as well as all the steps it will take to achieve it. When setting goals consider short term goals in the time frames of daily, weekly, & monthly. These will help you to break down longer term goals like yearly & lifetime goals. Remain positive about your goals & in your goal setting, you'd be surprised what a "can do" attitude can do for your dreams.
What is a S.M.A.R.T Goal?
A S.M.A.R.T goal is a written phrase, it is a statement that helps use follow a plan to our goal. Remember bigger goals may need to be broken down into smaller goals to maximize the results you see.
S- Stands for Specific, making sure the goal is not too vague
M- Stands for Measurable, making sure the goal has a quantitative quality to it.
A- Stands for Attainable, is the goal realistic, is it something I can do with time & effort?
R- Stands for Realistic, is this a goal you are willing to commit too?
T- Stands for Timebound, the goal must have a set time limit for completion.
Examples of non-S.M.A.R.T. goals: I will loss weight, I will read more, I will save money, I will buy a car.
Examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals: I will drink 75oz of water everyday by Nov. 15, 2020, I will read 1 book of at least 300 pages per month by January 1st, 2021, I will put $75 every paycheck starting this week into my savings, I will buy a 2018 or newer sedan by my next birthday.
After you set up your goals you need to evaluate them to insure that they are truly meant for you. you start by asking, "Does this goal tell me what, when & how much? Is this goal truly realistic? Is this goal important to me? Then consider, how motivated am I to succeed at attaining this goal? Finally ask, how confident am I that this is a goal I can reach?
Enter into a Contract with Yourself
To feel the full weight of your dedication to change a specific behavior strongly consider entering into a Behavior Contract with yourself (see example below). This is a visual representation of the commitment you are making to yourself in regards to this desired change. It not only gives you a plan on how to obtain your goal, but it also allows you to foresee possible challenges. The contract also has you put strategies in place to help overcome any obstacles you may encounter along the way to your goal.
Motivation & Accountability While you Track & Evaluate Your Progress
When you are working toward your goals, working toward your dreams it is best to track your progress. Some great ways to track your progress is by using a calendar or a journal. There are also phone apps, computer programs, or specialty logs, depending on the type of goals you have set to meet, that can help you see how you are doing. You can also make your own chart to help you keep track of your progress & hold yourself accountable. Remember, if you lie about it you are only hurting yourself in the long run.
When trying to overcome challenges & stay motivated consider having a confidant or friend who can cheer you on or help you brainstorm how to overcome obstacles. Another way to stay motivated is by setting up small rewards for progress you have made along your way.
From time to time remember to stop & evaluate your progress. Check in to see if you have accomplished your goal with in the time you allowed yourself. If you have accomplished it, GREAT JOB! Now would be a good time to set your next goal into action. However, if you have not reached your goal you may need to ask yourself why. Work to figure out what may have gone wrong & use that to rewrite the goal & try again. Do not look at this a a failure, this is an opportunity to start over & make it happen. The only failure would be if you gave up on your goal, if you gave up on your dreams.
Keep hope in your heart & these words close at hand...
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - C.S. Lewis