How Dreams Become Goals and Goals Become Accomplishments

What Are Your Wildest Dreams?

How will you get there if you don’t know where you want to go?  Do you know what you want?  Many people are unhappy with where they are but aren’t sure about what they actually want out of life.  Whether it’s your dream job, starting your own business, or just having more time to spend with your family, you’ve got to get clear on what you want before you can go after it.  We must begin by telling ourselves the truth about who we are and what we want.  

If you still don’t know, start here.  I’m sure you’ve heard this one, but ask yourself what you would do every day if you had $100 Million dollars in the bank.  Would you still work in the same industry? Would you work at all? This is the time to get in touch with your fantasyland. Write the story of what your life would look like if you could do anything you want in your journal and then scale it back to just a little beyond what is realistic.

 If you’re still stuck, Tim Ferriss suggested that you find what you wanted to do in the next 6 or 12 months or 3 years, by asking:

  • What is 1 place you’d like to visit?
  • What is 1 thing to do before you die (a memory of a lifetime)?
  • What is 1 thing to do daily?
  • What is 1 thing to do weekly?
  • What is 1 thing you’ve always wanted to learn?

Next, you’re going to use a process called “Dreamlining” to make your dreams come to life.  

Use Dreamlining to Change Your Perspective & Figure Out the Cost of Your Dreams

How far are you from making your dreams reality? Maybe not as a far as you think. 

To go from fantasy to fact, we’re going to take a page out of Tim Ferriss’ classic book, The Four Hour Work Week, and do an exercise he calls “Dreamlining.”

If you haven’t read The Four Hour Work Week, dreamlining is basically Tim’s process of identifying what he wants to do, have, and be in the next few months or years and reverse engineering how much he needs to make to do these things.  

The folks over at Coda have actually developed a very handy Dreamline calculator that you can use to get across the real costs of your dreams and how to turn them into goals and then your accomplishments.

The point of Tim’s Dreamlining Exercise is to realise your dreams may not be as expensive and unobtainable as you think.  Tim figured out the actual cost of doing things like living overseas for extended periods of time, working less, and spending more time learning things like Spanish and salsa dancing.  

Once you know how much your dreams will cost, and you can start to figure out a system of steps to take to achieve them.  

Implementation: Creating Successful Systems 

The next step on your journey is to create a system that makes it easier to achieve your goals.  The best way to do this is to break down your goals into a series of small actionable steps. 

 I’ve talked about creating systems on the Uplift Recruitment Blog before (check out the Hierarchy of Success) but you can go a step further by putting your lofty dreams at the top of the hierarchy. After you’ve fleshed out your dreams, you can break them down into more concrete goals like work for Canva, spend a year working in another city, or buy an investment property.  By the way, it’s important to set your goals in writing.  Nothing beats the physical act of writing with an old fashioned pen on paper to make a goal seem more real.  Also, be conclusive rather than speculative.  Write “I will xyz,” rather than, “I would like to xyz.”  

From goals, you create systems.  A system is your plan of action for achieving your goals. Systems are more effective, longer-lasting, provide more intrinsic value than goals.  Perhaps the biggest bonus of all is that effective systems can be repeated.  Once you have created a system that works, you can apply the principles you’ve mastered to help you achieve whatever you want to do next. 

The best systems are:

  •  Clear
  • Time defined
  • Performed in small, simple, repeatable chunks,
  • Make these steps habit that don’t require much willpower.

Essentially, systems are a series of habitual acts plotted along a well-planned course.  The more you take willpower out of the equation, the easier it is to get where you want to go.   It’s important to implement tiny habits that push you along towards your goal.  If you want to write a bestselling novel, you have to start writing.  Can you commit to writing 500 words a day and stick to it?  Well, then you’re well on your way.  You can write everything down or use something like the Spare App to motivate you.  

If you break it down, you can take any massive dream and map it out in terms of cost (using Dreamlining, see an example worksheet here and digestible steps (using the Uplift System).  The only thing left for you to do is get to work, iterate, and adapt as needed.  Next thing you know, you’ll be living your wildest dreams and moving on to bigger and better things next!

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