Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Difference Between Goals and Dreams

People often use the terms goal and dream as though they are one and the same. Goals and dreams should co-exist, however they are not the same thing. If you only have dreams without goals to support them, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the steps necessary to realize that dream. On the converse side, if you only have goals, but no dreams, you risk losing sight of your ultimate destination because you are so focused on the steps necessary to get there.

Dreams tend to be the stuff of our imagination, the things on which we pin our hopes for the future. Clearly defining your goals in life can be the difference between true success and just getting by. A dream without a plan is nothing more than a wish.

Here are some of the key differences between dreams and goals:

  • Goals are written down and have a plan of action attached to them.
  • Dreams are a manifestation of what we imagine our life could be like someday.
  • Goals have measurements or timelines attached to them so that you will know when you have either reached or failed to achieve your goal. A goal is a dream that is assigned a deadline.
  • Dreams are often spoken in more nebulous, non-specific terms such as "someday" or "try."
  • Goals are specifically stated objectives that you are focused on achieving. They define the details of what you envision. For example, you may dream of being wealthy and not having to worry about money. A money-focused goal would be along the lines of this "By the time I am 49, I plan to achieve an annual income of $125,000 per year as a Director of Marketing and will have more than $500,000 in savings and investments in the bank." 
  • Dreams often revolve around things we are passionate about, while goals tend to be tangible results we want to achieve or acquire.
  • Dreams may appear to be impossible or unrealistic  On the other hand goals, while they are daunting, feel achievable because they have a step-by-step plan of action in place. Dreams seem too big to be achieved without breaking them down into smaller step-by-step goals that allow you to monitor your progress along the way to your end-game.

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