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Getting Dreams Done Part 2: The SMART Way To Reach Your Dreams

Horizon of my LifeIn this series you will learn the steps needed to turn your dreams into reality. In the first part of this series we saw how to define your dreams. Dreams give you something to shoot for and strive for. In this part we’ll take dreams and turn them into goals. Without goals you wont know what needs to be done to achieve success.

SMART Goals
Let’s take the “standard” dream “I want to be rich and happy”. That’s actually touching two parts of your life (some would say one leads to another but that’s for a different post): financial and personal. We’ll take your financial goal first as that is easier to quantify. We need to turn rich into something we can quantify (not necessarily in terms of dollars but in terms of actions). Your gut reaction may be “I want a million dollars” (or even a billion if you’re “ambitious”) but is that really what you want? You probably want what that money can buy. I’m not talking about physical assets- a car, a boat, a house in Italy. I’m talking about a life style. When you take out the physical items what you really want is the independence, fun, excitement, prestige etc that goes with those objects. As you peel layers off your dream you find out what you really want. Then you can start defining your goals. Goals are the subset of results you want. In this case you may say: “I don’t necessarily need to be rich, but I want to be able to retire when I’m young and spend my time traveling- then life would be grand”. There’s a simple way to make the dream more realistic and aligned which what you can achieve. Let’s make the dream SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely- then you’ll succeed.

Specific

Use the 6Ws (Who, what, where, when, why and which) and how to get as detailed as you can about what you really want. Here you will pick the lifestyle you want your dream to achieve. You may decide that retire doesn’t mean not working- what are you going to do if you don’t work? Retirement may mean working the hours you want at a job you want. You may decide you want to teach or freelance etc. Perhaps you’ll want to join the peace corp- you get to experience more of the world, fulfill your consious and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Measurable

What gets measured gets done.

How will you know when you reach your dream? I’m sure you’ve read about all these quotes from rich people. I just need a few more millions and I’m done. Then when they achieve it they keep trying until they work themselves into the grave. Usually this translates to a date and/or a number. What number is “young”? A 90 your old can consider himself young and a 26 year old can consider herself old. What age do you want to retire 30? 40? 50?

Achievable

Are you able to do this? Is it reasonable? Do you truly believe it can happen? Can you reach a billion dollars? You can’t assume that you’re salary will be increasing at 100% a year without some major changes.

Relevant

Is this something you can make an impact with? Is it important?

Timely

Give yourself a deadline. Nothing gets done without a deadline.

With a SMART goal you are more likely to know what to do to get it.

As far as your happiness goal. The more you succeed at achieving your dreams the happier we’ll be but I offer you this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

photo credit: krisdecurtis