The Trap in Dreaming

Achieving dreams, pursuing dreams, realizing dreams.

These sound so much nicer than achieving goals, pursuing goals, realizing goals.

The former sound beautiful, exciting and empowering. The latter sound like we’re sitting in a business meeting, working.

When I post about The Adventure, it usually involves something about my ‘life dream coming true,’ and I use this vocabulary for the very connotations I just referred to.

There’s a trap in these words, however, if we’re not careful. This trap is akin to watching a magic show and believing we can Magic Sparkperform magic simply because we’ve seen it done on a stage.

Dreams, by nature, produce an end product image like the magic on the stage, beautiful and exciting. This image is necessary or we wouldn’t know what we’re striving for. But to focus solely on that end product image leaves us with just that, an unrealized image.

To achieve the actual magic show, we have to step back and accept that there are nuts and bolts behind it. These nuts and bolts are structured by goals.

This sounds very pedantic, and it is, for a reason. Dreams are images, hopes, heart concepts. Goals give us a way to achieve them.

A true goal offers something for us to grasp in order to make dreams happen.

Here’s the structure I’ve found for an achievable goal (Thanks to Michael Hyatt for most of this):

  1. Write your goal
  2. Be specific
  3. Make it measurable
  4. Make it timely
  5. Make it scary
  6. Figure out the next step

Let me explain just a bit. There’s something about seeing the dream image in words on a page. This isn’t just me. Research shows we’re 40 some-odd-percent more likely to achieve something when we write it down.

So for step 1: (Write Goal) Publish a book.The Adventure Book

Good, it’s written. But it’s incredibly broad and raises more questions than answers. What book? When? How long will it be? This scatters my brain instead of focusing it. Here’s where #2 comes into play.

Step 2: (Be Specific) Publish three of the adventure stories in book format. We’ll call it The Adventure. Even more specific, The Adventure will consist of Moonrise Mountain, Temple of Night and Wind and The Tournament.

The more specific you can be, the better.

This still doesn’t give me a gauge to work with on my progress. I could stare at that specific goal for the next 10 years and still feel like I’ve got a good goal…yet make no forward motion on it. To be able to see progress, we need to have something to measure it against.

Step 3: (Measurable) Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost.

This is like saying I’m going to lose 10 pounds instead of simply saying I’m going to lose weight. I know how much. Measurable tends to be a number.

However, if I just have a number, I could work on that number as well for the next ten years. The longer something drags on, the more it becomes drudgery instead of accomplishment.

Step 4: (Timely) Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Timely gives a deadline. It tells how much has to happen, how fast, and whether it’s too much or too little. If I just say I’ll break even on the cost of The Adventure, I could be striving for that for years without making much progress.

Step 5: (Scary) This is important because of how we human beans react to things. If you aim too low, there’s nothing to excite you about it. For some reason, we crave challenge and challenge tends to be scary, but there’s a balance here. You don’t want to go so far as to make your goal impossible but you definitely don’t want to aim so low that there’s no effort involved. Make the goal an elephant, not a spider you can squish or a T-Rex that will eat you before you’ve even started.

With all that put together, all I have to do is figure out the next step, as I discussed in Eating an Elephant last week. I figure out the next step and only the next step. Once that’s done and it’s accomplished, I figure out the step after that.

According to Michael Hyatt, you shouldn’t have too many of these goals at a time or they become overwhelming. 5-10 a year is more than enough. I’ve found, for myself, 1-2 large goals per year is plenty for my brain.

So what dream do you have? What goal do you need to articulate on paper to make it happen? If you’re feeling bold, write it out below.




As We Think

How do you view your world? Yourself?

This post is an extension of Wednesday’s but it’s something that’s weighted on my mind recently.

What are your thoughts?

I listened to a podcast by Michael Hyatt a while ago and he spoke about being responsible for where you’re at in life. He spoke about owning the decisions you’ve made, good and bad, and accepting where you’re at in life is entirely up to how you view it.

I hear the excuses now.

“But I didn’t get that raise…”

“If my car hadn’t broken down…”

“My computer went on the fritz and I couldn’t…”

Excuses are endless but the definition of excuses is literally “seek to remove the blame, justification, or to release from an obligation or duty.” ( If you live making excuses, you’re at the whim of the world.

I’ve struggled with this over the past months after setting up a writing schedule. It’s so easy to say ‘such and such prevented me from…” but even when I say that, I know deep down I’m still responsible for how I react to the world that distracts me. I can either stay up a bit late to write or I can stew in my own disappointment and frustration and go to bed angry because I didn’t get my writing done. It’s my choice.

We can control how we respond even when we can’t always control what happens to us.

Hyatt speaks about Alice Herz-Sommerthe oldest living holocaust survivor, who says the way she survived the holocaust was by being responsible for the way she responded to it. How amazing! My own petty distractions are minuscule in comparison.

And how we react starts in our minds, in the way we think. You’re never going to respond well if you’re constantly grousing in your mind about how bad things are or how annoying someone is. You may put a pretty face on it for a while but you have to live with yourself and it will taint how you act, sooner or later.

I heard this quote a few years back and it seems to pop up again and again when I start excusing my way out of owning my life. I leave you to ponder it  as I kick my soap box back into the corner. Thanks for listening=)

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words.

Watch your words, they become your actions.

Watch your actions, they become your habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.

Watch your character, it becomes your Destiny.”

-David Stark

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend,


P.S. Monday starts us on a whole new adventure, so be sure to stop by=)

Internal Dialogue, The Ugly Monster

Don’t want to leave the warmth of the sheets.

What cloths should I wear? Comfy? Beautiful? Confident? Not going anywhere today. So Comfy/Beautiful.

Breakfast? Chocolate’s not a good breakfast. Wait ’til after 10am, then chocolate. Tide me over? Ok, cereal.

Aw, yuck! My hair dried frizzy. Put on a hat. No, try a pony tail. Aw, who cares? No one’ll see me today.

Where’d the time go? It’s noon already! I’ll never finish at this rate. Maybe when I’m 100 I’ll finally get the book done. By then it’ll be out of date, old fashioned, maybe even archaic. No one’ll want to read it, it’s soooo dull…

Ever intentionally pay attention to the stream of thought in you head? It’s scary!

Awhile ago I listened to a podcast by Michael Hyatt in which he challenged the listener to be self aware of his or her inner dialogue.

*Scoff* I know what’s in my own head!

But when I slowed down and actually paid attention for the day, I found myself sabotaging my self confidence. Questioning my abilities, my looks, my reasons–everything. It was shocking. No wonder I lack confidence and think I’ll never succeed, I’m always telling myself I never will!

So I’ve grasped this ugly monster by the tail and tried to fling him away. How? By purposefully reminding myself what I’m good at, by catching the negative thoughts and turning them into a more positive perspective.

Instead of focusing on frizzy hair, I focus on styles I like and can learn. Does it take awhile? Yeah, but I expand my possibilities every time I find something I like.

Instead of beating myself upside the head for wasting the morning hours, I remind myself I still have the afternoon and, even if I only write a sentence, I still wrote something for the day!

The ugly monster’s stubborn but the longer I fight it, the better I get at telling it to skedaddle!

So I challenge you today, pay attention to what you tell yourself. What runs through your mind as you walk your day? Write it down if need be. Are you affirming yourself or are you sabotaging yourself? If you’re sabotaging yourself, try writing down the things you do well and remind yourself of these things when you catch the negatives hammering away at your brain.