Posted by: Nici | 16 September, 2008

Reaching Your Goals, Living Your Dreams

Are you having trouble pinning down your goals, never mind reaching them? Do you despair of ever living your dreams in this lifetime? Take heart. It is possible, regardless of how overwhelming it feels right now. Join us as we take steps to define and refine our goals and begin to live our dreams.

Do you know what your goals are? The first step will be to do a `brain dump’ of everything you would like to do. It doesn’t matter how big or how small. If it comes to mind, write it down. You are basically doing a brainstorming session and no thought is too small or right or wrong. It just is. So like we stated above, if it comes to mind, write it down.

Now that you have completed your brain dump, it is time to sort your goals. A goal is simply the result or achievement toward which effort is directed. It is an aim, or an end. So, take your list of goals and begin to sort through them. Don’t worry about prioritizing right now. Sort according to what it would take to accomplish that goal. There are two ways to do this, you can sort on a separate piece of paper with two columns–1 marked immediate and one marked long-term. If you want to use the same paper as your brain dump, just use the letter `I’ for immediate and `L’ for long-term. Every goal on your paper can be sorted into these two categories.


Now we begin a two step process of prioritizing each category. Start with your immediate items. Some of the things that might be on there would be get the cat or dog to the vet for immunizations, set a doctor’s appointment for X procedure or checkup, etc. Obviously the priority one would be those that involve the health and well-being of family and pets. Prioritize each of these kinds of goals as `A’s’. Continue in this manner until you have prioritized every item in each category as either A, B or C items. If you have goals that don’t fit any of these priority rankings, perhaps they aren’t really goals that are important to you and can be eliminated.

Now that you have prioritized your goals, let’s tackle the steps to complete our immediate goals. Once again these goals should be those things that can be completed with, at most, 2 steps. Using the example of getting the pets to the vet for immunizations, step 1 would be to call the vet’s office for an appointment, step 2 would be to go to the appointment. So set a date to make the call and you have begun the steps necessary to achieve a goal of yours. You should be able to complete each of the immediate goals using this method.

Even though they are bigger goals, the principle is the same as achieving the immediate goals. Each goal takes a number of steps to complete. So figure out what the steps are that are required, and begin. Is one of your long- term goals to begin or complete college? Do you keep putting it off thinking you’ll be too much older than the other students? Don’t let that stop you! In most colleges, continuing-ed classes are offered that are aimed at the older adult returning to school or starting college for the first time. At least half of the students in continuing-ed classes are older adults. You will be among your contemporaries. There is no time like the present, so contact your local college regarding enrolment. Step one is now complete!



Sometimes no matter what our plans are, life happens. We need to adjust our plans, change our timetables and so on. This shouldn’t derail our efforts to complete our goals. At most, you may need to take a step back and figure out how to rearrange things or reschedule things to continue moving forward towards completion of your goal. Changing circumstances shouldn’t discourage you from completing a goal. They should encourage creativity in figuring out a way to continue.

In being goal-oriented, we can sometimes lose sight of why we set goals in the first place. Many of us want to accomplish things. But if we focus only on achieving our goals and drive forward at all costs, we risk burning ourselves out. In addition, we may miss some wonderful things in our lives, including our life itself. There are indeed a few things where driving forward is preferable. After all, we don’t want our surgeon distracted by anything mid-surgery. Overall, relaxing and enjoying the journey along the way is the best way to achieve our goals. In the process we are kinder to ourselves and to those around us.

Ideally, achieving our goals should lead directly into living our dreams. If we are finding that achieving our goals isn’t leading into fulfilling our dreams, it’s time to re-evaluate our goals. As we get older, our dreams do change. We may not have many of the dreams at thirty that we did at 15. We just need to evaluate what our current dreams are and make sure that our goals are taking us towards those dreams.’


As you go through your immediate goals list, keep the number of things you add to your daily to-do list manageable. After all, you are the best judge of the time you have each day to devote to a particular goal or activity. This is especially important when you get to the priority B and C goals. Even our priority A goals need to be scheduled realistically according to our available time each day or week.



Each of these tips is really pointing to this tip. Without a plan, we don’t function efficiently. So, plan your work, or actions or steps and then, work your plan. That is by far the best way to achieve your goals. The immediate list of goals is much less dependent on this, but it is still more effective and efficient to plan the work and work the plan to achieve even simple goals. It is the best way to achieve long-term goals. Each goal is comprised of steps that need to happen to achieve the goal. Some steps require a series of steps to be achieved. Without planning you end up working in an inefficient and haphazard way. It is possible to accomplish things this way, but why would anyone want to? Save yourself time and aggravation. Plan your work and then work your plan.




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