When my husband and I first moved into our house we had so many dreams. First we were going to change this, add that and then we were going to find out about creating something else. At the time we had a 15 month old and I was pregnant with what would be the second of our six children. Our dream list got longer and longer and we soon realized that it was truly out of hand. We had big dreams but we didn’t have any plans on how to reach those dreams.
“Yeah, we’ll have to do all of this after we find the cure for cancer,” we finally said to each other.
It seemed at the time that finding that elusive cure would have been far easier than tackling all that was on our list. To this day, if one of us is attempting something too big without a plan, we’ll mention that we should probably try to cure that cancer before we start the project.
It’s January, we all have brand spanking new writing dreams for the upcoming year.
You’ve carefully written them down. You may have even posted them on your bulletin board to ensure you see them every day.
Now – why is it that even with all this new resolve, (which was the same resolve you had last year in fact) you haven’t made much progress?
Perhaps it’s because you’re trying to cure cancer.
A dream without steps is just that – a dream. Dreams are big. So big that they are difficult to contain. They contain happiness, sunshine, rainbows, and our future.
Dreams are pretty incredible. Finding the cure for cancer is a dream (for now anyway.)
But here’s the thing, you can’t measure a dream. What you can measure however are goals.
And you achieve goals by identifying steps or mini -goals.
So here’s an example.
Dream – I want to be a published author this year.
Okay, that’s a big dream, if you just left it like that then is it any wonder, you may still not be published?
But let’s take that dream and set some goals:
Goal – I will get an article published in a magazine by April.
That there is a measurable goal. You either do or do not achieve it.
But even that goal is a bit large, so now you break it down in to steps (mini-goals)
- I will come up with 10 good topics for magazine articles by the end of each week.
- I will flesh out an outline for each of those topics.
- I will gather information and create an article pitch.
- I will submit two magazine pitches a week until April
- And I will volunteer to write a newsletter article, blog post, etc each week that I can use as a credential in my pitches.
Maybe your goal is larger – You want to write a book.
Same thing goes. You have to break it down.
- Perhaps your mini-goal is to write 1500 words a day.
- Maybe it’s to not get up from your desk until you’ve finished a chapter.
- Or maybe it’s to go to the airport to get some character ideas.
The possibilities are endless because this is your goal and your dream. It’s up to you to figure out how to get there.
So take a good look at what you hope will happen in the New Year and begin to work backward. Keep asking this statement -“to get to this step, what do I first need to do?…” and keep answering until you find yourself sitting in your seat in front of your computer or notebook.
And then go ahead and get to work on your cure.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.