Archive for April, 2012

Let go of your dreams, girls! Goals are better!!

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

As little girls - and boys - we are taught to dream and to dream big. Whether that's fairy castles or great sporting victories, dreams are something that is ingrained in our upbringing.

Sometimes in life the hardest thing is letting go of the fantasy and letting go of the dream, but there are times when this is essential. Maybe they are the dreams for a future that's no longer going to happen or a past that wasn't quite as perfect as we recall, but until we do this we can't really embrace reality - and without reality where are we? Dedication to reality and mindfulness of the present are essential for our well-being and success.

Society and media constantly promote the idea of dreams. "You gotta have dreams!" But do we really need them? Are they real? Do they really serve the purpose of taking us to where we want to go or who we want to be? Or do they keep us rooted firmly where we are?

Well, if you think about it the clue is in the word dreams - something we do when we are asleep; incoherent random fancies from the unconscious.  How often do we actually dream about those things we call our 'dreams'? Career ambitions? Luxury purchases? Exotic vacations? Does your sub-conscious provide uplifting motivations that serve to get you where you want to go? How often does it provide nightmares that highlight our fears via terrifying visions of an unrealistically scary future? Why are we even talking about sleep, anyway? Isn't there a danger that the very word we use keeps what we want in the realms of unreality, that soft-focus fairyland that is, and always will be, out of reach?

What's better than dreams?  Visualisation!
Visualisation enables you to focus on what you want, seeing yourself in that setting, encompassing all of who you will need to be to get there and to stay there. Dreams on the other hand always encompass an element of unreality as well as the bitter sting of our fears. Dreams are really only useful in telling us the kind of places that we might like to go or the sort of things that we might like to do.

In terms of actually getting there, we have useful and much more practical tools at our disposal for getting us to where we want to go than our dreams:

  • By visualising, you focus on what you want instead of what you don't want. If you think about driving your car you need to look at where you're going. All too often, in driving as well as in life, people will focus on the obstacle they are skidding towards. Exactly what they don't want! So aim for your destination.
  • Get your sub-conscious to help out by asking great questions! How often do you ask yourself questions like 'why do I always fail?' and your brain responds with 'Because you're an idiot'? Your brain will do more to avoid pain that it will do to seek pleasure. One of the most important steps you can take to get what you want is by asking great questions. These are typically questions like 'how can I do get this?', 'what are some solutions to my problem?', 'who do I know that can help me?' - questions that will set your sub-conscious working and doing what it does best. Asking yourself these type of questions before you sleep or as you do repetitive physical activities like doing the dishes, digging the garden or waxing your car, will let your intuitive brain get to work.
  • Goal setting allows us, not only to focus on what we want, but gives us a roadmap to get there. By setting small achievable, realistic and measurable goals we can chunk down big, seeming impossible changes into small tasks that we can tick off along the way.
  • Stretch goals are massive changes - the things that are closest to what could be called 'dreams', and these can be seemingly impossible which is why they are most easily and quickly given up as something that is truly beyond us. But stretch goals can be approached just as easily as any other by visualising who we need to be to achieve that 'dream'. What sort of person would we need to be? What qualities, disciplines and habits would we need? Are you that person yet? If not, then you know what you need to do! Break it down into smaller goals, then tasks. Keep them small. For stretch goals there will be more of them, that's all. Extra honesty about where you are starting from may be required (more on this below) and you will constantly need to reassess. All progress is good!
  • Modelling enables us to look at successful people (those who are perhaps already 'living the dream') to study their habits, qualities, attitudes and behaviours in order to copy them. If those qualities got them to where they are, would those same qualities help you to get there? You betcha!
So, while your dreams may be useful in identifying what it is you really want, the time is now to take that dream and start to make it a reality.
Here are some more ways to do that:

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