There’s a preconceived notion that goals and dreams are the same, and while they’re basically siblings, they aren’t quite identical twins. For example: I want to be fit = a dream. I want to weigh 180 pounds = a goal. You can run, sweat and hesitantly skip the fries until you’re 180 pounds of healthiness, but it’s everything after that point – the living life as a fit person — that’s the dream.
Typically our goals are steps and our dreams are the top of the staircase, which leads to a door with the unknown behind it. Think of any current goal you have — what you are doing, or not doing right this very second is typically for a reason. You’re not at the bar because you work in the morning, you work in the morning because you want to get promoted, you want to get promoted to earn more money, and you want more money because financial freedom is your dream. There’s always more to it — even if right now your sole goal is to grab the remote with your toes so you don’t have to get up, it’s mainly because (BIGGER PICTURE) you’ve seen this episode of Storage Wars five times and you’d like to change the channel. And you’d like to change the channel because you want to be thoroughly entertained, and your needs can’t be satisfied by sloppy fifths of Storage Wars. Not the best example, but it’s a likely scenario and it holds true to the bigger-picture concept.
By confusing the two terms or even throwing them together in some type of human desire stew, we mask a significant disparity and that’s why it’s so easy to wave the white flag when faced with adversity. See, by failing to distinguish the journey from the destination, a flat tire along the way is enough to convince many to make a this-is-too-much-trouble-U-turn back to risk-free comfort. We want to reach the endpoint, but only some are willing to endure that ride. The experience is different for each of us individually. Some may take a limo down the street as they eat caviar with a silver spoon, while others might drive an old Camry with no A/C, in the middle of the summer on bumpy roads. Some may make terrible analogies to try and get his point across – whatever, different strokes.
It’s hard to take pride in the storms you survive when you’re still in the eye of the tornado, which is why it’s vital to remind yourself that even though you’re being tossed around like the universe’s ragdoll, it’ll make a hell of a story when you manage to prevail. Unfortunately this is one of those topics that it’s easy to blabber about, but difficult to remember when the going actually gets tough. So we often set smaller goals and, if those don’t go according to plan after a while, we toss ‘em aside. Are there instances where we must let go of particular ambitions? Maybe, but you never want to make quitting or even settling for Plan B, C, or Z a habit.
Goals get messy. That filth can add up and suddenly the goal seems overwhelmingly unattainable – not to mention the bigger picture, the dream becoming less and less clear. The sooner we practice separating the two, the better off we’ll be. Don’t let the clutter and chaos of right now bury your entire future until eventually, you aren’t even sure what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. An eye-opening, cruel day where you’re unable to locate the map that has directions to the treasure. Taking things one day at a time, one goal at a time is always the best plan of action. Sure, some people can throw a Hail Mary and find success, but the odds are in the favor of the relentless, consistent person.
One last bad paradigm of goals vs. dreams: Imagine you’re constructing a house. Your initial goal is to start with the base and build from the ground up. Having and living in the house is the dream. Building the various rooms, figuring out the plumbing schematics, laying tile, painting – those would all be goals that appeared throughout the process. Sometimes we want the house and we want it NOW. We worry about building the dinner table before we’ve even got a kitchen, and suddenly we forget that the objective is creating a home. And if we wait too long, we can’t even locate the blueprint because it’s lost under an assortment of wood, paint and misplaced dreams.