MAKING A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TODAY’S FANTASIES AND TOMORROW’S REALITIES
Ordinarily, a dream could be described as a series of thoughts, visions, feelings, images or emotions that appear to a person while sleeping. There is still another kind of dream that doesn’t take place during sleep.
This kind of dream involve series of pleasant thoughts about something you would prefer to be doing or something you would like to achieve or become in the future. This is known as “daydreaming“.
So whether it is uncontrolled dreaming during sleep, or daydreaming, we all dream dreams.
Many of us have dreamed dreams that have come to pass. Others are expectantly waiting for their dreams to materialize. For others, however, their dreams will never come to pass. It appear as if something seems to stop them each time they get closer to realizing their dreams. This later group has as a result of frustration and perhaps some other superstitious beliefs resigned to fate and come to a conclusion that, “what will be will be”.
Where do you find yourself in the picture? Have you always had big dreams that doesn’t agree to materialize? Does something seem to stop you each time you get close to achieving your dreams? If you answer “yes”, to the last two questions, try to find out further: might there has been some forces actually stopping you? Or, could you have been held back all along by your own fears?
Mind you, your dreams could end up as mere wishful thinking if you keep dwelling on them and not standing up to act. At this point, it becomes “fantasy“.
A fantasy is an idea with no basis in reality. It is the creation of the imaginative faculty either conceived or expressed. It is the process of creating an unrealistic, improbable mental images in response to a psychological need. Whereas dreams are visions you can act upon to actualize, they usually have a deadline. Fantasies, on the other hand are ideas you’re thinking about; they can go on forever. Hence, many people dwell on fantasies throughout their whole lives without ever realizing them.
So how can you save your dreams from becoming fantasies? How can you turn them to become realities? The answer simply lies in setting goals.
A dream is simply an idea that is created in your imagination. It’s something you’ve very much wanted to do or have, it is the “who”, you would always want to be.
On the other hand, a goal is something you’re trying to achieve. It is the terminal point of a race; the end toward which your efforts are directed. It is important to note that both dreams and goals begin from the mind.
While your dream can be the first step showing your wishes to move from fantasy to reality, creating a goal can serve as an anchor for your dreams.
We all have dreams, but if we keep having dreams without setting goals, we would be dwelling on fantasies without coming to reality. To bring our dreams to reality,we must use goals to drive them. Goals may be short term or long term goals.
WHAT ARE LONG TERM GOALS?
Long term goals are the goals that are meant to be achieved in the future over time. They can be career goals, raising a family, lifestyle, or even retirement plans. You envision what you want to be doing or where you imagine yourself to be in the next five or more years. Long term goals could be set as either lifetime goals or capstone goals.
These are the most meaningful and most important goals you can set in life. This is because they are set to be achieved far into the future. They might include your plan to become a chartered accountant, a certified medical doctor, to be the author of one the most best sellers, etc.
These are the key goals you must reach before you can achieve long term goals. For example, you would need to acquire a parcel of land before you can set up a building on it; you would need to reach a targeted amount of savings before you’ll be able to purchase property.
WHAT ABOUT SHORT TERM GOALS?
Short term goals are the goals that are achievable in the near future, say, within one year or less. They are usually serve but not always as stepping stones on your way to accomplishing long term goals. Short term goals can either be foundational or provisional.
Foundational goals are short term goals that form the bases from which your major goals develop. They are the enabling goals that ensure a primary goal progresses. For example, to be able to graduate with “First Class degree Honors”, one must meet a target of straight A’s in a specified number of courses each semester. Striving to meet such goal can be foundational to your final graduating results. Foundational goals can also be on their own without being linked to lifetime goals.
Provisional goals are short term goals that are set up to help you proceed in pursuance of a major goal with a sense of purpose or direction. While you may set foundational goals for yourself, provisional goals might set as part of prequalification criteria. For instance, a PhD student might be required to submit a full thesis proposal within the first nine months of study or present a research paper in a seminar or to a research group to the satisfaction of his supervisors.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DREAMS AND GOALS.
- Dreams provide you with the vision of where you want to go. They form the blueprints for your future life.
- Goals are like members of a construction team; each member makes an input that help transform dream into reality.
- Dreams can be realized and not achieved. They can even happen without lifting a finger, even while you sleep.
- Goals cannot be achieved without action. They can cost money, time and conscious efforts.
- Dreams are free. They are imaginary and hence, have no ending point.
- Goals are based on reality. They have time limits and specific outcomes.
- Dreams can be drifting, ever changing. They can also inspire you and bring motivation.
- Goals can change your life, increase your skills and abilities. They must be laser focused; in other words, they must be properly aligned with your actions.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FANTASY AND REALITY.
- Reality is the beginning point in the game of life whereas fantasy is the finishing line.
- Fantasies are sets of make believe. They allow the imagination to jump the gaps between realities. Fantasy goes away when you stop thinking about it. Reality persistently stares at your face and remains even when you wish it away.
- It takes shorter time to create an idea in fantasy than in reality.
- You, as an individual are the sole creator of your fantasy. You alone has control over what you fantacize about. In reality, you are a co-creator and do not have total control because you must contend with lots of influences both internal and external. That’s the more reason why goals are inevitable if your dreams must become reality.
APPLYING THE “SMART” CONCEPT TO YOUR DREAMS.
SMART is an acronym used to define the criteria to effective goal setting and realization. These words stand for; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. If your goals are set with SMART elements, they should the following questions:
S- Specific. What exactly am I trying to achieve? You must define your target or goal in clear, understandable, unambiguous terms.
M- Measurable. How do I know that I’ve achieved my goal? How can I measure my success? There has to be some indices for assessing the amount of progress made.
A- Attainable. Is this goal achievable? The goal must be attainable or actionable. Even though it could challenge and stretch your abilities and resilience, it should not be impossible to attain. You might need to list the steps needed to help you see the picture of its attainability.
R- Relevant. What relevance does it have with my overall objective? Goals set must be within reach, important to your targeted outcome and relevant to the purpose for which the goals are set.
T- Time-Bound. When would the expected results be achieved or delivered? A goal that is realistic should have clearly defined timeline and specify time frame when to expect results. It must have a start date and end date and this gives the project a sense of urgency.
SMART therefore incorporates necessary ingredients that enable individuals focus their efforts and increase chances of achieving set goals, thereby turning them into reality.
TRANSFORMING YOUR DREAMS WITH GOALS.
True, transition from dream to reality has never always come easy, there might be serious challenges, but we need to see those challenges as part of the journey to our destination. You can be stuck in the middle of a plan and for this reason, make provisions for contingency each time you plan. This will help cushion the effects of failed expectations.
Sometimes we might even need to take up some jobs that we do not like just to survive at the moment or to maintain social status. But remember, whenever we settle down on those jobs that we hate, we’ve stopped believing in our dreams. Therefore, focus on your goals and the reason why they are important to you.
According to Benjamin Franklin, “if you fall to plan you have planned to fail”.
Obviously, nobody consciously plans to fail, we only fail to plan. So, go ahead to execute tasks based on their importance or relevance to your dreams and not based on their perceived urgency. At each point in time, evaluate your efforts to see whether they’re driving you toward your goals.
Take note however, that a goal-setting plan is basically the difference between today’s dreams and tomorrow’s realities.
In the course of planning, write down the specific steps and actions you need to take to actualize your dreams.
Remember the questions; What do I want to achieve? Why do I need to accomplish it? When do I want to achieve it? Who are involved? Where is the goal to be achieved? And How?
Napoleon Hill mentioned that “a goal is a dream with a deadline”
Your success is being measured by how you’re driving toward your goals.
Sure, you’re not perfect and will never be. But you may be losing time everyday by continuing to dream. Start from somewhere and learn where to improve.
So, dream no further! Meet your dreams with SMART goals and with conscious efforts you would be making a huge difference between today’s fantasies and tomorrow’s realities.