Louise Thompson 's Opinion

Inspirational advice to rock your life with energy, passion, happiness and balance.

Louise Thompson: A goal is a dream with a deadline

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Time to make your dreams into a reality. Photo / Thinkstock
Time to make your dreams into a reality. Photo / Thinkstock

Time to get specific this week. We have spent the last few weeks opening up opportunities, thoughts, daydreams of what might be possible for you in creating your most fulfilled life. Now it's time to make those daydreams and musings real.

Oh yes, time for action, baby! Dreams are the raw material that goals are made from. It is when we start to narrow things down into concrete goals that we start to get real traction in the direction we want to go.

So, what is the difference between a dream and a goal? It's a great question that has been answered brilliantly by the American author and time-management expert Diana Scharf Hunt: "Goals are dreams with deadlines".

Boom! It's that simple. So, time to distill down all the great things you have learned about yourself and translate that valuable period of reflection into ACTION. I want you to set yourself 3 personal goals for the next 12 months, and 3 professional goals.

No more, no less.

The key here of course is picking the goals you want, not what you think other people want you to want. Try and set aside any thoughts around what you "should" want or "should" do.

Pick three personal dreams (trip to Mexico, redecorating the house, learning to tango, a weekly family activity, leaving work on time 3 days a week) and three professional dreams (a particular project, a promotion, a training course, a target or budget achievement, and initiative you want to implement, starting your own business) that make your soul sing. There is a handy worksheet for you to record this in the free e-book I have for you at positivebalance.co.nz (just click the link on the homepage to download it) or of course you can write these goals down in your own workbook. Then, make it real: assign a deadline to each goal.

The deadline is mission critical. By giving yourself a time boundary you are committing to making that dream a part of your reality.

You don't want to just talk about it, you want to BE about it! A 12-month deadline is a good measure to commit to some goals large enough to be significantly life enhancing but short enough to stay motivated, but of course pick a timeframe that works for you.

Next, think of three actions you can take in the next week that will move you towards at least one of your goals. Maybe researching tango classes. Fixing a coffee date with your work mentor. Picking out some paint testpots. The key is to make these tasks reeeeeeally small, things that you can easily get done. The smaller the better. Each week commit to auctioning three tiny steps that move you forward on eat least 3 of your big goals. What is it they say about the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Exactly the same here, some of the steps you may feel are so tiny they won't make a difference, but, believe me, they will. Every tiny step, every tiny bite, is a move forward. It generates momentum towards your most connected and fulfilled life. The act of committing this to paper is also really important. Various academic studies have found that the percentage of people who achieve their goals is significantly higher for those who commit their intentions to paper, than those who just make a mental note. The process of documenting what you want, and why it's important to you, is actually your first tiny bite of the elephant, so get it done!

On your goals sheet I also want you to also note down the feeling state you will experience when you have achieved your goal. What is the big benefit to you? Connected time with your partner that enhances your relationship? Fitness that enhances long-term health? Earning more money that creates improved security or opportunity? Greater working flexibility? This is important so you can keep connected to the big picture and keep your momentum up as you refer to your goal sheet months from now. It's vital that you can connect with what you want most, with what you have conciously chosen, so that when life gets busy or tricky (as it inevitably does!) you can stay committed and on track with your big 6 goals for the year. Remember a goal is a dream with a deadline, so it's time to get specific and make happiness happen!


Action step

Distill your dreams into six actionable goals for the next 12 months that give you a flutter of nervous excitement. Detail your goals in your notebook, or you can download the "Time Ninja" free e-book which has a handy worksheet for you to fill in.


Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise, visit positivebalance.co.nz or connect on Facebook.

- NZ Herald

Louise Thompson

Inspirational advice to rock your life with energy, passion, happiness and balance.

Louise is a corporate escapee turned wellbeing pro. After 17 successful years on the commercial side of media a serious health crisis led to a complete lifestyle overhall and a brand new direction. As a life coach, and the first Martha Beck accredited coach in New Zealand, she loves nothing better than to help her clients get inspired, get happy and make their own rules for a connected, passion-fueled life. Her first book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness, aims to motivate people with practical solutions to step up and live their best lives. A qualified yoga teacher she also runs her own yoga studio and leads corporate wellness seminars. Louise loves to run, cook and dance, and is an incurable travel junkie.

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