Pursuing Your Dreams: Goals and Actionable Steps
I was sitting on the floor of my living room when I decided to start my dream list. This was about mid-way through January. Normally, I kick off the year hitting the ground running with a list brimming with aspirations and taking massive steps towards them.
But, this year, I wanted to slow down this process. I wanted to focus on changing the pattern of my life before diving into a dream list. Since the New Year, I’ve started living out a morning and evening routine and it has been truly satisfying. It hasn’t been perfect. I’ve missed days and shorten parts, but overall, I feel more grounded, look forward to each day and that matters a ton to me. So, when I finally sat down on my living room floor last month, I felt ready to start making that list.
If you haven’t, I encourage you to check out this post, Dreams, Goals, and Routines: Do They Work Together, from the blog last month where we took time to talk about dreams unfolding in everyday life. I firmly believe living an intentional and present life makes room for the dream pursuit in more ways than one. Now, if you feel you have passed your time of dreaming or simply don’t know how to, I encourage you to read this post from last week. Hear me when I say this, so long as you are on this earth, you can dream and see those dreams happen. It’s never too late to pursue a dream and one is never too old to dream again.
Now, today’s post is gonna be super practical, but flow with me! At the end of last week’s post, I encouraged you to write down your dreams for 2018. If you haven’t started yet, no biggie. If you already have your list, awesome! For those who haven’t created a list yet, to start mine, I asked myself “what do I want to do this year?” This question was my foundation. I used both the Dreams for 2018 Worksheet and my journal to jot everything down. You can also ask yourself/do any of the following to help get you started:
- What do I want to see in 2018?
- What do I want to overcome/face in 2018?
- If you have a word or phrase as a focus for your year, reflect on that. What are some things you can do to see this word/phrase come to life in 2018?
Okay. so---now what?
Well, the real work begins. Through our lists, we’ve begun discovering our dreams. As the list grows and takes shape, the next step is to pursue them, and the pursuit requires action. I know we’ve all heard, “dreams without plans are just fantasies”. It’s true. Without plans, dreams are just nice ideas. While nice ideas are fun, they don’t have an impact—except on your imagination. So, how on earth do we do this?
We set goals and take actionable steps.
We move our dreams from fantasies to reality by setting goals and taking actionable steps. A goal can be defined as “the end toward which effort is directed”. Every dream should have goals---markers to seeing it unfold. Every goal should have an actionable step---a tangible and measurable action that helps achieve the goal and ultimately feeds the dream.
For example, a dream could be to live a healthy lifestyle. That’s a pretty big and broad dream. A goal to seeing that dream to be fulfilled could be to workout consistently. Workout consistently is one step towards the dream of a healthy lifestyle. An actionable step for that goal could be getting a personal trainer or joining a gym or going to the gym twice a week. Make sense? Having the goal to workout consistently takes a step towards the big dream of living a healthy lifestyle; investing in a trainer or a gym membership is a measurable step towards the goal of working out consistently and ultimately feeds into bigger dream.
Okay, you may be thinking, “Danae, this is a lot. I don’t have time for that.”
I feel you, but then, I gotta ask, “how much do you want to see the dreams in your heart come to life?”. It’s not gonna come to you on a silver platter, perfectly arranged and designed. No. The dreams within you will require of you---they will cost you. You have to decide whether they are worth it or not.
Yes, to do this and do it well, you’ll need to set aside some time. Yikes. I know time is the one thing that is always fleeting and there’s just NEVER enough of it. But, I’m a firm believer that you make time for what matters to you. I encourage you to take this next step in parts and figure out what that looks like for you. Whether you set aside 5-10 mins every day or record yourself talking aloud while driving or scribble notes in your journal or smartphone.
Do not feel pressured to do this in one sitting. Our lives look different. For some, you can set aside 15 minutes or longer of uninterrupted time; for others---it comes in segments and may require some rearranging. Remember, we’ve worked on creating routines that give room for more. This is the perfect time to find the room in your life your routine has given to invest here and slide this exercise into those spaces.
I encourage you to download the Goals and Actionable Steps Guide. You can print it out and fill it in or use it as a reference and create your own form/list to document this. In the Goals and Actionable Steps Guide, I ask you to label your dreams either short-term, mid-term, or long-term. Short-term are dreams you wanna pursue and see happen within 6 months from now (by the summer time), mid-term are dreams you wanna see happen within 9 months (by the fall), and long-term dreams are dreams you wanna see happen within a year from now. From there, I encourage you to select at least one dream for each category to start creating goals and actionable steps for.
Now, you may have one dream for the whole year or you may have 15, number doesn’t matter. You may sit down with this guide and see that you’ve already done a lot towards some of your dreams already. If so, that’s amazing! I know I’ve been going through the guide and some dreams on my list I’ve already started, so with the guide, I focus on dreams that I’ve yet to start investing in.
Okay. I know this post has been more informative-based and crazy practical but, I’ve found in my own life, without the practicality and the framework of a routine and setting goals, I burn out by April. That’s not the vibe for this year y’all. I am convinced, in this process of dreams/goals and living a simpler and more present life, we must first make sure we’ve made room in our lives for the dream journey. A life cannot sustain a dream it has made no room for.
So, take time to find your rhythm, your routine and discover the joy and beauty of it realizing this seemingly mundane piece of life ultimately holds it—the dreams, the creativity, the process---all together. If all you do this year is discover your rhythm and routine, please know that that is a beautiful and worthy journey just as beautiful and worthy as backpacking through Europe or finishing a novel.
If you are still reading (because I know this post was a whole different vibe than usual), I’m so excited for you to go after your dreams! You can download the guide here. I also invite you to join me on Instagram as I will be going live this week to share a bit more on this process!