I am a firm believer in the power of goal setting. But what I’ve learned over the years is that setting goals in itself is not enough. If you want to achieve your goals and make real progress in your life, you must first begin with a dream. Taking that dream and breaking it down into an actionable plan is the key to your success.
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Following the birth of my firstborn, I knew that I didn’t want to return to law firm life. The thought of commuting one and a half hours every day, pumping at work in between hearings, client meetings, and trials, and working long and unpredictable hours was unbearable with my new infant at home.
After spending some time thinking of practical alternatives, like working part-time for a law firm or doing contract work, I took a step back and allowed myself to dream big.
I’ve always had the entrepreneurial bug, but I’d never had the courage to start my own business. This entrepreneurial bug is probably part of my DNA. My dad is an entrepreneur and was always thinking of new and creative business ideas as I was growing up.
But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. What I did know was that I had a law degree, an infant, and a desire to serve people.
I also secretly had a desire to write one day. I didn’t know in what capacity I’d write or if this passion would ever turn into anything, but it was there, and it wasn’t going anywhere.
What I decided to do was to start my own law practice, on my own terms. And I’d pursue my dream of writing as a hobby.
I chose an area of law that allowed me to serve young families like my own, have flexibility, and work in my community.
Now, I could have taken the easier solution and taken a job working for someone else just to pay the bills. But I knew deep down that that would never make me happy.
This big dream of mine to own my own business was going to become my reality.
Vulnerability and Growth
Do you want to know why most people stop short of pursuing their big dreams?
It has to do with what they believe about themselves. These limiting beliefs prevent many of us from ever getting past the dreaming phase.
Taking on big dreams takes courage. Doing something new and big is exciting, but it’s also scary.
Those self-doubts creep in, and we start questioning whether we have what it takes to realize our dreams.
In my online course, How to Create a Personal Growth Life Plan, I discuss the importance of setting goals that may make you feel a little uncomfortable. I teach my students that the key to success often requires you to step outside of your comfort zone.
When you allow yourself to stare vulnerability in the face and embrace it, you will begin to experience real progress.
The Power of Stretch Goals
In Charles Duhigg’s book, Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity, he discusses the power of setting stretch goals.
Stretch goals are your big dreams. Duhigg talks mostly about how businesses have used stretch goals to empower their employees to achieve great things. But we can take this concept of setting stretch goals and apply it to our personal lives.
“Numerous academic studies have examined the impact of stretch goals” states Duhigg, “and have consistently found that forcing people to commit to ambitious, seemingly out-of-reach objectives can spark outsized jumps in innovation and productivity.”
If you have a dream that feels a little too big, but it’s something you truly desire, commit to it and make it your reality.
What are your stretch goals? Do you want to start your own business? Travel the world? Lose 50 pounds?
SMART Goals + Stretch Goals = Achieve Your Dreams
Setting stretch goals is the first step in achieving your dreams.
But the next step is coming up with an actionable plan for turning those dreams into reality.
Duhigg discusses how we can take those stretch goals and make them SMART goals.
SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and Time-bound.
When you take your stretch goal and apply the SMART system of goal-setting to it, you begin the process of turning your dream into reality.
Living the Life of Your Dreams
Are you ready to achieve your dreams?
You can do it.
By allowing yourself to dream big, to embrace vulnerability, and to create a plan for getting to where you want to be, you are setting yourself on the path to living the life of your dreams.
And in case you’re wondering about whatever happened to my passion for writing.
Well, I’m doing it right here on this blog every week.
I’ve taken my passion goal to write and created SMART goals to create this blog. These goals have given me the opportunity to encourage and equip you with the power to change your life every week. I am living my dream.
By the way, if you’re ready to make big changes in your life, I invite you to enroll in my online course, How to Create A Personal Growth Life Plan, where I teach my students how to dream big and create an actionable plan for realizing those dreams. This course is only open a couple of times a year.
You can learn more about it here >> How to Create a Personal Growth Life Plan.
What big dream do you have that you want to turn into reality? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section down below.
With Love and Joy,