Dreams vs. Goals (And Why You Need BOTH)

It’s a new year, and while you don’t need a “new you”, it’s always a great time to utilize the fresh start effect and get moving on some of your dreams and goals. But what is the crucial difference between dreams and goals? Should we just be focused on dreaming, or just focused on goals – or do we need both? My argument is definitely for BOTH. Here’s why.

Dreams

Dreams are what we truly, deeply wish for but oftentimes are too scared to say out loud because they seem “too big”. These are the things you see in your head and you want so deeply but talk yourself out of because you’re scared of the judgment of others, or scared of the possibility of failing on a big dream.

For example, when I started dreaming of the idea of Ladies Leading Ladies it took me over 6 months before I ever spoke it out loud to ANYONE. I had bought the dang domain name and sat on it for SIX MONTHS before finding the courage to even tell my husband or mom – the people who genuinely think the sun shines out of my you know what.

I was terrified. Terrified they’d think I was crazy, terrified I’d fail, terrified that it was a stupid idea, terrified that my husband would think it was a terrible financial decision, and terrified that if I said it out loud and it wasn’t successful that would mean something bigger about who I am.

But look where that dream has gotten me today? In the years since I’ve started the company I’ve grown a community of amazing leaders who lift one another up, I’ve become profitable, and I get the chance to help other succeed. It’s not easy and I still have many doubts and judgments on myself and my work – but I know that had I not taken that dream and ran with it, my life wouldn’t be near as amazing as it is today.

Goals

Goals are the specific, measurable actions we take to move a dream into reality. I had this big dream of Ladies Leading Ladies, but to get it out into the world and grow it I had to get really serious with my goals. There were hundreds, probably thousands, of small goals in the last couple of years that have gotten LLL to where it is today.

I had to build a website – which meant I first had to learn how to do that, I had to build a menu of services, I had to build a course that encompassed a leadership foundation that any leader could thrive from utilizing, then I had to market all of that, I had to plan events, I had to cold-call potential clients, I had to work with partners, I had to build my social media presence, I had to figure out what was of value to my community and serve it up to them, I had to find the tools to make all of this happen as a side hustle, I had to find the right people to be around to support my dreams AND goals, I had to find ways to be more effective and accountable to these goals, I had to learn to talk about my expertise without feeling like I was bragging, I had to really be the lifelong learner that I encourage everyone else to be, I had to show up and I had to write these goals down and speak them out loud. AND ON AND ON. And that’s just for one dream.

Goals are all about action, while dreams are all about creating a vision of your ideal world to pursue (especially one that scares you).

How to use both to your advantage

Here’s the thing with dreams – you’ve got to really open your mind and allow them to flow freely. That’s hard because we judge every darn thought that comes through our minds generally (and especially as women).

Here’s what works for me – each day (or every few days) when I’m gratitude journaling I end it out with writing down 10 of my dreams as if they’ve already happened (so in past tense). This is straight from Rachel Hollis and her methods and I have to say I love it. It makes me uncomfortable, but as I look back on my journal from this past year, MANY of those dreams I wrote down have happened!

It’s a mix of forcing yourself to dream, and it’s in a safe way where only you see it if that’s what you want, AND actually writing them down over and over again. When you’ve written something down, especially multiple times, your mind starts to freely work on how to make it happen. You’re dreaming more and then you’re thinking more about how to make them reality. Some call it manifesting, some call it prayer, some call it dreaming – I call it all three depending on the day. 🙂

So now that your mind is open and wandering, and starting to think deeper about your dreams because you’ve given them life – you can start naturally moving those dreams to goals. Y’all know I love my gratitude journaling AND my Bossed Up Life Tracker Planner. It’s funny to see how those dreams from my journal make it onto the pages of my Life Tracker as specific and measurable goals. They turn straight into action and I love it! You’ve got to make sure you’re goal-setting like a pro to really keep things moving.

So, what now?

Start DREAMING! Spend a few minutes when you’re journaling your gratitude to write down 10 dreams you have about ANYTHING, and write them in the past tense.

So for instance, one of my “crazy” dreams is to be able to live abroad 1-2 months out of the year. I certainly haven’t gotten there yet but I write it down ALL the time and you can bet that it’s become a more and more realistic goal for the husband and I. We’ve worked it into our financial planning long-term and know that it’s not as “crazy” as I thought it was when I first wrote it down.

Second, get on the dang Life Tracker Planner if you haven’t already! Y’all know there is a free version here or you can buy the full planner here. (I’m not getting any kickbacks, I just truly have changed my own world using this planner for the past two years). You’ve got to start putting those dreams AND goals to paper and slowly but surely they become actionable and real. Don’t wait to wake up on this day starting another new decade without having turned some dreams into goals and then into reality.

Share with us in the comments one of your DREAMS and one of your GOALS!

Talk soon,

Nikki