Next Steps: Dream, Plan, Execute

Next Steps in goal setting

It’s time to move on! No more shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. Do you want something new, different, better? It starts with you, believing in yourself and transporting your thought process to a new dimension. Yep, I’m talking about dreaming. It’s where all great ideas start. This time, imagine yourself in the center of it all having exactly what you envision. Where are you? What are you up to? It’s fun to escape reality and the pressures of the day and wake up in a wonderful dream. SNAP, ok next step is to develop a plan, solid yet flexible. Every good journey starts with a roadmap and provisions. Then comes the fun part and sometimes frustrating part, the execution. Having a hard time getting your engine started? It’s ok, you aren’t alone but set it on cruise as we walk through these steps and more!

If you could unhinge yourself from where you are today, get plucked out and plopped into another place, time, situation, career – where would that be and what would you be doing? I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been asked to dream or the first time you’ve caught yourself thinking of something or somewhere else. 

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes and vary in degrees. You might imagine selling it all and moving to the Caribbean or just an easy change to your weekly schedule. No one is judging your dream and the rate in which your mind travels. Just open it up to the possibilities and let go. Sometimes our dreams are limitless like we rubbed the lamp and are presented with just three wishes. Remember doing this as a kid? It never failed, one of your friends would ask for something dumb and everyone would be quick to let them know they just ruin one wish. They would egg them on – bigger, bigger, bigger. Don’t just ask for a million dollars, as for all the money in the world. Why did you ask for a bicycle? You’ll probably get one for your birthday, you just wasted a wish! 

Some dreams are just on the other side of a challenge or obstacle standing in your way. They represent freedom if you could just get to the other side. It’s all part of the process and borders the wall of the plan. It’s natural for your mind to shift to problem-solving in the plan once you’ve landed on a dream you want to execute.

So like you would tell the young you with 3-wishes, go bigger! Let’s talk, big-picture vision right now.

It’s important to paint a visual picture of what you have in your mind. Consider putting together a storyboard either cutting up magazines, drawing pictures, creating inspirational messages or changing your desktop background, and starting a new Pinterest board. Whatever will put your dreams in front of you on a daily basis. There is power in visualization and writing it down. 

Matt and I are very goal-driven and several years ago we started a new tradition. Every year at the end of the year, we list all the things we accomplished that year. Not a blow by blow, just big picture. It’s always a surprise and a great way to get an aerial view of gratitude. It’s so easy to forget all that you’ve done when you are still plowing through the list. Take a moment to reflect and celebrate. 

Next, create your list for next year. Even though this is our year-end tradition, you can do it at any time. Why not tomorrow? Make a list of all the things you want to get done. We have a journal to log these lists so we keep it all together and have a great place to visit and reminisce. 

Have you ever been told, “you can do anything you want”? Well, you can’t. Not to burst your balloon in the midst of your dream but we are moving on to the planning phase and it’s time to get realistic. That doesn’t mean you can’t try and push yourself but you might have to be flexible enough to modify your dream to match your capabilities. 

Ex: you’ve always wanted to be an astronaut and at age 50 you finally decide to add that to your vision board. Well, you might never make it to the moon but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of astronomy and travel. How else might you fulfill this passion? 

It’s important to dream big without limits so that you can stretch your mind and explore all the possibilities. But a plan is a road map and it takes a vision from a daydream to a reality. 

You might have logical limitations, physical limitations, or just obstacles and weaknesses. Let’s focus on the things in your control that might be holding you back. 

Let’s start with the first dream on our list. What is preventing you from achieving this? Put them all into the following buckets:

  • Logistics – is it just not possible in its current state? Could you envision a modification that would still address your passion but be better align with your capabilities? If yes, set aside some time to dig into what it is about that dream that gets your excited.
  • Resources – what would you need to pull together to move this idea from dream to reality; time, money, knowledge, proximity, etc?
  • Obstacles – what stands in your way of getting to your goal? Confidence, ingenuity, time, self-doubt, priorities, etc?

This is a logical way to work through your list. They are all important and that’s why you wrote them down but a good place to start is; lowest risk and greatest reward. So let’s start with the last bucket, Obstacles, and or weaknesses. 

List all the dreams that qualified for this bucket and then next to each, list what could be standing in your way. 

Maybe, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do but as soon as you let yourself dream, self-doubt creeps in and you talk yourself out of it. It might be negative self-talk inspired by limiting beliefs. Somewhere, someone told you that you can’t. You don’t possess the skill, talent, or natural ability to have what you want. Time could be an obstacle and a weakness. You’ve created a schedule so rigid that it doesn’t allow you to dream, explore, and try new things. Overcoming this could be as easy as realigning your priorities and letting go of things you’ve inherited but shouldn’t be responsible for. 

Work through this list in that manner to gain a clearer picture of what stands in front of you. If you make it to the other side, you’ve already come farther than most people do in this process. How many times have you had a dream and immediately shot it down with the first sign of resistance? Dead in water and that’s why it still remains; a dream. 

Our plan is to take it to the next phase, execution. What took years to deny only took moments and a little soul-searching to uncover. 

Dream, Plan, then execute. The steps just take a little work, thoughtful strategy, and a willingness to try. Day 2 of execution takes drive. The staying power to stick it out no matter what comes your way. 

You could find that on day 32, your dream might need some re-engineering or your plan might need some modification. You might even find that your execution efforts have been spotty at best. Don’t pull the plug! This is where flexibility comes into play. No need to scrap the dream and beg the genie for another turn on that lamp. Just take a moment and re-envision and revisit each step. This isn’t an all or nothing process and you deserve the added effort

CHALLENGE: Open your mind to limitless possibilities. Grab a dream that has been swirling around and design a plan that meets yet challenges your logistics, resources, and weaknesses. You deserve to see what’s over there on the other side. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!