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How to Change Dreams to Goals by Changing a Few Simple Words

How to Change Dreams to Goals by Changing a Few Simple Words

No matter how far we get in life, how many goal we achieve or how much success we enjoy, there’s always that one elusive dream which will remain impossible to realise, if not necessarily forever, then at least right now.

It is also usually the case that such distant dream is the one we yearn to bring to life the most.

If Only…

Occasionally through fear, though more often than not through practical, logical thinking, we convince ourselves that this dream must remain out of reach for the time being, coming up with a multitude of excuses why it just can’t possibly happen or wishing for some change in circumstances to present themselves.

Statements like these can all seem like perfectly natural and valid reasons why we can’t do whatever it is we want to do.

That said, we can often bring ourselves closer to achieving our heart’s desire simply by changing our way of thinking.

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“My dream is to become a best-selling novelist.”

That’s all very nice, but here’s the thing:

Dreams are the things that happen to us when we’re asleep. Dreams are the things which require nothing from us beyond lying down with our eyes closed. Dreams are the things which rarely, if ever, come to life.

Dreams to Goals

Try this way of thinking instead:

“My goal is to become a best-selling novelist.”

All we’ve done is replace one simple word with another, yet it’s a word which changes the entire meaning behind the statement and thus our way of thinking.

Goals are the things that we make happen when we’re awake. Goals are the things which require us to get up, keep our eyes open on the road ahead and work. Goals are the things which often, if not always, come to life providing we work at them.

By changing our dreams to goals we inevitably start to look at them in a different light and draw them closer towards us. We may never realise a dream, but countless people from all walks of life set themselves incredible goals every day and go on to achieve dreams consistently. If they can do it, so can we.

How we get there

So far so good, though that still leaves us with the excuses, with the practical, logical thinking which looks us straight in the eye and says ‘no.’

  • If only we had enough money.
  • If only we had enough time.

If only we could stop saying ‘if only’ and change our way of thinking.

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Can we really do that? Of course we can, and it’s easier than you think.

Again, all we’re doing is changing a few simple words when we talk to ourselves. This time, get rid of statements starting with ‘If only’ and replace with questions which begin ‘How can I…’

  • How can I get enough money?
  • How can I make enough time?
  • How can I gain enough knowledge, experience or talent?

This approach uses exactly the same practical, logical thinking we’d earlier used to convince ourselves we couldn’t realise that elusive dream, only now instead of preventing us from doing something, we’re using it to help us do exactly the same thing.

Ask yourself these questions and give some serious thought to the answers and that goal draws even closer.

  • If money is a barrier, can you get a second job? Sell things you don’t use? Get a loan?
  • If time is holding you back, can you get up earlier? Go to bed later? Get some help with household chores which suck away the hours?
  • If you don’t have enough knowledge can you take a course? Read a book? Speak to an expert?

Employing this kind of thinking helps you see beyond the obstacles you’d previously placed in the road to realising your biggest goals arms you with any number of solutions to overcoming them.

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Let’s go back to our aspiring writer, shall we?

“My dream is to become a best-selling novelist . If only I had the time to sit down and write.”

or…

“My goal is to become a best-selling novelist, so I will create time to write by waking up an hour earlier each morning.”

All we’ve done is replace a few words, but in doing so not only changed our thinking, but changed an impossible dream to an entirely possible goal.

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Featured photo credit:  woman paint a city with spray bottle via Shutterstock

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Chris Skoyles

Coach, and trainee counsellor specializing in mental health and addiction.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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