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Make dreams a reality

TAKE CONTROL: Making and sticking to long-term plans will help you achieve your goals

EVERYONE HAS a dream – many dreams actually – but few believe that they can actually achieve them.

Nevertheless, some people achieve their dreams while others live lives of regret.

Some are inspired and achieve their goals, while others delay or give up entirely on their dreams in exchange for whatever excuses they comfort themselves with.

What are the factors that make that difference between the person who achieves and the one who regrets?

The three simple steps you can take to help you live the life of your dreams involve motivation, planning and action.

1. Motivation

Everyone has their own motivations for their dreams. Consider what motivates you towards your goal.

It could be financial freedom, more free time, or a second home in the Caribbean. Whatever it is, remind yourself of it on a daily basis.

For example, having pictures of your dream Caribbean home on the fridge or in your work space will remind you of your dream and refresh your mind with motivation.

When you suffer inevitable setbacks or frustration, a visible reminder of your dream will help motivate you to do what is necessary to get back on track toward your goal.

It is also important to give yourself rewards along the way.

Rewarding yourself after making a breakthrough, such as acquiring a new client, learning a new computer program, or sharing a smile with your teenager, is absolutely necessary to effectively follow through on your path to success.

Treat yourself to a nice dinner, take the day off for a game of golf, or reward yourself with something else you like.

Your reward will give you a refreshing break from the trials and tribulations on your path to success and bring you new energy to continue working toward your goal.

Giving yourself a reward here and there along the way will reinvigorate your motiva- tion with its positive result.

2. Planning

Although developing a systematic plan may seem obvious if you want to achieve your goals, many people overlook or downplay this process and then wonder why they aren't moving forward towards their goal.

Be sure to take the time to plan your path for greater success.

Think about these things at the planning stage:
l Once you have a broad plan to reaching your goal, you must fine-tune all the details. Put it down on paper, even if it's an emotional or psychological life goal, and determine the steps necessary to make that goal a reality.
l Put a time frame on it. Put all excuses aside with a finite deadline for each step.

But remember that this process can be different for eve- ryone.

Life isn't always so straight-forward that you can easily check off one goal after the other.

You may be faced with things such as family challenges, changes in your employment situation or the need to move home that can set you back and may mean that you end up changing some of the necessary steps for achieving your dreams or re-imagine a new path along the way.

l Set small goals. Creating a realistic step-by-step plan with a deadline will bring your dream to life.

Setting definable little goals to achieve on the way to your desired large goal will en- able you to follow your plan through to success.

At this stage, it may be helpful to create your own personal progress report.

In it you can document whether or not you’ve achieved your goals for that time period or whether you are deviating from the path you need to take to fulfil your goal.

It’s a technique worth considering because it's important to have a sense that you are moving forward with your goals, especially if you’ve faced some setbacks.

3. Action

Lastly, no dream or goal can be achieved without action.

If you've developed your plan as recommended, you will see that there are a number of little steps you must take on a daily or intermittent basis that will further you on your path to your ultimate goal.

Your little steps give you the map to your treasure.

Take action to follow your map. Each step you complete brings you closer to your goal.

Evaluate your actions and revise your map as necessary. If a plan falls through, then be adaptable to change it until you find yourself back on the path to success.

Motivation, planning and action will enable you to create and live the life you've always wanted.

It may take some time, but following these steps will guide you to success.

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