The Difference Between Goals & Dreams

I was listening to the Tim Ferris podcast today and heard a great interview with the superstar professional wrestler Triple H, Paul Levesque. One of the things Levesque brought up is the difference between goals and dreams.  He mentioned in the interview that one of the things that he does with his kids is help them understand the difference between goals and dreams.  Whenever they say that want to do this or that, he asks them, “Is that a goal or a dream?”

He went on to explain that the difference between goals and dreams is that dreams are like fantasies, and idea you love but have no real plan of accomplishing.  Whereas goals are things that you intend to accomplish and have a plan that you work to accomplish it.

The key part is when he said “… and you have a plan that you work to accomplish it.”

That’s the big difference between goals and dreams.  A dream is something that you write down on a piece of paper like “I want to be rich,” and then tuck it away somewhere hoping it will come true.  A goal starts with a dream like “I want to be rich,” but then you actually write down the steps to accomplish it and then to work those steps.

This is similar to the concept I introduced a few weeks ago that I called Baby Step Goals, except he went on to say that you create a plan to achieve those goals.

After hearing the podcast, I revisited my list of goals and took it a step further, writing down a list of actions that I can take to accomplish each of the goals on my list.

It was empowering to say the least.  Not only do I have the motivation to achieve my goals (because they are bite sized with rewards attached to each one), but now I have a specific list of actions that I can take to accomplish each goal.  So now I have both motivation and direction.

Pretty cool stuff!  Hope it helps you and empowers you today!  And check out the Tim Ferris podcast… he is doing a ton of great interviews with fascinating people every week.

Monthly Goal Update – 4/17/2015

It’s only been two weeks since my last goal checkup but things are going really good so here’s the bi-weekly update.

Get in shape – Lose 25 lbs. and work out at the gym three times a week

My weight hasn’t changed but I’m working out every day and my shape is changing back to normal.  I ordered a tape measure and body fat caliper to keep better measurements of my body as I keep moving forward.  I always gain weight when I start working out because adding muscle is so easy for me.  This should help me stay motivated with my progress even if the scale isn’t changing.

Wake up by 7:00 AM every morning — sleep 8 hours a night.

I’ve been waking up later this week.  Work has been stressful and it affects my sleep.  I’ll focus on this again this week.

Learn to code web apps with Ruby on Rails

This has stalled only because I don’t have a great idea for an app and my business is going so well.  Still a goal for me, just need a great idea!

Launch a Udemy Course by 4/30

No progress is two weeks since I last updated.  Again, business beckons.  But I am going to work on this over the weekend.

New Goal: Increase My Income by $1,000/month

Done twice this month. Business is going great.  All of my clients are getting good results and I’m working my tail off to keep it going.  This may end up being my best month ever and I’ll be looking to expand the business next month.

Sprint Goal Setting

In my last post, I discussed how Baby Step Goal Setting was working for me in my professional life.  If you missed that post, you might want to check it out.

One of the areas where I have been struggling is with an inconsistent diet and workout routine.  It’s been on and off for nearly four months so it’s time to buckle down and figure this one out (especially since the pool opens in just seven weeks).

My goal is to lose 13 pounds in 7 weeks which would bring me very close to my annual goal for my health this year.

After reflecting on the progress I have made with my business goals from taking baby steps toward a larger goal and reinforcing each step with a planned reward, I have decided to do the same thing with my diet and fitness goals.

But instead of calling these Baby Step Goals, I’m going to call them Sprint Goals because I think it more accurately reflects the intensity of hitting the gym and being really strict on my diet for short bursts of time, and then totally slacking off and being as lazy as humanly possible for short periods of time.

This sounds much more appealing than a “marathon” approach to my fitness goals. When I was in college, I actually trained for a marathon and got to the point where I could run 7 miles at a clip.  But then I tore something in my knee and it’s never been the same.

Also, when I think about diet and fitness as a “marathon” — having to stick to the same routine every week for the rest of my life —  I want to jump off a bridge … or just say “forget it” because I’ve never been able to stick with anything indefinitely.  Boredom of routine always sets in and I lose interest.

#1 – Follow the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss

I’ve followed this diet a few years ago and lost about 20 pounds in the first couple months.  It’s easy to follow because there are only 5 rules.

  1. No white carbs – Like potatoes or sugar
  2. Eat a legume at every meal – Like beans or lentils
  3. No drinking calories – So that means no sodas or sweetened beverages … and drink water all the time
  4. No fruit
  5. No dairy
  6. Eat as many vegetables as you like

#2 – Reward myself for every pound or inch lost

I’m including both inches and pounds because I tend to gain weight when I hit the gym hard, gaining muscle faster than I lose fast initially.

So tomorrow, I’ll take my weight and size measurements, post them on here, and set rewards for every step that I accomplish.  And I’ll edit this post instead of creating a new one in case you’re reading this on the same day it posts.

Baby Step Goal Setting

So earlier this year I set a bunch of goals and published them on this site.  Since then, I’ve already accomplished or made serious progress on all of them.

I’ve learned a few things from this and I want to share some of them. This may not be entirely new, but they are new to me … and hopefully will help you accomplish your own goals.

Create Rewards for Every Baby-Step You Make Toward Your Goals

In the past, I would create one big reward for accomplishing any given goal.  For example, if I were able to build my business by X% over the course of a year, I would set a reward of a new car or a vacation.

The problem was that I couldn’t look at that goal every day and stay excited about accomplishing it a year from now.  And also, the reward might be something that I would lose interest in after a few months.

The new car example is perfect because if you know me, I’m not really a big fan of new cars because they seem like such a waste of money.  I won’t go into the details of why I don’t like the idea of buying new cars when your current car gets your from point A to point B without any problem, but the bottom line is that I would always set a goal with some kind of product as a reward, and halfway to achieving it, I would lose interest in the product.

The other problem that I have experienced with setting huge goals that might take a year to accomplish is that it would often seem impossible.  Like taking my business from 10,000 to 100,000/month in revenue.  The amount of work it takes to accomplish that goal makes me LOSE my motivation, because it seems like I’ll be working on it forever.

But by breaking goals down into baby steps … things I can actually accomplish in a single week … my motivation has soared.  This has been especially true of goals that have a short term, smaller reward attached to them.

The most powerful example of this has been my income goals.  Income goals never worked for me in the past, but what I have done is break down my income goal into tiny increments that are achievable within a single week.

Right now, my goal is to increase my personal income by $250/month … every single week. So every month, I have 4 goals that need to be accomplished.  And each of these goals have a reward attached to them.

Here were my goals and rewards over the last four weeks:

  • +$250/month income –  Men’s Health & Entrepreneur Mag Subscription ($40)
  • +$250/month income – New Computer Glasses ($65) & Vaporizer ($170)
  • +$250/month income – New Headset for Phone ($32) & 8GB Ram for Laptop ($64)
  • +$250/month income – Shoot machine guns at Nashville Armory ($200)… still working on this one

The result of these four mini goals is a monthly income increase of $1,000.  That might not sound like a lot, but it was not hard to accomplish these goals because I just had to figure out how to make an extra $250/month four times.  And if I keep going down this path, I’ll add an extra $12,000/month in income in 12 months.

Now imagine that my goal was to raise my income by $10,000/month by the end of the year. How the hell am I supposed to make an extra $10,000/month without doing a tons of sales, coming up with new products and services for my business, launching a dozen marketing campaigns, etc!?!

If I had tried that route, I would probably have just bought all those toys along the way without attaching the accomplishment of a goal to them.

So here’s my point …

By attaching mini-rewards to mini-goals, the outcome is that you will still get to your big goal, but your motivation will stay high every step of the way.

Next month, I’m going to apply this same thing to my health goals.  Specifically, I’m going to apply mini rewards to mini weight loss goals.  Like “every pound of weight loss = some small reward.”  So stay tuned.

I hope this tip helps your own goals.  I have ADHD so staying motivated and avoiding procrastination is very hard, but this is working brilliantly.

What do you think?  Do you have mini goals with mini rewards for yourself?  Have you found other ways of accomplishing big goals and staying motivated?

Monthly Goal Update – 4/7/2015

Get in shape – Lose 25 lbs. and work out at the gym three times a week

No progress this month.  All I did was work and will be seeking more balance and continuing progress this month.

Wake up by 7:00 AM every morning — sleep 8 hours a night.

Still doing well.  I’ve been waking at 6 recently. Everything is on track!

Learn to code web apps with Ruby on Rails

Done.  Just need to complete my first app.  I’ve enrolled at Code School to keep refining my skills and am taking online classes every day to keep getting better.

New Goal: Learn to build plugins for WordPress

Dropped this goal.  Instead, I’m adding a new goal of launching a Udemy course in the next three weeks. See below…

Launch a Udemy Course by 4/30

I’ve been working on a Udemy course for two months and haven’t launched it because I keep running into technical problems.  But launching this course will help me meet my new income goals which I’m going to start publishing here.  I’ve also dropped my goal of learning PHP and coding WordPress plugins because that will spread out my time too much and I don’t have a great idea for a plugin right now.

New Goal: Increase My Income by $1,000/month

I actually already did this last month.  And I think I can do it again and again.  My goal setting process has really changed and I’m killing it at work.  I’ll write about this in an upcoming post.  But I’m going to stick with this goal until the end of the year so I should be able to increase my income by $8,000/month by December.