Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Of Goals and Dreams, Part II

There's a delicate balance, then, between the pursuit of long-term dreams and the daily plod of short-term goals. Tangible short-term goals are a vital part of the successful pursuit of long-term dreams. But there is always a danger that the flurry of today's goals will obscure tomorrow's vision.

Here are a few tangible steps one can take to maintain a balance.

1. Vision Board - I have seen this used successfully in a number of different ways. Ultimately, a vision board's purpose is to provide a visual reminder of one's long-term vision. Some people use vision boards for individual projects.Others create vision boards that reflect their vision for their entire life or for a specific period of time. Right now, my vision board consists only of a cork-bulletin-board covered simply with a few quotes and my book list. Expanding it is one of my summer projects!

2. Purpose Statement - Donald Miller and Michael Hyatt both swear by this method. I have never tried it, partially because I suspect that for a verbally-oriented person (like me), writing goals down may simply be repetitious, since I find it easier to write lists than to act. Part of me is just too lazy.

3. Mini- "Bucket Lists" - Creating lists of tangible, large steps that cover a year or a couple of years can be useful. I have a few different kinds of mini "Bucket lists" (for cooking and reading, for instance) and have found working that using these lists is quite motivating and effective. To be useful, these lists should encompass enough time and acitivity to actually force you to exert a substantial amount of time and effort, but they should also be small enough for you to track tangible progress.

4. Assessments - Where do you want to be in 1 year? Where do you want to be in 5 years? Where do you want to be in 30 years? Are you taking steps today to get yourself to those goals? Constantly assessing your specific long-term desires and then analyzing your present situation, actions, and priorities forces you to keep yourself accountable. This is an area in which trusted friends can be helpful. Share your goals with them and see if they think you are progressing towards those points.

Have you tried any of these methods? How did they work for you? What other methods do you use to maintain a balance between pursuing your long-term dreams and short-term goals?

Read Part I of this series.