An Important Difference Between Dreams And Goals

January 16 Blog

Two weeks into the new year! Wait, what? Did I just hear you call me captain obvious? You know what? It doesn’t even matter cause I’m too stoked you’re here to care. Happy New Year! Glad to see you made it over to 2018. That feels like a ton of happy within a short space of writing. Let’s move on to the New Year stuff.

With the visions, the resolutions, the goals, a New Year is a tangible time that lends credence to fresh starts and do-overs. I don’t know about you but I am particularly excited for this year. So excited in fact that I feel like I have achieved more over its first two weeks than I have in a long, long time. But I am realistic enough to realize it’s just the New Year exhilaration and that the momentum isn’t sustainable. And you know what else I am? I am also old enough to have experienced experiences. To have had visions and to have had them smacked right out of my head. I’ll tell you a short story about me and vision boards.

It was 2016 and a doe-eyed Cy created a vision board for the first time ever. It was a digital vision board, for doe-eyed Cy had some graphic design finesse. What other way to show off said finesse than to create a digital vision board? Vision boards are cool but a digital one? Way cooler. Anyways, doe-eyed Cy created her vision board, prettying it up with cute colors and awe-inspiring photos.

But cute colors and awe inspiring photos does not reality make. Because 12 months later, doe-eyed Cy had yet to achieve even one thing on her prettied-up-with-cute-colors-and-awe-inspiring-photos vision board. She had achieved many things, but not the ones on her vision board. She had tried really hard to get to the things on her vision board. But alas! A lot of the “visions” on her board were just that; visions, mirages, dreams and very little was within her sphere control. And that fateful year, 2016, marked the end of doe-eyed Cy’s relationship with vision boards.

Looks like I deleted that vision board off my system. I intended to include it in this post but can’t find it anywhere. Anyways …

Within that anecdote lies the problem with framing visions; dreams if you may, within a definitive timeline, as opposed to setting actionable goals within deadlines. I think the core difference between dreams and goals is that one, the latter is within your control while the former isn’t. Roll with me here for a minute.

For example, “I’d love to meet Emeli Sande” is totally a dream. I’m sure of this because I had to administer some tough love on myself and eventually bring myself to admit that unless I intend to execute an elaborate stalking scheme that would involve a trip to the U.K. and possible participation in illegal activity that may earn me a restraining order, this isn’t a thing I can make happen. So, fine. I’d love to meet Emeli Sande is a dream. Now, release a seven-track album? That’s a goal. Get on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List? A dream. Start your own company and become an employer? A goal. You getting a hang of it now? Generally speaking, you may be able to achieve a dream in the long run, but not without setting practical, step-by-step goals that will build up to it. It’s a “little drops of water makes a mighty ocean” kind of situation. The goals are the little drops of water and the dream is the ocean.

Lesson one of Shonda Rhimes 2016 Dartmouth University commencement speech was “DITCH THE DREAM. BE A DOER, NOT A DREAMER” and I am absolutely agree with her. I mean, she’s Shonda Rhimes; first of her name (as far as I’m concerned), the uncancelled (that’s a word now), Queen of Shondaland, breaker of glass ceilings  … The point is, she’s a master in the art of getting stuff done and I’d be stupid not to agree. So these days, I work with lists of things I can actually do. I know I will have to put in the work. And I also know that I am perfectly capable of doing that.

So while I have this beginning-of-year exhilaration on my side, here’s praying for more good days than bad days, more Ws than Ls, and more goal scoring than dream chasing in 2018.


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2 Replies to “An Important Difference Between Dreams And Goals”

  1. Theresa Mac-Dangosu says:

    One thing 2016/2017 taught me was to always set attainable goals, and every time I begin to think waaaay out of the box, I draw myself back. I mean its okay to set big goals but its good to have an understanding of what those goals mean, Thank you for this refreshing article, its a pace controller for me, I reminder that i’m not alone, which I enjoyed.

    • CY Dieyi says:

      Thank you for reading, Theresa! You’re the reason I keep writing <3. And your analysis is spot on! Happy New Year, love.

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