Live Your Dreams: Make A List

Do you have goals?

I'm sure you have dreams.  Everyone has dreams.  I dream of finally learning to dance.  I dream of having a real job.  I dream of using that real job to buy a mountain of cannolis and eating them all in one sitting.

Maybe eating cannolis could be my job.

At any rate, we have dreams.  But dreams are lofty.  They're out of reach.  I can imagine a mountain of cannolis, but I can't have them.  Yet.

That's the key word: yet.  It might be lofty, but there are a bunch of little things I can do to work up to that dream.  Those little things are your goals.

You know all this.  You're a productive member of society.  You have dreams that you'll achieve someday (I know you will!) and you know to keep working toward them.  So why am I writing this?

I have recently discovered a wonderful magic more powerful than any of my new friends.  It's called writing stuff down.

If you get it down on paper, you can start fixing it.  Everyone says that about first drafts.  If the story just stays up in your head, it never goes anywhere.  Not all goals are the same way, but in general... yeah, goals are the same way.

If my life was a musical, my monologue song would be "I wanted to do that but I forgot!" with a carefree yet disappointed melody.  I've thought up moves to try with Barton, technology things to ask Tony, and workout tips for Thor.  (The man skips leg day ritually.)  I can remember thinking all of these things-- but I can't recall what I actually thought up.

I started writing my goals down a couple weeks ago, and it's changed the way I work.  I look up, see that list, and decide on something to tackle.  I immediately can see how much work I'll have to do today, or this week, or this month.  I still forget stuff, but when I remember I add it to the list.

But remembering stuff?  That's small potatoes.  Consider this: each time you make a list of goals, you reevaluate.

We need to constantly reevaluate to live.  I'm not the same person I was last year-- I'm definitely not the same person I was ten years ago.  (My body temperature is much higher now.)  If I want to grow, I need to keep figuring out where I am in each journey I've begun.  Creating a goal list forces you to do that.  It forces you to figure out a timeline for getting stuff done.  This, to me, is the most valuable thing I've learned from goal setting.

So what kinds of goals am I talking about?  I've got a million of them— how do we break up that giant list into smaller and smaller bites?

Long Distance Goals

Long distance goals are the building blocks for your dreams.  Dreams are still lofty and unreachable-- long distance goals are large steps along the way.  You can't accomplish them in one fell swoop, but you can certainly chip away at them.  These are things you want to accomplish by the time 3 to 6 months pass.

For me, this involves querying a novel, writing a couple of blog posts, and some miscellaneous workout goals that line up with my current level of fitness.  It isn't anything too crazy-- it's achievable in that time period-- but it will take some effort.

Be careful with these goals, though.  While they're easy to write down, they can become frustrating if you don't see yourself making progress.  Don't be afraid to change them.  Our goals change over time as we change.  These should be easy to write down, but also easy to change if need be.

Middle Distance Goals

These are closer to the here-and-now, but they're still complex problems.  They still require a couple steps to complete.  These are goals that build toward your long distance goals, achievable over a week or two.

Every day this week, I want to do X.  I put these goals up there.  Things that might happen a couple days from now, I put here too.  But also, things that I could do any time, but need to get done this week.  For instance, writing this post.  I knew I wanted to do it by the end of the week, and now I'm doing it at the start of the week.  I'm happy with that.

Short Distance Goals

Finally, the urgent goals.  These are things that need to be done today, or you'd like to get done today.  They're generally one-step tasks-- easy to write down, easy to check off.  If it's something you'd like to do, however, it could end up being pushed to the next day.  That's just how life is.

Today, I needed to write this blog post, work out, and actually write out this week's goals.  I've managed to do most of that already, so I'm ahead of schedule.

Lots of goals, lots of productivity.  I hope this has helped you a little bit-- it's not the standard writing advice, but I promise it'll help.  Write down your goals.  Get a clearer view of what you need to do.  Above all, reevaluate your position in the world.  That's how we grow.

Live awesomely.


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