Why Setting Goals May Prevent You From Reaching Your Dreams
I read an anonymous quote the other day on Facebook that simply said, “You’ll never achieve your dreams if they don’t become goals.” And while I understand the intent of this statement is to underscore the importance of setting tangible goals and remaining focused on attaining them, I couldn’t disagree more with the quote itself.
In fact, I would put forth that embracing this quote will actually thwart you from successfully achieving your coveted end results.
Now, in some ways we are simply being playful with semantics as we embark upon the debate of goals vs. dreams, but to delve a bit further into the realm of the universal laws, we rapidly see that the process of setting goals undermines the very intent of their acquisition.
To set a goal, in and of itself, is to illuminate the “lack thereof.”
So to say your “goal” is to drive a fancy sports car is in effect focusing on the lack of that tangible object in your life. And to further set your sights on daily activities that will bring about the acquisition of that fancy car is to continue to focus incessantly on that which you do not currently possess.
In contrast, to “dream” of that fancy sports car in effect puts you in the driver’s seat (pun definitely intended) as you feel the wind in your hair riding the highway of life – embracing the feelings and emotions you associate with being the owner of that prized possession. Feels totally different, doesn’t it?
And in your “dreams,” as you feel the cool leather seats envelop your body, wrap your hands around the powerful steering wheel and shift into high gear, your reverie does not include pulling off to the side of the road to check off your ‘to do’ list for the day, does it? To the contrary, you are in the zone, at one with your dream – reveling in the moment.
But the astute reader could wisely challenge me at this juncture and raise the notion that sitting around “dreaming” all day about being in that sports car isn’t going to make it magically appear in the driveway, now, is it?
Well… yes, and no – and here’s where the rubber meets the road! (Yes, another shameless pun.)
An Introduction to Milestone Mapping
As an Intuitive Life Coach, as well as in my own personal life, I am a huge proponent of staying focused, organized and mapping out plans for milestones that we seek to accomplish. But at the same time, once we set our sights on a target – I am equally in favor of letting the universe take the wheel. But make no mistake, this is not a prescription for passivity – to the contrary, it’s all about action – inspired action in fact.
The technique that I have found to be most successful in accomplishing results is something I call Milestone Mapping. And it came about as a result of my need to stay organized, yet at the same time, my utter disdain for flowcharts and linear ‘to do’ lists.
We’ve all seen flowcharts that start at the top with a topic or a “goal” and then branch out ad nauseam into a million (or so it seems) infinite legs of action items, steps or yes/no scenarios. But the very nature of a flow chart is a downward path – and metaphysically speaking, spiraling downward is direct contrast to the nature of the universe. Likewise, a ‘to do’ list follows that same symbolic, linear descending direction.
Next came Mind Maps – credited to Tony Buzan in 1996 as a means of note taking and brainstorming. In Buzan’s model, this technique encourages a non-linear approach to learning or mapping out a projects and enhances creativity as a means of sorting out a complicated idea. But a Mind Map, or spider map as it is also often termed, focuses on what exists – so it never quite fit the bill for projections into the future. And that’s where Milestone Mapping comes in.
Similar to a Mind Map, Milestone Mapping begins in the center with a topic, concept, or “goal,” if we may use that term loosely now based upon our understanding of its inadequacies. But that’s where the similarities end.
When creating your own Milestone Map, you will illustrate your coveted “prize” in the center of your diagram – you can do this with words, illustrations, a colorful picture if you are so inclined, or even chicken scratch will do – there is no right or wrong way to begin as it is representative of your internal being, without formal constraints to impede your progress.
Consider this first step as “setting your intention” with the universe – and as you put pen to paper, embrace the feelings that are associated with already having attained the milestone you are seeking.
Next, draw 3-5 lines emanating out from the center of your intention (spider legs if you will). These lines will be labeled with your “perceived” initial milestones that will be required to bring about the successful realization of your intention. These milestones can be tangible or physical stages or they can represent emotional and mental accomplishments – and likely, it will be a combination of both.
After you have completed this step… STOP!
Yes, that’s right – for this moment in time and space, you simply stop.
And the reason is, if you haven’t already guessed, is that unlike a Mind Map (which fills up the page with that which exists) you are going to be logging events as they happen, in real time.
You see, this is both the beauty and effectiveness of Milestone Mapping – you are the creator of your own reality as you proceed along the fabulous journey of identifying an intention and embracing the realization of the delicious steps along the way as you head toward the pinnacle of your intention. But unlike other techniques, you are not pre-determining the path you will take – that is up to your higher force and how you interact with the universal laws at work along the way.
So as you proceed in filling up this beautiful blank page, you will be logging the milestones as they become apparent to you and each time you add to the white space, you will practice the art of allowing and embrace receiving the gifts that the universe sends your way.
Even if there is a perceived “detour,” you will be able to visually identify how it ties into the bigger picture and accept its existence as part of the journey, instead of meeting it with resistance as you may have previously had the tendency to do.
Each time you reach a particular milestone related to your central “dream/goal/prize” (we can now see that it really doesn’t so much matter what you call it) you will return to your diagram and record its existence.
But more than simply recording it – you will also allow yourself to be engulfed with feelings of warmth and appreciation that you are one step closer to the realization of your target – thus allowing events to unfold as they are meant to.
Now however, you have removed the significance and urgency of the time line – thus reducing the resistance that often thwarts progress and leaves people feeling uncertain about the entire “ask, believe and receive” process.
So congratulations! You have now discovered the powerful, secret key to the art of remaining “in the moment,” and appreciating the experiences you have along the way by acknowledging and showing gratitude as it happens. And through embracing this technique, you are no longer endeavoring to pre-determine “how” you will arrive – you are simply at ease in learning to enjoy the journey along the way!
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