Many goal setting systems advise you to have short-term goals and long-term goals with long-term goals extending to the next 10-20 years.
But do you really know where you want to be in the next 10 years?
Projecting the future is difficult and is usually based on your past actions and expectations of the future.
Projecting is hard because we don’t know the person we will be in the future. We can’t control the many things that affect our lives…the economy, the health of loved ones, our jobs and how they may evolve.
Sphere of control
At best, we can only control those things within our sphere of control. Our minds, our health, our current finances, our direct relationships and our day-to-day actions and activities.
Our sphere of control then can only exist within shorter time frames. We can control what we do now, in the present, tomorrow and possibly one week to one month out.
So how do you achieve your dreams?
Chunk your dreams into projects
Choose one or two dreams, chunk them down into incremental projects, and focus on working on one or two projects at a time, projects that can take at most one month to accomplish.
A project can be learning a new skill, implementing a new habit, redesigning some aspect of your life to make space for something new.
One dream may have 12 projects, one project per month, or 24 projects over a space of one or two years. Your focus will not be on the total length of time. Only on one or two projects at a time.
Take action daily and monitor your progress
Your next step is to take action every day on the projects you decided to focus on. Monitor your progress.
Monitoring your progress can be monitoring when you took action and reflecting on what did or did not work on a particular day.
Also monitor your mindsets and your beliefs. When did you believe you could accomplish your task? When did you believe you will not be able to? What you believe in will determine your success.
At some point, you will find that you have to put one project aside to work on something else. In my case I realized I had to work on having a more positive and grateful attitude before I could write more consistently.
Build good mindsets and then habits to work your way through your projects.
Remind yourself of your big dream when you encounter an obstacle
Your way will be paved with obstacles. Very often, obstacles are often the turning points that you need to get through to get make a significant move to the dream.
Don’t bulldoze through the obstacle. You will exhaust yourself and take yourself off the path to your dream.
When you meet an obstacle, step back and remind yourself of what you want. Then find a way either around or through the obstacle. First, is the obstacle a real one and worthy of your time and energy? And if it is then analyze your sphere of control and determine the resources and support you need to get through the obstacle.
Your current project may be delayed as you take on another project to get the resources and support to overcome the obstacle. Maintain a self-compassionate stance and work steadily through.
Be flexible in your plan. Sometimes opportunities come up in another sphere of your life and you will need to put your current projects on hold. But, you may also get other opportunities that may shorten your time on your current project.
So have a plan but don’t be married to it. At least once a month, remind yourself of the bigger dream that you are working towards and if necessary, adjust your plan.
Regardless of your dream, always act within your sphere of control.