What Are Dream Goals and Why Should You Care?

On why you should set Dream Goals to accomplish more.

You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.
— John Lennon

As children we all had Dream Goals, grand visions of what success looked like to us. I remember in the 8th Grade Mr. Dupuis had us write a letter to ourselves ten years in the future. We were to talk about the things we would be doing for fun as well as our careers and where we would be living. Mr. Dupuis was creating a subconscious prime in our younger selves that would, unbeknownst to us at the time, set us along a path. We would still have to put in the work to follow that path but this is one of those ‘secrets' hidden in plain sight that those amongst us who have accomplished what they set out to do capitalize on. 

Most people fear setting big goals for themselves because they don’t want to deal with the chance of failing. If you look at is from a fixed-mindset perspective, the loftier the goal, the more likely you are to never reach the finish line. But if you don’t fear the end point and look forward to the journey along the way, those bigger goals will set you on a path of adventure and educate you far more than any small goal ever would. 

Dream goals are important - they set you in a direction that you have more control over than just accepting “amor fati”. While the Stoics may have accepted the fate that was bestowed upon them, this is not to say that they were helpless pawns to that fate. They consciously and continuously made the effort to better themselves and work towards bigger goals. They didn’t fret over the end-point of the journey and focused on what they could control each and every day. Part of Marcus Aurelius’ journalling process that we see in Meditations, is preparing for and reviewing each day to see what progress he made and where he could make improvements towards living a life based on his set of values.

What are Dream Goals?

  • Dream Goals push you towards the life you want to live and the people, places, and things that you want to be a part of your life. 

  • There’s no judgement of a Dream Goal - they can be as big as you want (but you’ve got to think big; too small is no good for a Dream Goal).

  • A Dream Goal must be written down. In Grounded in Gratitude, Josh Bryant talks about the importance of writing goals down in order to prime the subconscious to look for opportunities related to the goal and to allow both hemispheres of the brain to look for solutions.  

  • You may already know what Dream Goal(s) you have - start to think about it more concretely so that you’ll have something to work with when going further into creating tasks and goals to chunk down your Dream Goal into achievable parts.

  • A Dream Goal does not necessarily have to be achievable - tasks and goals along the way to your dream will set you further along the path to your own success than you’d otherwise be. We often hear about the SMART acronym for goal setting referring to Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. When creating Dream Goals be smart like Homer Simpson - SMRT, the attainable goals will be reached along the journey. 

If you feel caught up in the idea of writing down a goal so lofty it seems unattainable, work on reframing your belief that it’s unattainable to telling yourself that you can achieve it. Just believing in yourself goes a long way. Also, realize that it is the journey before destination in everything you do. If you get too caught up in the final outcome of Dream Goal setting, you won’t enjoy the adventure along the way. 

Start by meditating on your core values. If you don’t care about money and fame, having the Dream Goal of becoming a movie star might not align well with your values. You have to identify for yourself what it is that you value most. Create a set of Principles by which to live your life. As a young man who was becoming more industrious and faced with the turmoil of living in colonial America, Benjamin Franklin created a list called his “Plan for Future Conduct”. This list contained the pragmatic rules he felt would be most conducive to his future success. 

Even if you don’t know for certain that the goal you’ve identified is something that you want to achieve, it’s worthwhile to write it down in a journal or on a list where you keep your Dream Goals. Create some kind of timeline for the goal, whether it is one year or ten years doesn’t matter so much as we will be breaking down the actionable steps later but it does create more gravity to the Dream Goal and will incline you to actually working towards it.

When I received my own letter in the mail from Mr. Dupuis it was shocking to see what I had gotten right and where I had veered from my own fate. Things like career path which be been the be all - end all at the time of my Promethean endeavour had evolved to be less necessary to my lifestyle design whereas the other lifestyle factors which became much more important were also more accurately predicted in the letter. 

One of the Rules in Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life is to not compare yourself to others but to compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Part of the antidote to the chaos of this world is to create your own Dream Goal to narrow your focus and set yourself on a journey to your own success.

So what’s your Dream going to be?