Make it happen in 2013 – without any New Year resolutions!

2012listI started struggling with my dreams at the age of 15, when I suddenly learnt that I was on my own. I had to stop schooling and start working. It seemed like the end of the world – no education, no family support, no money… all I had were dreams and love for a girl who was going to be my soulmate. I also had  an extremely good luck to find the right people showing me the way and helping me along the way. [Some more of that story in my book introduction here.]

For over 30 years, I’ve been following what I call the “4-step method” to fulfill my dreams and achieve my goals, big and small, long-term and short-term. I got to the top of my dream job, traveled the world, achieved the health and fitness that I desired, started this blog… and more recently, got my first book published! I have also helped hundreds of people achieve their dreams through the same 4-step method. It’s not easy, but it’s simple:

  1. Dream. It’s the easiest part. We all have dreams. It’s a pity that sometimes we stop dreaming. We ‘learn’ that dreaming is no good; dreaming doesn’t help; dreams don’t come true. If you want a dream to come true, you got to have a dream. To follow step 1, you need to write your dreams down. It helps to think of your dreams as
    • Things I want to do (learn… travel to… contribute to… experience… lose… quit…)
    • Things I want to be (a manager/director… volunteer… a better…)
    • Things I want to have (all the material stuff that money can buy…) [Inspiring quotes about dreams]
  2. Goal. Now that you have your dream list all sorted, pick one or two of them that inspire you the most. The things that can happen over the next 3-6 months. The things you are most passionate about. The things you’d do if you only had a year to live. And make that dream specific and time bound. E.g. ‘I want to travel’ is a dream; ‘I am going to see Guilin in April 2013’ is a goal. ‘I want to lose weight’ is a dream; ‘I am going to lose 10 kg in 10 weeks’ is a goal. You see the difference between a dream and a goal? This is often the hardest part because it requires you to make a commitment to your dream. [Related post]
  3. Plan. Now you have a goal, write down a plan – the action steps required. If goal is a destination, then plan is the route. A plan for a weight loss goal requires a daily diet and exercise plan. The plan for my goal ‘to write and publish a book in two years’ was ‘write a chapter every week for 100 weeks’. Many goals require money. So the plan will be to be save a particular amount every month into a ‘dream account’ which may require cutting down on certain things or increasing the income. If you can’t come up with daily, weekly or monthly action steps that guarantee the achievement of your goal, then it’s likely an unrealistic goal. [Related post]
  4. Action. Now that you have a road map with the starting point, destination and the route clearly marked the obvious next step is to start moving in the right direction. The action could be a 30-minute walk to get fit, replacing one unhealthy snack with a healthy one, saving part of the income, waking up a little earlier to read or write or learn something that you have committed to. No excuses, no procrastination! [Related post]

If you make New Year resolutions and give up within a week or a month, you know why. New Year resolutions are only goals, and unless they are backed up with a realistic plan and daily action, they are only going to add to your list of unfulfilled dreams. Don’t make New Year resolutions this year. Try this 4-step method instead.

[Photo of part of my 2012 to-do list. I use SimpleNote app on my handheld to make all sorts of lists, including dreams and goals. It backs up online automatically and is accessible through any device.]

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