Big Dreams and Realistic Expectations by Steph Beth Nickel

The Importance of Big Dreams

As a new year dawns, it’s natural to set goals for the upcoming 12 months. It’s also natural if some of those goals are fueled by our big dreams.

This year I discovered it’s essential that I dream big. If I don’t, I lack the motivation to persevere with everyday tasks and tend to become weighed down by them and procrastinate.

My big dreams allow my imagination to run wild. I may achieve one or two of these dreams this year. I may not. But that’s okay. These dreams are water for my thirsty soul, energy for my lethargic mind and body, wings for my lagging spirit.

Dreams are like exercise. They may be difficult at first, but with persistence, the blood starts pumping; “the feel-good hormones” start coursing through my body; and, eventually, I begin to see noticeable changes.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Why and when do I have to balance these dreams with realistic expectations?

We can make a long list of our dreams and aspirations, but if we never break them down into achievable tasks, they’ll always be out of reach. (I prefer Christa Hutchins’s PEACE goals over SMART goals.)

If the purpose of dreaming big is the equivalent of a shot of adrenaline, at least some of our dreams can stay in the Maybe One Day category as is. My Maybe One Day dreams would fill several pages.

The reality is that we can’t sit around all day dreaming. Otherwise, we’d never get anything done.

When it comes to To-Do lists, I can whip up a doozy. But I’ve found, if I don’t prioritize the items on my list and create a flexible schedule, most things simply get transferred to tomorrow’s list. And we all know “tomorrow never comes.”

I need to schedule regular time to dream, which includes filling in some of my plethora of downloaded resources. I’m always up for a good guided journal or online challenge. And please don’t get me started about the countless books and online courses I have access to that I haven’t even looked at. Next time’s topic perhaps.

I have to dream big to stay motivated. And I have to set realistic expectations so I can actually cross things off my list each day. Maybe the same is true of you.

A Word of Caution

You know yourself best. If dreaming big creates a sense of hopelessness and defeat, it’s likely best for you to focus exclusively on creating a list of realistic expectations.

If, like me, you find that list of everyday expectations seems colourless and burdensome, maybe you need to allow your imagination to soar for a set amount of time each week … or each day.

Share one or two of your big dreams or energizing realistic expectations in the comments.

I’d love to hear about them.

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