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Practical Tips To Make Your Dreams Come True -- How To Achieve Your Goals

Updated on March 29, 2012

Living The Dream

We all have big dreams that we've yet to achieve. Some people want to get married and live in a big house. Others want to be a rock star or an astronaut. Some want to leave their careers and follow their passions. And others want to complete a task, such as finishing a marathon or learning a new language.

Sometimes these dreams can seem impossible, but in most cases, you can achieve your goals and make a lifestyle change. In the past few years, I've achieved several of mine: I produced a jazz flute album, wrote two novels, started an online freelancing career and began making and selling my own jewelry. Now I don't think I'm the best or the most talented or lucky -- I'm just very driven and project-oriented. I'm also very practical when it comes to setting and reaching goals.

I've had many friends say to me, "Oh, I should write a book.":"I should learn French." "I should learn to make pottery." At the time being, they mean it -- they really do want to do something different with their lives. The problem is, they don't know how.

Many lifestyle gurus like Oprah will encourage you to believe in yourself and to think big -- and you should. Having confidence is part of that foundation that goals are built upon. But you also have to know what you're working with.

Here are a few of my tips for making your dreams come true and achieving your goals. I don't promise any magic bullet or epiphany, and can't guarantee that everyone can do everything that he or she wants to. Trust me, I know. There is no way that I'll ever live out my dream of becoming a professional ballerina. But I do know that there are practical ways that I can live out some of my other goals. Hopefully, my methods will be helpful to you, as well.

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Reaching Your Goals -- Coming Up With A Game Plan

The first thing that you need to do is decide what your goal actually is. This sounds obvious, but many people I know have very nebulous goals, "I want to be happier," "I want to do music," "I want more money." These are all great things, but you need to zoom in on a specific goal in order to make that dream a reality. Otherwise, you're just going to be all over the place.

1. That said, first solidify your dream. For example, if you want to be an artist, in what capacity do you want to do so? Do you want to paint or sculpt? Do you want to be the next Monet or simply do it as a hobby? Is this something you want to do as a money-making career or just for fun? You need to figure out exactly what the goal is before you set about in achieving it.

2. Determine how far you actually are from your goal. This is along the same lines, but takes it a step further. Say you want to be a singer. Can you sing? Were you in chorus? Did you ever take lessons or perform in front of an audience? If you've never sung before, the first step in your goal might be signing up for lessons or for the church choir. If you have performed and have a good voice, perhaps your goal might be to get some singing gigs at clubs. You can't go from zero to 60 with a goal; you need to take all of those steps in between.

3. Construct a plan and set realistic goals. Next, you want to start working on those baby steps. A wanna-be master chef might want to sign up for cooking classes. When I decided to try my hand at jewelry, I purchased several jewelry-making books and watched dozens of instructional videos. Even when I signed up for HubPages, I first researched it. Doing that research is extremely important. You don't want to jump into something without knowing what you're jumping into. Yeah, it's fun to actually get going on your painting or singing or cooking, but you first need to know what supplies are necessary, right?

4. Accept that fact that you'll make mistakes. Before recording my flute album, I practiced and practiced my pieces. Some days they sounded horrible. Even when I was at the recording studio, I often had to stop a redo a section because I tripped over a note. But I didn't beat myself up. I just learned from it and moved on. Same goes for my jewelry. Whenever I learn a new technique, I screw up a few times. But that's what makes me better. You need to know what can go wrong in order to make things right. Many people give up when they don't get something right away -- including myself at times; hey, I am NOT perfect. But you have to persist. You'll be surprised at how quickly you do get things and mistakes are part of the process.

5. Be prepared for criticism. Not everyone is going to like your work, especially if you're doing something in the arts, like music or painting. You should hear some of the things that have been said about my writing; I have a drawer full of rejection letters to prove it! But I also welcome the criticism. In the best case scenario, it comes from people who care and are more knowledgeable than you in a field. This criticism is constructive and can help you. In the worst case scenario, it comes from someone who wants to bring you down. Use that to fuel your ambition. Why should you let some insulting jerk hold you back? Shown 'em up!

6. Be prepared to learn as much as you can. The only way you're going to get better at something is to practice and learn. When it comes to my jewelry, for example, I'm always exploring new techniques and am now taking a metalsmithing class. Meanwhile, I'm always reading articles and watching videos online. Thanks to sites like YouTube, you can learn a whole lot without having to spend the money on a class. But I'm still trying to learn in some way.

7. Budget your goal. Let's face it, most goals cost money. You'll need supplies, lessons, etc. Find out how much it is and how much you can do with that. Maybe you won't be able to afford a whole year of ice skating lessons, but can you budget for three sessions? Then you can at least get started and work from there. Maybe that art class at the college is too expensive, but can you afford a book on painting? Work the monetary factor into your overall plan because that's going to be a big factor.

8. Budget your time. Another complaint I hear from friends is that they don't have the time to work on their dreams. We're ALL busy, especially if you have a family, a job and other obligations. But you don't need to spend all day working on a goal. You can squeeze in 15 minutes to practice singing or painting. No one is making you punch a clock. If it takes you three years to finish a project, who cares? Just keep at it!

9. Assess where you are. Often, you need to change a goal at some point. You might be doing something that works for a while, but most of the time, you need a shake up. If you're trying to run a marathon, for example, you'll need to log more and more miles in a practice run. If you're learning pottery, you'll need to develop more techniques. Even if you've reached a goal, you should keep up with anything new that's in that field or area. You may have become the top-notch Web designer that you always wanted to be, but you'll need to keep up with the latest programs and technology.

10. Don't give up! This is so cliche, but so necessary. You HAVE to keep going. If you bomb during your first comedy show, do it again. If you gain weight after a holiday when you were losing on a steady basis, go back to that healthier eating plan. If the first gallery wouldn't buy your painting, try another -- or try a different type of painting. Just keep trying and do the best you can, without being too hard on yourself. Trying to reach a goal is GOOD thing and you need to make a positive experience.


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