Sometimes our biggest dreams and goals can seem far away and just out of our reach. This doesn’t mean we can’t strive to achieve them, and we definitely should, however the process may be increasingly difficult unless you work early on to establish a strong emotional bond to your dreams.
Creating an emotional connection with your hopes and dreams may sound easy, but then the first time you are distracted, or are unable to achieve your goal, you may find that you falter.
Thus, there are a number of ways to work towards your goal, keep you focused, all while maintaining the desired emotional connection you will need to achieve it.
Steps To Make An Emotional Connection To Your Dreams
Have S.M.A.R.T. Goals And Ask Why
Most people don’t realize it, but having goals, and having S.M.A.R.T. goals are completely different concepts. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is more thought out, it’s written down, and ultimately, it’s more achievable. Anyone can have a goal, but only the most successful people create and maintain S.M.A.R.T. goals.
What Is A Smart Goal?
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely, and it’s an easy way to condense and hone in on your goals.
The first step is to write down your goal in specific language. Use who/what/when questions to make your dream as detailed as possible. According to the Corporate Finance Institute, specific goals are much more likely to be achieved than those which are stated in more general terms. And not only that, but writing your goals alone increases the chances you will achieve them by 40%.
An example of a general goal is “I want to be healthier” a specific goal would be “I am going to cook healthy meals every night of the week after going to the local gym down the street for one hour after I get off work.” See the difference? The second goal reads more like a plan, and it will make achieving your dreams that much easier.
How can you know you are achieving your goals if you don’t measure the process? No matter what your goal is, after you specify it in the step above, it’s time to also create a way to measure said goal.
Sticking with the “I want to be healthier” goal, you could create a meal plan and write it on the calendar for each day of the week. You can also draw a small square next to the word ‘gym’ and cross it off for each day you attend. If your goal is weight loss, or to achieve more muscle mass, set goals for this as well, either in pounds lost or inches gained. It’s additionally a good idea to take frequent progress pictures so you can watch your transformation.
This dedication to measuring your goals will not only keep you on track, but also give you feelings of pride as you watch yourself change. And these feelings of pride will help you make an emotional connection to the goal you are achieving.
In order to accomplish your dreams, they must be achievable. And if your goal you’ve written above seems unachievable, ask yourself why. Is there a skill you are missing that you should work towards attaining? Are there tools which may help you achieve your goal? Write these down and work on solving them one step at time. This will make even the craziest dreams seem within reach, and closer seeming dreams will help you feel more connected to them rather than feel like you will never attain them.
If you’re having trouble with the above step, there’s a chance your dream is unrealistic. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work towards it all the same, but it does mean you should tweak your desires a bit in order to make them happen. An example of an unrealistic goal would be saying “I want to be the next Bill Gates” chances are you haven’t invented a Microsoft equivalent, nor do you want Bill Gates’ exact life.
Instead, make the goal more realistic by asking yourself why you want to be like him. Is it the money? The philanthropy? If it is, adjust your goal by saying “I want to make as much money as Bill Gates and donate a large portion of it to charity.”
See how much more attainable that sounds? Thinking of ways in which to make your goal realistic provides the same boost which making it achievable does, both of which bring you closer to your goal.
Always make sure your goals have a start and end date. Once they do, this will make them seem more real and help you apply yourself better as you strive to achieve them. Saying “I want to be rich someday” really doesn’t hold much weight in a conversation (or even when you are just writing goals down) but saying “I want to make a million dollars by next year” is both impressive and a good step to putting you on the right path to make your dreams a reality.
After you’ve written down and reviewed your S.M.A.R.T goal, you’ll probably be feeling much more emotionally involved with your goals than you were previously. But either way, take this a step further and ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal.
Will it make you happy? Will it improve your quality of life?
No matter what your reason, write it down! And if you find yourself getting distracted, or discouraged, reference your reason why and remind yourself of the emotional connection which you have to your goals and your purpose for completing them.
You’ve written down your goals, but honestly, this isn’t enough. The next step to making your goals a part of your heart is to spend some of your time visualizing yourself achieving said goals.
The number one recommended way to work on visualizing your dreams is by using meditation. According to a study published in Brain Research Bulletin, meditating on a regular basis actually helps people learn to control a certain type of brain wave known as alpha rhythms. Controlling your alpha rhythms helps keep you more focused and you are less likely to be distracted by erroneous stimuli in your life.
And meditation doesn’t have to be hard, most scientists simply recommend setting ten minutes of your day aside for meditating. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you in the evening or do it right when you wake up. But either way, find yourself a quiet (and comfortable) place in your home, close your eyes, and clear your mind.
Once you’ve done this, start visualizing yourself achieving your dreams. You’ll be surprised by the positive energy and focus this will instill. And besides just helping with achieving goals, meditation also helps relieve symptoms of diseases such as chronic pain and inflammatory disorders.
Use Your Senses
Even if meditation isn’t your ideal activity, it’s still imperative to take a few minutes and visualize yourself achieving your goal. Focus on what your five senses would be experiencing if you accomplish your dream.
So, if your goal is wining an award, think of what you would see (the crowd cheering?), feel (how heavy is the trophy?), smell (are you outdoors or in an auditorium) etc.
This will help it feel more real and create emotional ties to your dreams as you will begin to feel you are really there. If you find yourself straying from the path to success, put yourself back in your visualization, and remind yourself the way you will feel as you achieve your goal.
Visualize Yourself Conquering Hurdles
Chances are, no matter what your dream or goal may be, you will likely encounter hurdles along the way. This is why it is critical to visualize some of the possible issues you may encounter and how you will conquer them.
Not only will this prepare you for said issues when they arise, but this may also put you on the path to avoiding said problems before they become an issue. Visualizing yourself solving difficult situations will likewise give you a confidence boost, which will make you feel better, and more secure, as you push towards achieving your goal.
Turn Dreams Into Beliefs
In general, most people in the world have dreams, but what they lack is beliefs. This may be a hard one, but once you feel an emotional connection to your dreams, it’s time to strengthen the connection by truly believing that you can achieve your dream.
Once you’ve made your goal into a belief, you’ll find it’s much harder for outside influences, like other people, to sway you from your path. The things they may say to discourage you, will no longer affect you as they once did. You’ll feel stronger, and closer, to achieving your dreams than ever before.
Create A Vision Board
You’ve now spent time writing down your goals, and you’ve also spent time visualizing them. But you probably aren’t really sure what comes next. And this is why you should create a vision board.
If you’re not technology savvy, the best sort of vision board for you is probably an old-fashioned cork board which you can purchase off the internet or at a store which sells previously used products. Either way, pick one up, as well as some art supplies, and begin thinking what you want your board to represent.
If your goal is to eat healthy or to lose weight, find some pictures of healthy recipes which you love, as well as pictures of yourself (or someone you admire) at your goal weight. For those who want to keep to tradition, grab some magazines and find the pictures there, or you can do some Google internet searches, the choice is yours.
After you have your pictures neatly arranged on your board, it’s time to add some positive and encouraging statements (or maybe even a recipe or two if it fits your goal). Write these things down, or print them out, and arrange them around your photos so they can be easily read.
Make sure you put your goal at the top, or center, of the board. Use stickers, colorful paper, and colored tape to make your vision board something you truly want to look at.
Once it’s done, it’s crucial that you find the perfect spot for your vision board. It needs to be somewhere where you can see it often to keep you on track, and where you will find it after maybe having a bad day of working towards your goal.
Some people like to put it near their bed where they can relax and look at it. Or maybe you want it by your work desk. The choice is yours, just make sure it doesn’t end up in the floor of a closet somewhere.
Online or Digital Vision Board
Arts and crafts may not be your strong suit (or maybe you just don’t want to dig through magazines) so it’s probably better off to design yourself an online vision board. There are a number of websites which host this capability, or you can design your own website for the task. Either way, an online vision board allows much more versatility than a physical corkboard.
Besides all the extra features the internet provides, an online board essentially functions the same as a physical board. You’ll need to find pictures of your goal, inspirational quotes, and organize them in some way beneath your goal title. For more obscure goals, the internet is definitely better as it will be easier to find pictures than it would be in a magazine, and you don’t have to worry about messy glue or tape.
Additionally, with an online or digital board, you can include links. These links can lead to websites of people who inspire you, or a place which will help push you towards your goal. If your goal is going on an African safari, the online vision board will suit you well, as you can include a link to the airline you want to take, hotel you want to stay at, or company you wish to safari with. Not only that, but you can usually add a digital goal measurement which tells you how close you are to your goal either with your banking App, or as a widget on many social sites.
Once you have designed your digital board you must again put it somewhere where you will see it often. If it’s on a popular app, make sure that app is downloaded to your phone. Or, set an alarm each day reminding you to check your online vision board. No matter what you decide to do, it’sessential not to create your board and then lose it somewhere in the digital realm.
Why Vision Boards?
All of this may seem a little dumb, especially if you aren’t artistically inclined, but it’s all for a purpose. Just as writing down your goals helps improve your chances of achieving them, taking small steps towards accomplishing goals can do wonders for your psyche.
In the case of the African safari example, just looking through links and photos of the safari you want will help you get more emotionally attached to it. It will also help the goal feel much more real. And both of these things help keep you on the path to your goals and will make achieving them seem easier.
Everyone knows communication is critical in numerous aspects of the human experience. This includes when working towards achieving goals and dreams.
Talk To Yourself
This may sound a little crazy but giving yourself a pep talk has been shown to help people overcome fears such as stage fright and keep them on track to attain seemingly unattainable goals.
This tactic works best when you do it at home (somewhere private is advised) and perhaps somewhere where you can see yourself in a mirror. Even if you don’t give yourself a specific talking to regarding your goals, even just telling yourself you will have a good day can help increase your mood tremendously.
If you find talking to yourself to be a bit too weird for you, this step can also be achieved by writing notes for yourself on sticky notes and leaving them around the house. If your goal is to eat healthier, it may even be helpful to leave yourself notes in the fridge reminding you of what you want to eat and what you want to avoid.
Talk To Others
Talking to others is especially important if your goal includes others. If your family goal is to lower your energy consumption (and thus power bill) for the month, you must communicate it to everyone involved. And sometimes this may require a few extra steps to create visuals, or to word the goals in ways everyone will understand.
In the lowering of the power bill example above, it may be good to make a chart for your kids of common ways they can save energy, such as turning off a light or unplugging an appliance when they are done. You could even consider making it a contest for them to keep them motivated and involved. And if the people involved in your goal are adults, it is even more key to make sure your goals are well communicated, because among adults it’s common for people to have different views and see things another way.
Ask for participation in your gathering and listen closely to responses to make sure you are all on the same path towards the same goal.
Even if yours is purely a personal goal, talking to others will still help, as it will keep the goal fresh in your mind. Plus, if you mention it to enough people, it’s likely that the ones who care about you will check in on you, and this will help keep you on track.
There is also a huge difference between thinking something in your mind and expressing that thought to others. Once you’ve expressed a dream, it will become tangible and you’ll start to feel more driven to achieve it. Talking to others about your dream can also help give you another perspective, and perhaps prepare you for challenges you may not have seen coming when you visualized on your own.
Update Your Goals
This step is more critical for the longer-term goals, but you need to remember that you are allowed to change and adjust your goals at any time. Most professionals recommend writing down your goals each morning in a journal, even if they are a long-term goal you are working towards. This way you can tweak it a little bit as you change.
But either way, don’t be afraid to change or update your S.M.A.R.T goals as needed, especially if you’ve talked with yourself and perhaps seen your goal in a new light (or maybe you want to pursue it a bit differently) just make sure no matter what changes you make, that you write them down. Keep yourself updated on your goals.
But remember as you update your goals that you are changing only, not quitting. And if you feel yourself starting to despair or wanting to quit, circle back to look at your vision board and give yourself a pep talk to stay focused.
Spend Time With Like Minded People
Although this is the last step on the list, it is perhaps the most critical, because if you don’t surround yourself with people who love and support you towards your goals, you will quickly find yourself let down and discouraged.
Avoid Negative People
There are numerous people out in the world (and probably in your own life) who are just negative about everything that happens. They just refuse to see the good in life. And it’s difficult to say, but these people will likely just bring you down and try to dissuade you from achieving your dreams even if they don’t mean to do so.
At this point, you will be so emotionally connected to your dreams that this may feel like a personal attack. Either way, handle the situation with grace, and if you can’t seem to change their negative Nancy ways, then begin taking steps to avoid them, spend less time with them, and perhaps consider cutting them out of your life completely.
Find People With Similar Goals
Sometimes a goal or long-term dream of yours may be something completely out of your comfort zone. It also could be something that you feel your parents, or current close friends, may not understand. This is why once you’ve specified your goal, it’s time to find like-minded people and add them to your network.
Not only will they keep you focused, but they may also offer helpful advice to conquer hurdles which they themselves may have already faced. An example is if your dream is to sail around the world in a sailboat you maintain yourself, but you need to learn more about boats, take a boating class or join a sailing group is probably your best bet.
You may make connections there which can help teach you a number of valuable lessons about boat maintenance and travel!
The best way to meet like-minded people is by joining a class or group which shares your passions. You can also look to social websites and join digital groups there. You never know who you may meet or how they may come to help you in the future!
Have A Pep Squad
Do you have that one friend who is always excited for you no matter what your news? Do you always feel amazing after hanging out with them? Chances are this is the type of person you will want to keep close as you work towards achieving your dreams. After you have become emotionally connected, introduce this person to your plans in the communication step listed above.
Then, check in with them regularly with updates on your goal. If you’ve picked the right person, they may even message you asking for updates if they think it’s been to long! And any time you are feeling down, just remember how much this person cares for you and you achieving your goal. They may even give you a pep talk if you give them a call.
Your pep squad doesn’t have to be big, and honestly it may just be one person. Just ensure that the person you choose is just as emotionally invested in your success as you are, and that you always feel positive after you spend time with them. If they start to bring you down, it’s time to remove them from your pep squad and find someone new.
Everyone on this earth has a dream of some sort, but often times, people are never able to achieve said dreams. And this goes back to the simple fact that they aren’t emotionally invested in their own goals.
Becoming emotionally invested is a process, first you need to write S.M.A.R.T goals, then visualize your success, and also create a vision board to keep yourself on track.
Once you’ve gotten this far, you are probably beginning to be emotionally invested in your goals, and you can solidify this by communicating your goals to yourself and others, as well as surrounding yourself with the most supportive people.
No matter what path you take to become emotionally invested in your goals, once you are, you will find that these goals become a part of you and achieving them is now easier than ever.
Rather than just being a simple thought which you can throw away or change at will, suddenly your goals will become beliefs, and the idea of achieving them will be absolutely real. And if you truly feel this emotional connection in your heart, well, achieving these dreams will be right around the corner.