A Goal is a DREAM with a Deadline

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“A goal is a DREAM with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

Everyone’s goal is to stop dreaming and start doing, yet we all know so well the countless obstacles that bar the way. Setting goals can be a constructive practice that adds to one’s happiness but if we want to make things happen, some things have to change and one of them is how we state our goals.

A study by Melanie Rudd, Jennifer Aaker, and Michael North distinguished the difference between concrete and abstract goals. In one experiment, they asked participants to try to make someone smile or try to make someone happier. The former gives concrete instruction while the latter is abstract. Intriguingly, results show that people did better and felt happier pursuing the concrete goals!

One grave mistake we make in setting goals is the lack of concreteness, making them seem unattainable. By simply breaking them into sections and stating our goals as specific as possible, we can have a better chance of achieving them. Unfortunately, we tend to underestimate the value of concrete targets, thinking that dreaming of travelling the world is already enough. Make it concrete instead by listing the places you want to see and determine which country to visit first. This way, you can focus on one place, and then another, until you have circled the globe!

To quote world-acclaimed novelist Paulo Coelho: “Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”


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