Wishes v Goals
It is important to develop the ability to clearly distinguish between wishes and goals. Realistic objectives can be achieved regardless of how difficult they are or appear to be. Unrealistic objectives on the other hand can never be achieved.
The degree of difficulty of a particular task does not determine whether or not it can be achieved. What does determines whether or not a task or objective can be achieved is control. The ability to control the variables that affect the outcome.
What are wishes?
Merriam-Webster defines wish as to have a desire for (as something unattainable).
Wishes are objectives based on variables that you DO NOT control. For example, I wish that I could live forever. I have no control over death, in fact death is one constant in life, so it’s only a wish, it cannot be a goal.
Wishes are harmless but problems arise when we remain in wish mode, or treat wishes like goals. Often wishes are impulsive and not connected to our values and overall purpose.
Wishes are based on variables that you DO NOT control.
Dreams v Wishes
Dreams are different from wishes. Dreams often are the catalyst to our ultimate goals and are connected to your mission. The big picture usually comes from a dream. Michael Phelps, Bill Gates, Zig Ziglar and Donald Trump all had dreams, which were converted into goals and then achieved success through the goal setting process. Dreams can inspire action. Wishes on the other hand are often mere whims or wants.
Converting a dream to a goal is simple enough. Goals are based upon variables that you DO control. For example, I will lose 10 pounds in the next 60 days. I have control over my actions and that is the key variable in this statement. If I limit my caloric intake and increase my activities to burn more calories, then I have the ability to achieve this goal. All the variables are in my CONTROL. This is an achievable goal. Not a mere wish and not a even a dream.
If you have an idea that you intend to develop, then that’s most likely a dream. If you have a specific plan as to how you will achieve that idea, it now becomes a goal. Control is the key. Ensure that you identify the relevant variables and determine whether they are in your control.
Realize you will never have complete control over everything. Taking action over the critical variables that are in your control is what we are talking about here.
Even if other people don’t see or understand how something will be achieved, as long as YOU can map out the process and understand clearly how it will be achieved, that’s all that matters.
Simple things like creating new habits, vacations or learning new languages can be wishes if there is NO ACTION PLAN completed and followed. If you come home from work everyday, drop your bags and say I wish I could go on a vacation, there’s no action plan. If you save $150 a week, then it becomes a goal and you’ll have $10, 400 for a vacation after two years.
Remember that control is the key. Set goals and map out action plans which will enable you to achieve them by influencing the variables which you control.