★ Rich Habit #2: Defining Your Dreams and Setting Goals

Posted December 15, 2016 6:00 am by with 11 comments

rich habits - dream setting

This is part of our Rich Habits series.
Be sure to check out all previous habits we’ve covered.

After researching the stories and backgrounds of the 177 self-made millionaires in my study, I came to admire them. I found it amazing that so many of them were a hairs breath away from financial ruin. They put every dollar they had and leveraged every asset they owned to fund their dream.

How do they do it? How do they survive the near-financial Armageddon and the never ending uncertainty? How do they find the strength to persevere?

Balls of steel? Courage? Unrelenting faith? No, no and no.

What each and every one of the self-made millionaires in my study had was Passion.

The very act of pursuing a dream filled them with passion. Passion is a powerful emotion. It transforms the impossible into the possible. Passion is like the first domino. It sets in motion all of the dormant success traits that reside in each and every one of us:

  • Courage
  • Confidence
  • Curiosity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Focus
  • Motivation
  • Persistence
  • Resilience
  • Work Ethic

Those who pursue their dreams live a life filled with passion. Passion eliminates 100% of the competition. You simply cannot compete with someone who has passion. They will break through seemingly impenetrable walls, climb the highest mountains, and overcome obstacles that stop others in their tracks.

When you pursue a dream you unleash passion. And passion is the secret to becoming rich, successful and happy. This is why it is so important to dream and then act on your dreams.

According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of all activities produce 80% of all results. Stated another way: we waste 80% of our time on activities that are meaningless.

How do you know if you are wasting your time?

Individuals who are focused on activities that produce results are those who have created a blueprint for their ideal lives and are following that blueprint. Successful individuals are those individuals who pursue activities that create a life that is consistent with their blueprint. Most don’t have a blueprint, so most are wasting their time.

The Process of Dreamsetting

How do you create a blueprint for your ideal life? Through a process I call Dreamsetting. You probably never heard of Dreamsetting before. Dreamsetting is the springboard for the realization of your dreams. If you don’t Dreamset, you can never realize your dreams. Dream-Setting is the starting point. It lays the foundation for your ideal, future life.

Dreamsetting involves a three step process:

  1. Defining Your Ideal Life
  2. Identifying Your Dreams
  3. Goalsetting

Step #1 – Defining Your Ideal Life

The first step in the Dreamsetting process is to write out a script of your ideal, future life. Five hundred to one thousand words is all it takes.

Here’s how you create your script. Imagine your life ten years from now. On a peace of paper or in a journal, write down what you would like your ideal life to look like ten years from now. Here are some things I’d like you to focus on:

  • Work: What do you do for a living? Do you like what you do for a living? Where does your work take you? Do you travel in your job? What kind of perks do you have?
  • Money: How much money are you making every year? How much money do you have in the bank? What type of investments do you have your money invested in?
  • Health: Are you healthy in the future? How much do you weigh? Do you exercise? How much do you exercise? Do you exercise every day? What exercises do you do? What does your body look like? Are you muscular? Are you lean? Are you both?
  • Family: Are you married? Do you have a family? How many in your family? How is your ideal future family doing in life?
  • Home: What does your house look like? Describe each room. Describe your back yard, your porch, your garden, etc.
  • Relationships: Do you have a lot of friends? How many? Describe your friends. What are they like? What do they do for a living? Do you know any famous people? Do you know any important people?
  • Toys: What fun toys do you own? Do you own a vacation home? Where is your vacation home located? Is it on a beach? Is it on a lake? Is it in a big city? What kind of car do you drive? Do you own a boat? Do you own a plane?
  • Fun: What do you do for fun? What are your favorite activities in the future? Do you go on vacation? Where do you go on your vacations? What are some of your favorite vacation experiences? What are your hobbies?

The key is to be as descriptive as you can. You want to define every aspect of your ideal, future life. Details are important. Your mind has difficulty with vague things. Details help your subconscious get its neural arms around your perfect life. These details tune your mind into the things you want in your life. They toggle on the Reticular Activating System (RAS) inside your brain.

The RAS is your brain’s sensory filter. Your five senses are always taking in sensory information from your environment. Your RAS filters out 99% of that sensory information to prevent your brain from overloading. It only lets in certain, specific things that you are focused on, enthusiastic about, or that are important to you.

Creating a blueprint via this scripting process directs your RAS to only allow in information that will help attract the specific things you described regarding your ideal, future life.

It will take you one to two hours to create your script. You will find yourself editing your script over the following few days. This is because this scripting exercise turned the imagination centers inside your brain. The Dorsal Visuospatial Network, the prefrontal cortex, the parietal lobe and the occipital lobe all light up, or get turned on, by this scripting exercise.

Step #2 – Identifying Your Dreams

Once your script is complete, you can move on to the next fun step, which is defining each one of your dreams. Dreams represent a vision of some future, ideal state. Inside your script are imbedded each of the dreams that define your ideal, future life. Your job here is to bullet-point each one of those dreams. Example:

  • Future Job
  • Future Annual Income
  • How Much Money You Have
  • Future Weight
  • Future Body
  • Future Family
  • Future Home
  • Future Car
  • Future Relationships
  • Future Toys
  • Future Vacations

Each one of these bullets is a dream. Once you have the list of your dreams, you can move on to the final step of the Dreamsetting Process.

Step#3 – Goalsetting

Dreams are the springboard for goals. Only after you’ve defined your dreams does the Goalsetting process begin. This Goalsetting process requires you to build goals around each one of your dreams. In order to build goals around each dream you need to ask yourself two questions:

Question #1:

What would I need to do, what activities would I need to engage in, in order for each dream to come true?

Question #2:

Can I perform those activities?

If the answer to Question #2 is yes, then those activities represent your goals. Goals are only goals when they involve physical action and you have the knowledge, skills or resources to successfully take action.

For example, if your wish is to make $200,000 a year, what would you need to do in order to make $200,000? What specific activities would you need to engage in during a given year, in order to make $200,000? Make more sales calls? Do more training? Get a specific license in your industry? Expand your product offering? Purchase more rental properties? Invest in more efficient equipment or technology?

Then you must ask yourself if you have the knowledge, skills or resources to do these things. If you do, then each action you must take represents a goal. If you don’t have the ability to act, then you must develop that ability before you can even begin to pursue each individual goal.

Pursuing and then achieving each goal is like a rung on a ladder that you must climb for each dream. Each goal achieved gets you closer and closer to realizing your dream – making $200,000.

Dreamsetting in Summary

  1. Paint a picture with words of your ideal, future life – your script.
  2. Define each dream that must be realized in order to have your ideal, future life – your bullet-point list.
  3. Create specific goals around each one of your dreams.
  4. Take action. Pursue and achieve each of the specific goals that will make each dream come true.

You then repeat this process for every dream on your list. When you realize each one of your dreams, your ideal future life will then become your reality.

Obviously, this process takes time. It may take you ten years to achieve all of the goals behind all of your dreams. But keep in mind this important fact – ten years is going to happen anyway. You might as well spend that time pursuing your dreams.

Tom is a CPA and the author of the best-selling book, "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals." He will be sharing a new habit with us every Thursday as part of our Rich Habits Series, and can be found online at RichHabits.net.

11 responses to ★ Rich Habit #2: Defining Your Dreams and Setting Goals

  1. Xyz from Our Financial Path. December 15th, 2016 at 9:38 am

    This is an amazing way to live your life by. Having clear goals will help, not only make fewer mistakes but actively help you accomplish your dreams.

    Too many people like their life wishing they had X or wishing they were making Y a year without an actual plan.

    Great strategy to achieve your goals!


    • J. Money December 15th, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Agreed!! And I need to be better about it too as I go in spurts and then take breaks off and have to remember to go back to the basics again :)


  2. Tom Corley December 15th, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Too many are taught that a goal is a future desired outcome. That’s a dream, not a goal. A goal is only a goal if it has 2 things: #1 Physical Action and #2 100% Achievability. The reason so many get frustrated with the goal setting process and end up giving up on it is because they are pursuing dreams and not goals. You build your goals around each dream. When you achieve all of the goals behind a dream, you will realize that dream


  3. Mrs. Picky Pincher December 15th, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Agreed! How do you know you’ve achieved a goal if you … don’t create one? It’s very hard to achieve financial independence without creating a roadmap for yourself. I gotta say, I’m super thankful that we crunched a lot of numbers and worked together while making our financial independence roadmap. Things have obviously come up and changed along the way, but our vision just gets clearer every day. :)


  4. CoupleofCents December 15th, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Very timely post. I just started writing my goals for 2017 and crafting a “mission statement” for myself. Kind of what is my purpose. At 31 years old and becoming a father just last month, I feel like I really want to live my life with purpose. Gotta find some time to do the dream setting process.


    • Tom Corley December 15th, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      One of the exercises I recommend is writing a script of your ideal, future life. 500 – 1,000 words is all you need. In that script, you pretend it’s 10 years from now and you are journaling what your life is like. It’s a fun exercise and engages the creative parts of your brain.


  5. Go Finance Yourself! December 15th, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Great post! This is one of my goals for 2017. Become better at setting a plan to reach my goals (yes, my goal is to be better at realizing my goals). Too often, I set goals but don’t set a specific plan for achieving it. Being as specific as possible in what you want and how you will achieve it is some of the best advice I can think of. Now it’s time to put it in action!


  6. Ten Factorial Rocks (TFR) December 16th, 2016 at 12:24 am

    Good post. However, the challenge is to retain this passion after your targets are achieved. Finding new passions after the main one is fulfilled is key – I started my website as a way to kindle a new passion of sharing with others. Passion also comes with some social disadvantages, as you will not find the interest to do other things society expects you to do to be seen as “normal”. To have passion and pursue it till the goals are achieved, you will not blend with the rest, almost by design. You have to risk being perceived as aloof and a loner at times.


    • TOM CORLEY December 16th, 2016 at 6:53 am

      That’s why creating a script of your ideal life is so important. Embedded within that script are your dreams. Each dream requires the pursuit and achievement of goals. Once you realize one dream, you can move on to the next dream. It’s like climbing a ladder. Each dream = a rung on the ladder.


  7. Stephen December 26th, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Great advice. It’s laid out very well. You definitely need well defined and quantifiable goals set for yourself. Thanks!


    • TOM CORLEY December 26th, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Tks Stephen for your kind words.


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