I’m interested in something about you. Which statement resonates more?

“I’m someone who loves dreaming, setting goals, and then taking steps to achieve them.”

OR

“I prefer to live each day as it comes, perhaps with some overarching themes or values guiding my life rather than aiming to reach a specific ‘achievement’ or ‘outcome’.”

Truthfully, I believe both approaches are valuable and I’ve personally experienced different seasons where both were driving forces in my life depending on my circumstances at the time.

The main reason I’m asking the questions is because I’ve been pondering the difference between Dreams, Goals, and Priorities. I’m sure there are numerous definitions of these three related, yet different, terms, but since we’re at the beginning of a new year and lots of people are talking about what their vision is for 2022, I thought I’d share my musings on these three topics with you. ☺️

You might already have a plan for your year. If so, great! Whether you do or not, my hope is to provide clarity, not only into how you ‘tick’ as a person, but also in regards to what this season is about for you.

I’ve affectionately called this…

Melissa’s Musings on Dreams, Goals, and Priorities (original, eh?) 😂

DREAMS

  • Begin in the heart (like seeds)
  • Always connected to desire and aren’t easily forgotten (can’t just shake a dream off)
  • Possibly linked to prophetic words I’ve received that planted the seed there
  • Could be desires I’ve had since childhood
  • Point me to my life’s purpose
  • Rarely accomplished by myself as God/other people are needed to bring a dream to pass. (This doesn’t mean the dream has to be shared by others—it’s still my dream—simply that I can’t do it all myself.)
  • Might have ‘impossible’ elements to it that require leaps of faith on my part and God doing what I can’t
  • Often feel vulnerable and (sometimes) hard to say out loud. (Ex: “I want to meet my husband and get married this year.”)
  • Because dreams are vulnerable and come from the heart, there might be pain or disappointments from previous seasons that need to be healed to fully walk it out (Proverbs 13:12)
  • Best shared with people who support and believe in me, especially if the dream feels impossible to the logical mind or especially tender (because it’s such a deep desire)
  • My role in the process: to PREPARE. Treat the dream as not only possible, but true, and trust the things outside of my control will fall into place. My job is to do the things that are within my power and allow God/others to do their part.
  • Requires: focus, self-awareness, commitment to walk by faith (not just sight), and trust that not only is God abundantly good, but that life is happening FOR me, not TO me

GOALS

  • May be driven by desire or necessity
  • Have very specific, measurable outcomes and are often (not always) time sensitive. (Ex: “I want to run my local city marathon on ‘x’ date.”)
  • Great for checklists and step-by-step planning
  • Reverse engineering can help with plotting the path forward
  • May be accomplished on my own if I have great self-discipline; however,
  • Accountability to others GREATLY increases my likelihood of achieving the goal
  • My role in the process: to be CLEAR on the desired result and have an ACTION PLAN What does success looks like? What is the specific outcome I want? What steps will I take to get there? When will I take them? Who will I be accountable to?
  • Requires: focus, a systematic action plan, self-discipline, accountability (to self/others), and a compelling vision of the end goal

PRIORITIES

  • Focus on long term rather than short term results
  • Based on the decision to align my lifestyle with my values
  • Answers the question, “How do I consistently want to be/show up in the world?”
  • Often begins by incorporating simple healthy habits/rituals that can be built upon and will compound over time to produce lasting fruit. (Ex: “I value emotional health so I’m making the choice to invest in weekly counseling for the next year to pursue healing and personal breakthrough.”)
  • Relationships—
    • In the micro: Don’t (necessarily) need other people to build healthy habits
    • In the macro: My relationships make a BIG difference in my longterm success or failure (because the company I keep influences my life)
  • My role in the process: know what values are important to me; commitment; take personal ownership for my life and the things I have control over; take consistent action in the right direction
  • Requires: patience, self-awareness, a healthy relationship with ‘time’, and the commitment to build over years, not months.
  • Results in sustainable growth and produces long-lasting ‘fruit’ in my life; also, my growth often spurs growth in others

In addition to your answer to the questions at the beginning of this post, does one of the above categories stand out to you more than the others?

Could it be an invitation to focus on something specific this year?

If you’re unsure, take a few minutes and ask yourself what you’d like your life to look like in twelve months’ time. Either imagine it or jot down your answers.

Pay attention to where your heart naturally lingers. What’s exciting? Scary to admit? What have you been putting off that you’re ready to stop making excuses about?

Your answers hold keys to your coming season.

Wishing you clarity and vision,

P.S. Would you like some help digging in a little deeper into your dreams, goals, or priorities for the year? One of MY dreams is helping others get crystal clear on their dreams and I offer various coaching packages to help you do just that. Drop me a line if you’re interested and I can send you some info. xx