The Importance of Dreams
One great habit of many athletes is the drive to create a list of ambitious goals for the upcoming season(s). Having specific targets makes the work of strategic planning to get to daily and weekly actions much easier.
One request I have for you at least once per year is to also consider your higher-level dreams as part of the goal setting process. Your dreams, also known as your identity, whys, or purpose, are often not as concrete as goals, but they are just as important, and deserve an equal place in your planning.
While goals are one-time projects to be completed, dreams are enduring, and taking some time to clarify them will make your goal setting and achieving much more fulfilling.
Dreams Are Often More Powerful Than Goals
Let’s say you have a goal to run a first marathon this upcoming year. The dreams behind that goal might be to:
- be, or get “healthy”
- have adventures to look forward to
- fit into that pair of jeans or dress
- have a regular physical practice in order to be able to move, think, unwind and sleep great at the end of the day
- fulfill your identity as an athlete
- social connection and camaraderie by belonging to a club or group training program
All of these examples are perfectly valid dreams to have and they are likely much more important to you and are more powerful drivers of your daily actions than the marathon goal. In fact, you can also probably name 10 other goals which would also fulfill those same dreams and not involve a marathon at all.
This year, the marathon goal may be a perfect fit for you, and next year a goal may be to run the same marathon 30 minutes faster, or it may be to learn how to swim one or more strokes well, or hike hut-to-hut across the Alps.
The beauty is that the choice is yours, but be aware of not only the difference between dreams and goals but also the connection and dependencies between them.
Linking Dreams and Goals–The Canvas
I have created the template below (free download here) which allows you to capture both dreams and goals on a single page.
Working top-down, you can start with your dreams and identify goals which excite you to accomplish, and if you have already started your season planning by creating goals, that you check that the time and energy you will spend on the achievement connects to your higher-level dreams.