Dreams tend to be unfocused and non-specific. To turn a dream into a goal, clients need to decide on two things - how much, and by when!

For instance, Heather's dream is to be slim, healthy and happy with her appearance. Her goals are specific, and include: to weigh 185 pounds by 6 p.m. on Tuesday 16 May 2006.

Here is another example:

The Dream - to live in a beautiful house in the country with a big garden and a stream.

The Goal - to own a house with five bedrooms and a garden of at least 1 acre and a stream running through it, looking out over rolling countryside, within 2 hours commute from London, by 5 p.m. on 1st April 2008.

A dream is a goal without legs. It is a wonderful thing to have, can be the guiding passion of your life, but unless you clarify it and give it the legs to move toward you, getting there is going to be very much a matter of luck.

To transform a dream into a reachable goal you must clarify it, provide the details, make it so clear that you can see it, feel it, know what you will feel like when you get there. This works for you in many ways.

Diana Robinson, Turning Dreams into Goals.

When you have decided on your goals, the next stage is to clarify them and make them specific. In order to do this write specifications for each goal as if writing out a detailed work order. This should include every possible detail.

For example, if you want a certain house, write down its specifics in vivid, colourful detail - the location, the size and appearance of the garden and surrounding area, the interior - furniture, artwork, sound system, floor plan, etc. If you can find a picture of the house you are looking for, or the interiors you want, cut these out and put them with your description. They will make your visualisations even more intense and effective.

You also need to set a date by which you wish to achieve each goal. This is an essential step - a message to the subconscious mind telling it what it needs to work on and when it needs to happen.

Write down big goals that will stretch you, as well as goals that you can achieve in the short term. It is important to have some goals that require us to grow in order to achieve them - perhaps to learn new skills or build new relationships. You may feel uncomfortable with big goals because they are so far outside your comfort zone, but this is an important challenge that will help you to achieve your full potential.

breakthrough goals

Most goals are quite small (even though they may be significant to you at the time) but breakthrough goals are massive because they represent a quantum leap in your life. For example, for a struggling author who has never seen her work in print, a breakthrough goal will be to see her name in a by-line for the first time.

Breakthrough goals are life-changing, they get you in front of the right people, and take you to a higher level.

Another name for breakthrough goals is HUGGS (Huge, Unbelievably Great Goals). HUGGs have the following features:

  • They are long-term.
  • They are clear, compelling and easy to grasp.
  • They connect with your identity and core values.
  • You feel strongly about them. They engage your emotions - you feel good when you think about them.
  • When you first set them, they seem impossible. As time goes on, they start to manifest more and more.
  • They do not involve you sacrificing the present moment for a possible future.

HUGGs can be used to shape your life, because they are long term and aligned with your core values. HUGGs often have an 'away from' element. If you do not achieve them, it hurts. This makes them more motivating. They often have an edge to them too, like a dead-line or set of conditions.

The most powerful HUGGs often involve you in removing elements from your life. Sometimes the biggest leverage comes not from doing things to achieve them, but from stopping doing things that are in your way.

Examples of HUGGs include:

  • establishing a successful business
  • becoming a recognised artist
  • winning a gold medal at the Olympics
  • becoming a millionaire
  • overcoming a major illness.

Each of us will be able to define our own HUGGs. They do not need to seem big and significant to the world at large, the important thing is how they seem to us.

Author's Bio: 

Director of Studies, Learning Curve


An accredited learning provider and one of the UK's leading distance learning companies.