Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dreams vs Goals

I've been thinking about the difference between a dream and a goal. In my mind a dream is something that doesn't have to be achievable or have a timeline. Whereas a goal is measurable, realistic, has a timeline and steps to be taken in order to reach that goal. Perhaps that's why I like dreams better! :-)

BUT, goals are the steps that take us toward our dreams.

One of the dreams I mentioned yesterday was the desire to take our children on a 3 month caravanning tour around Queensland and New South Wales. Like most dreams, the only way this dream can become a reality is if I start to set myself goals that move us toward that dream.

A number of years ago we came across a wonderful couple that had done exactly that. Taken the kids out of school for a term and travelled. They gave us some advice which changed our dream from a "pipe dream" (one we weren't sure we'd ever actually realise) to more of a goal. They suggested that we make up our minds that we're going to do it and not let anything stand in our way.

There is something that is quite invincible about a human mind once it is made up. I only have to watch my children on a daily basis to be reminded of that fact. LOL. You sure have to be one tough cookie to raise children. :-)

I'm so thankful to these friends. Up until that point I'm not sure DH was convinced that we would ever do our dream trip. He liked the idea of the trip, he just wasn't sure he could turn the idea into a reality. After that conversation with our friends, we decided that we were going to make it a reality. Even if it took doing it in our camper trailer on a shoestring budget - we were going to MAKE it happen.

That reminds me of a conversation I heard DH having with a teenage lad that was boarding with us when our first child was very young. He was doing the agriculture course that is offered during year 11 and 12 at our local school. This young lad was interested in becoming a farmer (although he had been raised in the city) but he also wanted to be a millionaire. DH was basically telling him that if he wanted something badly enough - he could achieve it. BUT that he may have to choose which he wanted MORE - to be a farmer OR be a millionaire. While there are plenty of farmers whose net worth is higher than a million dollars, they tend to be those who have gotten into farming with some kind of help. The reality of farming is that it's getting virtually impossible to start with nothing and build yourself a successful farming enterprise.

I think that this is a motto that DH and I have tended to live by. We can have ANYTHING if we really want it badly enough. But we can't have EVERYTHING. There's a big difference between those 2 words. Very few people build themselves an empire without a LOT of time and effort invested in that empire. It may come down to a choice of what you want MORE - more money OR more time.

Anyway, back to our dream trip.

Step 1 - have the dream
Step 2 - decide we ARE going to chase that dream
Step 3 - work out what steps are necessary in order to see the dream become a reality
Step 4 - take those steps, one at a time
Step 5 - see the dream become a reality

Well, some dreams are easier than others to work out what steps need to be taken in order to see them come to reality. Some dreams are out of our control to an extent (like my wanting to have grandchildren for instance - although there are probably plenty of children out there who would love an "adopted" grandmother). But they work for THIS dream.

So, what are our steps in order to see our dream of travelling with our children become a reality?

There are a number of things that need to happen:

1. Decide on a timeline. We wanted all our children to be old enough to remember the trip (school age) but go before our eldest reached the final year of primary school. So we've decided on Term 3 of 2009 (which I might add seemed quite a long way off when we first decided on that date but is approaching rapidly).

2. Purchase a caravan. Fortunately with already owning a camper trailer, this step isn't a necessity in order to see our dream come true. But it would make life on the road a LOT easier than having to set up and pack up the camper trailer each time we move locations.

Of course, there are smaller stages within this step as well. We need to consider whether we'll buy new vs second hand and what size, style, make, model etc etc etc. We've managed to narrow things down to around 2-3 options so far. We will buy second hand if the right opportunity comes along but are prepared to purchase new as second hand in what we want are very hard to come by and caravans seem to hold their value well. We also need to work out finance before we can buy. Our preferred timeline for ordering our caravan is early next year so that we have time to do a smaller trip with it before the big trip.

3. Save up finance for the trip. We've started this process and 2008 that will be our main financial focus (saving for the trip).

4. Work out how we're going to manage the farm while we're away. If DH had a *real* job (lol - I often tease him that he needs to get a real job) then we'd use his long-service leave. Since he doesn't, we need to work out exactly how this is going to work. DH has a few ideas and hasn't settled on a specific one yet.

5. Work out the kids schooling. Our preference is to work *with* their current teachers if possible but we will pull them out of the school if that is our only option. We haven't discussed this with the school yet as our senior staff seem to change frequently and there isn't much point in going through it with one, only to have to go through it again. I expect that we'll do that this time next year. We are travelling with another family who have children of similar ages.

Of course, then there is all the fun stuff like working out what we want to take with us (and what will fit in the caravan), where we want to go (some of which we plan to decide as we go).

Ooh, I'm getting all excited just talking about it! :-)

So there you have it. From a dream to goal setting to seeing the dream come true. Hopefully you'll all still be around to watch our dream become a reality!


Ali said...

your post yesterday got me thinking too about dreams and goals and the differences!! The dreams I wrote down on your last posts are our goals :)

lightening said...

I think they can overlap and sometimes they're interchangable. The biggest thing I find with goals is it's important to have some kind of timeline (even if it's a broad one).

Lib said...

THanks for visiting me,come back anytime.
The sky is your limit,you can do anything you set your mind to do.
Have a Great Day!!!!
Blessings, Lib

Anonymous said...

What a great dream! My DH and I, together with our two DD went caravanning for 3 months on his long service leave. It is certainly a holiday we will NEVER forget! It is beautiful over in the East and we had a great time (pity we have to drive over the Nullabor to get there or we would do it more often!!)
Madly Saving

lightening said...

Hi lib - thanks for dropping by.

Madly Saving - are you sure we aren't twins that were separated at birth? :-) We seem to have a LOT in common. Your trip sounds great!

Lisa said...

Sounds like a fantastic idea - we had many family holidays with my parents in their kombi van. I'd love to be able to do a few shorter holidays with my children. I might have to add it to my list of goals instead of dreams!

Michelle said...

We did just this waaay back in 1987. Our girls were 7 & 9 and our son was 10 weeks old! I wouldn't recommend travelling with a baby that young but we had planned our trip before we found out I was pregnant and knew that if we didn't follow through on our plan then our trip may never happen.
We packed our van and left Vic heading north for sunny Qld. We roamed around for 3 months, had a blast and decided to stay. Been living in Qld ever since.LOL All I can say is 'just do it' ;)

lightening said...

Thanks for the encouragement Michelle. :-) I'd imagine doing it with a baby would have had its challenges!

I think the "boys" might have a problem if we wanted to stay in Qld as they're very attached to their farms! :-) I've never been to Qld so who knows....