Dreams become reality only when they’re put into action.

You have dreams and ambitions. Maybe it’s quitting that soul-sucking 9-to-4:59 routine and pursuing your dream job. Maybe it’s writing that novel, starting a movement, creating a mastermind group to tackle a social justice issue, or inspiring change in others. There’s a cause burning inside of you, but it will stay only a smoldering possibility without a plan of action.

Put deadlines on your dreams - writetojoncook Jon Cook

I knew I wanted to pursue writing full-time for three years before making the leap. And yet, it wasn’t until I put specific details and deadlines on my dreams that they became my new reality. Author Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” A dream is only a hope, but a goal is a dream with an action plan.

Putting deadlines on your dreams is the best way to realize them. You need practical steps to achieve your dreams, the very definition of a goal.

How to turn your dreams into goals

The best way to set goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Take your dreams and turn them into S.M.A.R.T. goals.

For example, let’s say you wanted to start your own custom cabinetry business. You can’t just say, “Goal 1: Start work tomorrow as a custom cabinet maker.” There’s nothing S.M.A.R.T. about that, just a dream with a leap into the unknown. Where will you work? Who will be your customers? Where and how will you get your supplies? How will you market your business?

One of the first S.M.A.R.T. goals for launching a custom cabinetry business might be, “Research and contract with the top three wholesale cabinet material manufacturers in my state by the end of the week.”  It fits all five elements of S.M.A.R.T. goals and puts a deadline on your dreams.

Put deadlines on your dreams

Now, sometimes deadlines need to be extended because life just happens. At the same time, I’ve often found that deadlines light the right fire at the right time to inspire me towards the desired action.

Deadlines can be intimidating because they make you sweat the details. Deadlines keep you up at night. They can hijack your mind for weeks on end. And they’re also responsible for some of life’s greatest achievements.

It’s time to put some details to your dreams. You’ve waited long enough. You’re all out of excuses. You can do something extraordinary if you put an action plan to your hopes and aspirations today. It’s time to give your dreams their marching orders.

What are you doing today to put your dreams into practice? Share your story through the Comments below. I’d love to hear from you!