Are your goals only dreams? How do you tell the dreams vs. goals? The main difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal has a set date for achieving the goal. A dream, on the other hand, does not have a specific date for achieving. You can dream about being debt-free. You can dream about building-up or having an emergency fund. You can dream about creating a budget. You can dream about staying on your budget. However, if you have not decided that you want to be debt-free in X number of years, you are only dreaming. The same holds true for funding your emergency fund, creating and sticking to budget.
You have to have a firm date to begin and to end. You need to be proactive in turning your dreams into reality by first turning your dreams into goals. Let’s say that you want to start saving the first $1,000 in your emergency fund. You must decide when you are going to start. Begin by telling yourself, I am going to start saving X number of dollars each paycheck, so that by X date I will have my first $1,000 saved. You your dream has now become a goal. Your goal is to save X number of dollars by a certain date in order have your $1,000.
Without setting realistic and achievable dates, you will never accomplish your goal. For example, if you are $100,000 in debt and you earn $30,000 a year, you cannot say, “By December 31, 2013, I will be debt-free.” That is unrealistic and you will never achieve this goal because you don’t earn enough to pay it. Even if you were able to dedicate all of your paycheck, you would still owe $70,000. Your dreams can be achieved by setting realistic and achievable goals.