Goals Are Dreams With Deadlines Essay

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"A goal is a dream with a deadline” means that a goal is a dream fitted to reality, with a deadline for its accomplishment. The saying has been attributed to Napoleon Hill (1883-1970), author of the bestselling book Think and Grow Rich (1937), but there is no documentary evidence of the saying to be found in his books.

“A goal is a dream spelled out” is from 1976, “a goal is a dream taken seriously” is from 1981, “ a goal is a dream with muscle added” is from 1983, “a goal is a dream clad in work clothes” is from 1985, “a goal is a dream with a timetable” is from 1988, and “a goal is a dream with a commitment” is from 1991. Business author Harvey Mackay wrote in his bestselling book, Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive (1988):

“One of my good friends gave me her definition of a goal, and it’s the best one I’ve ever heard. ‘A goal is a dream with a deadline.’”

Mackay has popularized the saying, but the origin is unknown. The time management author Diana Scharf-Hunt is frequently credited (since the 1990s) with “Goals are dreams with deadlines;” she possibly said this in 1988, but there’s no documented evidence that she said it any earlier.

Wikiquote: Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill (26 October 1883 – 8 November 1970) was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature.

A goal is a dream with a deadline.
. As quoted in Diamond Power: Gems of Wisdom from America’s Greatest Marketer (2003) by Barry Farber, p. 60

Google Books
Fifty Plus:
How recycling your potential now can mean a joyous and fulfilled tomorrow

By Jeanette W. Lockerbie
Old Tappan, NJ: Revell
Pg. 97:
A goal is a dream spelled out.
In our younger years other people establish our goals. Sometimes it is not until we are fifty plus that we find we can activate a dream and turn it into a goal.

OCLC WorldCat record
A goal is a dream taken seriously : trainer guide
Author: Walter P Hopkins; Organization Design and Development, Inc.
Publisher: King of Prussia, PA. : Organization Design and Development, Inc., 1986, ©1981.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Google Books
Believing in America
By Bud Shuster
New York, NY: Berkley Books
1984, ©1983
Pg. 240:
He learned that a dream is a goal you give your heart to, that a goal is a dream with muscle added.

9 February 1985, Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA), “Sen. Soaper Says” by Doug Larson, pg. 6, col. 6:
A goal is a dream clad in work clothes.

Google Books
The Inventurers:
Excursions in life and career renewal (3rd edition)

By Janet Hagberg and Richard Leider
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley
Pg. 118:
A goal is a dream with a timetable. Goals need to be clear, concrete, and written down. They need action steps and target dates that provide constant reinforcement and a sense of accomplishment that sustains your motivation.

Google Books
Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive:
Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, & Outnegotiate Your Competition

By Harvey Mackay
New York, NY: Morrow
Pg. 65:
One of my good friends gave me her definition of a goal, and it’s the best one I’ve ever heard. “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

26 June 1988, Marietta (GA) Journal, “New business book really is readable” by Virginia Meldrum, pg. 4E, col. 3:
Mackay shrinks a commencement speaker’s discussion of goals into one pithy sentence: “A goal is a dream within a deadline.”
(Business author Harvey Mackay—ed.)

17 September 1991, The Gazette-News (Baldur, Manitoba), “Home Ec. News” by Marlene Baskerville, pg. 13, col. 2:
A Goal is a Dream with a Commitment.

OCLC WorldCat record
A goal is a dream with a deadline : extraordinary wisdom for entrepreneurs, managers, & other smart people
Author: Leo B Helzel
Publisher: New York [u.a.] : McGraw Hill, 1995.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Google Books
Quotable Quotes
By Editors of Reader’s Digest
Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest
Pg. ?:
Goals are dreams with deadlines.—DIANA SCHARF HUNT

Kansas City Business Journal (MO)
Here’s how to hit your deadlines before they hit you
by Harvey Mackay, Contributing Writer
Date: Friday, May 4, 2012, 5:00am CDT
One of my favorite sayings is, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” That statement has three parts: (1) the goal, which is what I want to achieve; (2) the dream, which is what I think I can do; and (3) the deadline, which means I will accomplish what I set out to do.

In whatever you do you must set a deadline just like if you wanted to attain your goal (there must be set goal) or else failure is the result. A set goal will give you more accomplishments in life.

Have you ever really declared your dream? What do you really stand for in life? What is most important to you? If you could create your life any way you wanted, what would it look like?

I heard a quote recently that I liked – it was that a goal is a dream with a deadline (I think it was Napoleon Hill who said that). I love it. I think sometimes dreams by definition seem a bit out there in the realm of impossibility. As if something can be a dream or a reality but not both. And yet, our purpose in life is to fulfill our dreams, right? Otherwise what are we doing here?

I like the notion that goals can help bring our dreams to life by breaking them down into manageable parts, and by creating an actual plan. It’s clear based on research that people who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them.

I’ve typically been one to write down my goals and I can vouch for the power of it. My friend Kim and I sit down together over Christmas/ New Year and review the past year’s goals and set new ones for the upcoming year. I have goals for physical health, finances, business, spiritual life, etc. I think it’s important to have goals for various aspects of life, not just business/ financial goals.

I also think it’s helpful to keep going back and dreaming, then connecting those dreams to our life by the process of setting goals.

My dream is to live a life of freedom, influence and inspiration. Freedom to me means not only financial freedom, the freedom that comes from having great health, and also freedom to travel extensively and even live abroad. Influence and inspiration represent to me the ability to teach, share, inspire and support – in the realm of health, natural living and parenting. This also applies to my private practice where I am constantly supporting, inspiring and guiding people towards better health. This blog for me fits all of those things – I can write from anywhere, and my purpose in writing this blog is to educate and inspire.

There are still many goals that I have that will move me closer to the life of freedom that I’m committed to. I write as many of them down as possible, as I know that that commitment sets something into play that brings me closer to fulfilling them.

Dreams are attainable, and goals are the way to get there. Everything must be broken down into manageable parts or often it won’t happen. I outline annual goals, but then also goals for this month, and also goals for each day. Sometimes that “goals” list looks more like a “to do” list, but that’s the way it works for me. It’s the little “to do’s”, or tasks, that if well selected, bring us towards our goals. Our goals then move us towards our dreams.

I think having dreams and the process of dreaming are great things. They allow creativity to flow and limitless ideas to bubble up. But dreaming without action is just that – dreaming. I believe setting goals is the bridge between coming up with your dreams, and moving them to fruition. And the mundane tasks that you choose to do, or not do, every single day is the actual vehicle, as small and insignificant as they seem at the time.

The end of the year is just around the corner, and coming into the New Year is a great time to set goals for the year ahead. But goal setting can be done at any time.

Remember, goals are dreams with a deadline. So let’s make it happen and we can be in the statistics of those who actually live the life they dream of.


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