If you reach for the stars, does that just mean that you have much farther to fall? If all of your hopes are merely pipe dreams, it is important to set healthier goals - but how can you keep from getting your hopes up too much when the prospects are so enticing?
Should All Dreams Come True?
The interesting thing about dreams, both literal and figurative, is that they often aren't supposed to be acted on. For example, if you win the lottery in a dream, it doesn't mean that you necessarily should run out and buy a ticket. Perhaps it just means that you're about to get a nice surprise, thus metaphorically showing you that you've hit the jackpot!
When you set your sights on a dream goal, make sure you remain flexible for how it's really going to be brought to life (if at all) and what it might realistically look like in the end.
Setting Smart Goals
The first step to take to avoid chasing a dream that will end in disappointment is to set smart goals. It doesn't help to think all day about the perfect career that's out of reach, or house on the beach if you have no idea how you're going to go about getting there!
One good approach is to set "S.M.A.R.T." goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. That means that there's something that you personally can do. You can see your progress towards that goal, and it is something you know you can accomplish. It's not something that is going to make your loved ones worry, and it is something for which you can set a deadline.
Don't Just Sit There!
The second step is to not wait for your ship to come in. Deadlines are important because you can't just wait around and hope your goal will come true without working toward it.
"Dream boards" use the law of attraction to bring your visions into realities. However, it doesn't matter how many pictures and hopes you paste up on your dream board if you aren't working toward your goal and looking for opportunities.
This point is illustrated by the Christian parable of the man who prayed to God to rescue him from a flood. When a swimmer, boat, and even a helicopter came to rescue him, he turned them all down, insisting that God would come to aid him. After he drowned, God chided him, pointing out the swimmer, boat, and helicopter that he sent to his aid!
Even if your eventual dream is seemingly impossible, such living in a mansion in paradise, you can take one small step toward it tonight, even if that means putting a few pennies in a jar to save toward it or checking real-estate prices in your dream location.
Keep Dreaming, Keeping Rethinking
The final step to avoid a wild goose chase kind of dream is to reflect along the way and reevaluate your goals. If it has been too long since you've taken steps to realize your dream, your goal probably wasn't very timely. In fact, you may not have been specific enough.
If you're going nowhere fast, get more reasonable by setting smaller goals that you actually can achieve. It may be that you need to re-imagine your original plan in a different way. A change in perspective may be all that is needed to keep your optimistic streak going.
While it is important to reach for the stars, you may need to build a little bit of scaffolding before you get there. Don't just dismiss your dreams because they are unreasonable, but look for the tiny nugget of truth and hope within them. Strive toward this ideal, and keep the momentum by celebrating each tiny success!