My Annual Dream-Goal Routine


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Every year, on January 1st, I perform an annual exercise that has helped me to stay on task with my Dreams and my Goals.

The first thing I do is review my prior year Consolidation Journal. My Consolidation Journal is a binder I maintain and update during the year. Every month I transfer my Current Month Journal Notes, which I carry around with me in a separate smaller binder, into this Consolidation Journal.

During this annual exercise, I take out my highlighter and highlight all of the important events I have listed in my Consolidation Journal. I then take out a sheet of paper and transfer the major events that happened during the year to that sheet of paper, and call it my Annual Summary Page. It usually takes up two sides of one page.

Using the Annual Summary Page to stimulate my thinking, I next create something I call my Dream-Goal List.

On my Dream-Goal List, I list everything I want to happen in the upcoming year. My list usually runs about one side of one page. On average, there are probably twenty items listed on my Dream-Goal List.

I keep this list with me, wherever I go. Typically, I keep three copies: one in my car (to see during my commute to work), one in my basement office (first thing I see every morning at 4:45 am) and one on the wall next to my computer in my business office.

Once I have my Dream-Goal List completed, I then go through each item on the list and put a big “D” or “G” next to the item. “D” stands for Dream and “G” represents a Goal.

Each year, there are about four items on my list that represent Goals.

I’ve found that it is important to separate the Dreams from the Goals.

Dreams are wishes or things that are outside my control, meaning I cannot control their outcome. Selling 1 million books in China, for example, is a dream because, despite my best efforts, I cannot make 1 million people in China buy my books.

Goals are things that I have 100% control over. Writing a Tip of the Morning to Ya post every morning is a goal. I can control that because all it requires is taking action.

By seeing the Dreams as something outside my control, it makes the Goals on my list all that more meaningful. It forces me to recognize that, although I can’t control the outcome of my Dreams, I can control the realization of my Goals, simply by taking action. So, this exercise empowers me to take action on those things I have 100% control over – my Goals.

My thinking, when I review my Dream-Goal List, goes something like this:

I know I can’t control the outcome of my Dreams, but I can control the outcome of my Goals. So, it’s simple really. All I need to do is take action on the things I can control, my Goals, and not worry about what I can’t control – the outcome of my Dreams.

I then take my Annual Summary Page for the year that just ended and compare it to my prior year Dream-Goal List, which I created at the beginning of the year that just ended. I mark off how many Dreams came true and how many Goals I achieved.

This annual accountability exercise drags me down and lifts me up at the same time.

It drags me down because, just about every year, most of the Dreams on my prior year list did not come true and about 25% of the Goals I set in the previous year, I failed to achieve.

But this annual accountability exercise also lifts me up because there are always out of the blue good things that happened, things which were not even on my radar when I initially created my Dream-Goal List. But, I realize now that those things happened because my Dream-Goal List stimulated me to take action and that action produced the out of the blue unexpected good luck.

You can call my annual Dream-Goal routine a motivational tool. You can call it an accountability strategy. I really don’t care what you call it. All I know is it works. It empowers me to take action. And anything that stimulates you to take action, is good. Especially if you are pursuing a dreams and goals in an effort to create the life, dreams are made of.

Overview of My Annual Dream-Goal Routine:

  1. Maintain Current Month Journal Notes
  2. Transfer Monthly Journal Notes to Consolidation Journal Binder
  3. At the End of the Year – Highlight Major Events in Consolidation Journal Binder
  4. Create Annual Summary of Those Major Events On One Page
  5. Compare Annual Summary Page of the Year That Just Ended to the Dream-Goal List I Created At the Beginning of That Prior Year
  6. Identify Which Dreams Came True and Which Goals I Achieved
  7. Create a New Dream-Goal List For the Upcoming Year
  8. Mark “D” for Dreams and “G” for Goals On The Upcoming Year’s Dream-Goal List
  9. Keep My Upcoming Year’s Dream-Goal List With Me Wherever I Go

You don’t need to follow my Dream-Goal Routine to succeed. Everyone is wired differently. What works for me, might not work for you. But, if you are pursing dreams and goals, you will need a process that works for you – one which forces you to take action on your dreams and goals.

Success is a process.

Habits keep that process going.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. What do you keep in your current month journal notes?

    • Great question. Here’s what I include:
      #1 Client/Other Phone Communications & Meetings
      #2 Notes About What’s Going On In My Life
      #3 Random Thoughts
      #4 Status Updates Re: Projects/Initiatives
      #5 How I’m Feeling At the Moment
      #6 Venting

  2. Thanks very much for your Dreams/Goals Routine! Although I keep many lists and ideas in my phone I also find that it is so helpful to write things down – ideas, goals, dreams – on paper and revisit them often. You are much more methodical than I am – but I will give it a try in my own way. One thing I always do is to date the paper – even whether it is am or pm – this when looking back gives me more insight into which time of the day I am more creative. Thanks so much – love reading you thru out the week, Kate Decorative Greetings

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