I took my road bike out for my first ride of the year today, cycling just over seven miles. Since it was my first ride, it was surprisingly exhausting. I was lucky to make it that far and it hurt. That happens because I haven’t cycled in about four months; getting back into it will take time and patience. My goal is to log a few hundred miles rides, called “centuries”, before the year is out. My dream isn’t to become a great bicyclist. My dream is just to be a good cyclist… and even that’s going to take some time.
But thinking about this goal and this dream this morning as I was stomping on the pedals for all I was worth and trying to squeeze just a little bit more speed out of my cold, out-of-shape body reminded me about how I had meant to write about this very subject. Goals are a great thing to have, but how do they help us move closer toward achieving our dreams?
I’m the kind of person who has a lot of dreams. I dream about being a famous writer – sometimes I even dream of being able to pay my bills with it. I dream about running in a marathon one day, maybe a 10k… maybe a 5k… maybe a 1k. I dream about taking my bike up the California coast, like I’ve heard other people do.
But all of those dreams are very different things from goals.
Goals are guideposts. They are markers. You can have plans that help you get to goals but goals are rarely the world to us. Goals are not what define us.
Now, dreams? Dreams are the big deal. Very often, they are so big that people just can’t believe them. Some of my family look at what I’ve done with my writing career and tell me they’re impressed and I think, “This is nothing compared to my dream.”
Dreams make our hearts sing. Goals just tell us where we are.
… and yet, perhaps they’re not so different in one way.
When I was out on my bike today, struggling for just a measly seven miles, it did feel silly in a way. I mean, I’ve gone cycling over a hundred miles many times in the past. I know there’s more to cycling than a meager seven miles. And yet, being out there on that bike reminded me that I was on my way. Sure, seven miles today is nothing but I’ll never get up to a century without that first step.
And when it comes to my dream of being a writer, I never tell my family what I’m thinking because listening to them tell me how proud they are – and, in truth, mostly it’s my mom – is part of what this is all about. I like having people look at me and see me as a writer, no longer the guy who wants to be a writer one day or the guy who says he’s going to be a writer but an actual, real writer. That’s part of what the dream has always been about.
And, as more people look at me that way, more people will buy my books and read my pieces, listen to my podcasts and download my audiobooks – that’s how it happens.
Goals are just guideposts. They should never be mistaken for dreams in themselves. But you should never forget just how important they are in making your dream real, a little bit closer, and a part of your life.
About the Author
Ken La Salle is an author and playwright out of Anaheim, California. His passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. You can find his books on Amazon and Smashwords and all major etailers. His philosophical memoir, Climbing Maya, is available in ebook and paperback. His audio book, The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers, is available on iTunes, Audible, and all major etailers. You can follow Ken’s writing career on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.