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In a past article on how pitchers can maximize their off-season workouts, I talked about the importance setting goals. Today’s article is all about the importance of dreaming BIG to create powerful, motivating goals to keep you working hard no matter what life throws at you.

In college (many years ago now) I had a poster up in my room that read “A Goal is a Dream with a Deadline” (I think it’s a Napoleon Hill quote). It was actually an image of a basketball going through a hoop, so not the typical poster you would expect for a kid on baseball scholarship (I just did a Google search for the image but couldn’t find it).

[h5]Key reasons I like this quote and why I put up the poster:[/h5]

  • I’m a big believer in dreaming big. Life’s too short to settle for mediocrity.
  • Dreams are nothing if we don’t act on them. Setting a deadline makes it real.
  • Goals are great and all, but BIG goals are even better. They’re great motivators.

This is a big time of year for New Year’s resolutions
– gym memberships tend to spike in January, only to drop off throughout the year as more and more people fall short of their goals. So why do so many fail to stick with plans they made on December 31st?

[h5]The difference between goals and dreams: The Emotional Component[/h5]

Dreams inspire us, motivate us, tap into our spirit and get us fired up. When your goal is a dream, something you have a deep, burning desire for, nothing will stop you, nothing will keep you from going after it. And that’s key, because with anything big you aim to achieve in life, you’re likely to have some setbacks along the way. But if it’s a dream, if you have that deep emotional investment in seeing it through, you’ll have the strength to keep pushing ahead no matter what the circumstances.

That’s me having fun with my first glove

For me, when I got that poster, my dream was getting drafted and pitching professionally. My deadline was the June draft of my senior year. Having that dream is what drove me, what got me through those 6am workouts, what kept me going after a bad pitching performance and what kept me working hard over winter break when it would have been easier to just hang out with friends.

That’s me signing my first pro contract

So my first suggestion is simple: Have a dream!
Having trouble coming up with one? Ask yourself this simple question: what would you like to do if you knew you could not fail?

Second suggestion: Emotionally charge your goals whenever possible. Even if it’s not something you’d lump into the “dream” category, you’ll have a much better shot at seeing it through and achieving your goal if you can create that burning desire. Try to imagine having reached your goal and pay attention to how good that feels. Do this regularly.

Dream Big. Set Goals. Get Better.