10 unique habits that separate doers from dreamers, according to psychology

There’s a big difference between a dream and reality. 

It all comes down to certain habits and principles that separate dreamers from doers. 

If you want to be a bit less of a dreamer and a bit more of a doer, the following deep insights from psychology will help enormously. 

Let’s take a look at the key habits of highly effective and successful people who manage to translate their vision into concrete action.

1) They break their goals into actionable steps

The first unique habit of a doer is that they break their goals down into actionable steps. 

They take a long term goal that is lined up with their talents and mission in life and then reverse engineer that down into manageable steps. 

If their goal is to become manager of a famous band in five years they break that into a goal for this year, a goal for the month and a goal for the day. 

As psychiatrist Brook Choulet MD, observes:

“It’s critical to your success to write down your goals and create actionable, tangible steps that create notable progression toward the goal.”

2) They manage their time effectively and schedule

Those who take their dreams into reality are effective at managing time

They are able to decide what is a priority and what is not, and organize their schedule accordingly. 

They are able to say no and stick to it when it comes to taking on too much or putting too much on their plate. 

In such a way they leave themselves time and energy to achieve their priorities. 

“Another consideration is whether you have enough gas in your tank to take on another activity,” notes Psychology Professor Heidi Reeder, PhD.

“You can only agree to so many things before you run out of fuel.”

3) They adapt to change and curve balls

Doers are able to adapt to change and curve balls with optimism and determination. 

They don’t take setbacks and change personally, and they do their best to get stronger and smarter from the detours. 

When life changes without warning, they already have a plan in place:

They don’t build up a giant dream for years and then give up once it’s in action and hits a roadblock.

The dream is already being actualized and lived out step-by-step, and when changes and detours happen they adjust on the go and proceed accordingly. 

It’s not a dealbreaker, because change and disruption were already expected, and the dream was always about real life, not just an ideal. 

4) They practice self-discipline and consistency

Those who bring dreams down into reality are able to be consistent and have self-discipline

They don’t indulge themselves just when they feel a sudden urge or appetite:

They stick to their dreams and keep up a steady routine in order to start making their vision a reality.

“Achieving anything of significant value not only takes long hours but demands long periods of courage and stamina. 

These attributes will help you do your job with greater confidence, provide you with more wisdom, and make you a more resilient person,” explains psychologist and author Gregory Jantz, PhD.

This brings up the next point: 

5) They’re able to stay focused despite distractions

The dreamer often has big goals and deep inspiration. 

But they fail to bring it down to earth and end up getting distracted by other tasks and people in their lives. 

These distractions may be important people, events and duties, but they end up dragging the dreamer away from real action in the present. 

By building their dreams into their daily routine and keeping away from their distractions, they stay focused and keep making progress heading forward. 

“The key is to be strategic and build routines into your day that are consistent,” points out Choulet. 

6) They take calculated risks with a fallback option in place

When it comes to their approach, the dreamer tends to live in an idealistic realm: 

They may take risks and act quite spontaneously, but they rarely have a structured plan in place with more than one fallback option. 

The doer, by contrast, takes calculated risks that they have already thought through and they tend to have a fallback option in place. 

Rather than “winging it” and chasing their dream all out with no real specifics, the doer plans step-by-step and only takes risks after thinking them through. 

They’re willing to take a chance, but they don’t jump without looking. 

7) They persevere and learn from challenges 

The next trait of dreamers is that they persevere and learn from their challenges. 

Rather than seeing roadblocks and obstacles as signs that their dream needs to wait or be replanned, they adapt on the go and become more adept. 

Whereas the dreamer tends to take failure quite hard as a hit to their vision, the doer is more of a realist and realizes that every plan hits a hitch. 

They keep their burning desire in mind and work toward it without being too idealistic about it. 

“What is your burning desire?” asks Jantz. 

“What if you knew you couldn’t fail? We need to realize that ‘failure’ as we often see it is merely a stepping-stone to success. The more you fail, the closer you are to succeeding.”

8) They keep learning and gaining fresh experiences

Dreamers often end up pursuing their “one big dream” at all costs and can sometimes close themselves off to learning new things or changing their paradigm. 

They frequently try to go with the flow and wing it, but they aren’t very open to changing course or doing something new. 

However, the doer is never so attached to their dream that they ignore the reality around them:

They keep learning, growing and changing. They keep their eyes open to a new paradigm and keep adapting. 

In such a way, their goals never become overly divorced from reality.

9) They’re adept at networking and building bridges

Doers tend to be very good at networking.  

Even if they’re much more on the introverted side, they are able to build bridges and form strong networks. 

This goes for both the professional and personal side, where the doer is able to seek out and offer support, advice and further contacts to those around them. 

In such a way, their network keeps expanding and they keep trying new things and broadening their skill base, hobbies and social circles. 

The dreamer, by contrast, tends to live a lot in their mind and emotions and often has trouble bringing their grand ideas down to earth in speaking to others and seeking out useful and fulfilling connections.

As Reeder writes:

“Successful people have strong networks, so saying yes to activities that connect you to like-minded people who create value is a good idea.”

This ties into the next point: 

10) They bring their dreams down into the real world

The doers have big dreams, too, and they get inspired and enthused just as much as anyone. 

But they find a way to bring their ideals and inspirations down to earth by talking to others and building up thick networks and interrelations with others. 

They don’t make their dreams abstract or purely about themselves: 

They relate them to the people around them and tie their goals into concrete people, places and actions they can take in their daily life. 

“People who get stuff done ‘dream’ and ‘talk’ as much as the next guy, but they share these dreams and ideas with others,” notes psychology author Ben Casnocha. 

“By sharing your intentions with others, you introduce yet another accountability mechanism.”

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