Just like Dr. King said, it all starts with a dream. If you don’t have a vision in which you want your life to move, you will never achieve any intentional positive movement toward it. You have to have a general idea of what is important to you and what you’d like to see happen in your life, or you will never even know when you’re headed in the right direction.
A few steps to get you started:
1. What does your perfect day look like? If you’re waking up going into an office job every day, but you dream of being a stay-at-home mom, you know that your actual day and your dream day are totally different. Take a few minutes and describe, in one paragraph, what a dream day-in-the-life of you would look like.
Mine would look a little something like this: I’d wake up in my naturally lit apartment and spend an hour or so doing yoga. I’d have a healthy, locally grown breakfast on my patio overlooking the Eiffel Tower, or maybe the Hudson River, depending on which of my home cities I chose to wake up in that day. Then I’d do some reading and writing, maybe have a few business meetings, of which I own many. I’d call and chat with family, or lounge around with my husband, and maybe go for a run in the evening. Then I’d have dinner with good friends at one of the restaurants I own, or perhaps another hip place in town before calling it a night.
For those of you who know me, my average day is quite different than this dream day, and yours may also be very different than the one you envision. But I guarantee, you will get no closer to making your dreams a reality until you first have a vision for what you want. Start with just a dream day so that you can narrow down exactly what is important to you. A dream life is much more difficult to capture, but a day? You can surely envision and make happen!
2. Do Not Get Analysis Paralysis. For a lot of us—I am guilty of this myself—we think we need to have all the nitty gritty details nailed down in order to begin to create our dream life. We think that all the odds and ends need to be sorted out before we set out, otherwise we will never be able to take into account all the possible difficulties that we may encounter and how to avoid or overcome them. And then, what if we change our mind about what we want? We must also take that into account! Wrong.
I can assure you of a two things. Firstly, you will never, no matter how hard you try, be able to envision your perfect dream life from the start. You cannot possibly imagine what the 40-year-old you will hope for when you’re merely 25. And that is alright! To get started, you need only to envision the life you wish you were living today, and then get started on it now. Your dream will evolve along the way, but you will be closer to it every day if you start now. Otherwise, every day that passes will take you further from any dream you wish to accomplish.
Secondly, you will not be able to imagine now all of the difficulties you may face in the future. And you surely won’t be able to imagine all of the creative, inventive, and practical ways the future you will overcome them! Do not get bogged down in details. Create your current dream now, make it vague, yet actionable; you can always add and edit later!
3. Compare and Contrast. What are three (or so) obvious things that are different in your dream day than in your real day? List these differences, especially the one that you know you need to change. For example, for someone who is bogged down in debt who dreams of one day being debt free and able to purchase a home, their list would look something like this:
· Credit Card Debt
· No Money in Savings
· Renting instead of Owning
Once you have your list, turn these main differences into action items and list them in order of attack! For example:
· Pay off Credit Cards
· Save 10% for a down payment
· Buy my first home
4. Take it One Day at Time. So I’ll admit, it’s no easy feat to make your dream day become your real day, but nothing in life is easy! What you can do, is make the first item on your list of differences into a reality. In the case of the wannabe homeowner above, they know their first goal, and I bet they can envision a few ways to move toward that goal. And I bet you can think of a few ways to do the same with your goals!
Every single day, list and DO one thing to make the items on your list a reality. If your first item is to pay off your credit cards, stop charging money on them! If your first item is to become a writer, start a blog or freelance! If your first item is to be a stay at home mom, brainstorm careers that will allow you to do that and start to try them on for size! You get the idea.
In the big scheme of life, it’s the little things we do day to day that make us who we are and that accumulate into the realities that we live. If you want to be one day closer to your dream life, envision your dream, and then do the little things every day that help you turn that dream into reality. No item is too small, and none too big. But one thing is certain, today is the day to start!