Has someone ever asked you what you would do if money weren’t a factor? It’s one of those questions that people often brush aside because, quite frankly, money is a factor. The doubters will mock you as naïve or foolish, but deep down you know it’s possible to start living your dream life.
It seems as though most people are just trying to get by. They work because they need to make an income to support their life. People not only settle in the workplace, but also in their relationships with their friends and family. You may even know people who settle by compromising their integrity and core values.
That is why it is not naïve or foolish to start living your dream life; it is essential.
Living your dreams is more than being rich. It’s the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose. If you are ready to free yourself of the fears that cause you to live your life according to the expectations of others, then follow these seven steps found in the book Champion of Change, the 7 Instrumental Laws of Change.
1. Construct a Plan of Action
If you want to learn how to start living your dreams, take the time to visualize what that life will look like.
This is more than the normal vision board. This form of visualization requires you to use all your senses.
To gain an edge, Olympians will visualize themselves competing in their actual event. Emily Cook, of the United States freestyle ski team, is quoted as saying she engaged all her senses in her visualization. She moves her body as if she is skiing down the slopes, she feels the air as it blows through her hair, and she hears the roar of the crowd as she crosses the finish line.
The best way Olympians can be ready for the moment is by continually competing in their mind. Studies support this belief as they show you can literally gain muscle by visualizing yourself working out. This applies to non-athletes as well as visualization is a powerful source of motivation.
2. Focus Your Attention
If you want to start living your dreams right now, you are going to need to adjust the way you see the world and every area of your life. Your beliefs create your consciousness, your consciousness creates your reality, and your reality is maintained by the way your mind filters information.
Every day, you receive millions of sensory inputs and your mind filters out most of them to keep you from going crazy. The ones you receive are the ones that your mind believes matter to you based on past experiences.
One of the most popular examples is when you purchase a new car. As soon as you purchase that car, suddenly you notice that car everywhere. Now, you probably know that everyone did not purchase the car the same day as you, so what happened?
Well, when you purchased your new car, you told your mind ,”this car matters to me.” As a result, your mind is now showing you the car that has always been there.
The same way your mind can adjust your filters based on the action of purchasing a new car, you can take actions to create your dream life. As you take action, your mind will show you new opportunities that were always there (just outside of your previous filters).
Learn more about how to focus here: How to Improve Focus: 7 Ways to Train Your Brain
3. Put Systems and Processes in Place
Once you have the proper mindset to start living your dream life, you are ready to shift your focus to reach your goals.
The mistake most people make is they are excited when they begin, but they are working solely off discipline and willpower. Your willpower and discipline are exhaustible resources that will fade over time. That is why most people quit their New Year’s Resolution 30-days after starting. That is also why people who are on a diet will make nutritious decisions throughout the day and fail miserably late at night.
This is why it is so important that you put systems and processes in place that limit the need for you to use discipline and willpower. In the case of our dieter, it would be better for them to trash all the candy they no longer want to eat.
This is also true when it comes to you and your dream life. If you want to ensure that you follow through on your vision, you have to be willing to limit the ability for you to revert back to your previous life.
If you want to stop relying on your willpower and start making things happen, these tips will help: How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
4. Accountability Is a Must
When you are accountable to someone or a group, you will find yourself more motivated to continue. Deep down, we all want to be accepted by others. Even though this can work against you sometimes, this particular occasion is not one of them.
When you proclaim your goal to specific people, it improves the likelihood of you following through. However, some research suggests that making it public and announcing it to everyone may hurt your chances of following through.
You may be surprised to know, but you experience accountability on a regular basis.
- If the CEO asks you to provide a report, you are going to do your best in order to impress the CEO.
- If you’re invited to a class reunion, you will feel more motivated to get in shape.
- If you know you are going to have company over at your house, you are going to clean more carefully.
Accountability works because you want to keep your word and make a good impression of yourself in front of others.
5. Find a Catalyst for Change
There are things you can and cannot control in life. Do not allow the fear of failure or fear of uncertainty keep you from living your dream life. Everything is not going to go smoothly on your journey. You are going to face challenges and setbacks.
The good news is failure is a part of success and personal development. They are two halves of the same coin. What tends to happen is that people spend so much time trying to avoid failure that they never realize they are undermining their ability to find success.
By understanding that failure is a part of success, you understand your goal is not to avoid failure, but to build on it.
Your dream life does not necessarily need a positive event to start. Often, it is the negative events (or perceived negative) and a sense of desperation that drives people to reach further than they ever have before.
Your catalyst for change may be exactly what you wanted, or it may be the worst thing that could have happened. Either way, your focus is on what to do next. You want to build on that event by stacking positive events on top of it.
Choose to respond to each situation by taking another step towards your dream life.
6. Understand That Character Matters
In a study between two schools on opposite ends of the economic spectrum, positive psychology experts created a list of character strengths they believed essential to success.
Their list included grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.
Some of the character traits were common with how most people view success, such as grit, curiosity, or self-control. However, gratitude, zest, optimism, and social intelligence (compassion) were on the list, but their relation to success is often overlooked.
It’s important to remember that change comes from the inside-out. Your core values are the prism through which you accomplish your goals.
7. Muster up the Courage
Once you have completed the first six steps, you have everything you need to feel inspired, step away from your comfort zone, and start living your dreams.
Do not allow yourself to procrastinate on your transformation. The fear of change may disguise itself as a thoughtful plan to wait for more information or better timing.
Keep in mind that you are not looking for the perfect situation; you are only looking to start. One you get started, you are going to be better equipped to make any changes.
I often compare starting your journey like walking through a fog. If you stand on the outside of the fog trying to see to the other side, you are going to find it very difficult. However, if you are willing to take the first few steps, you are going to realize that you can see a few more steps into the fog.
If you are willing to continue walking, before you know it, you can see clearly because the fog is behind you.
You have an idea of what your dream life looks like, and you have an idea of the effort it is going to take to make it happen. However, you do not really know how realistic your expectations are until you experience it.
There is a lot of work that goes into living your dreams, but you will find it well worth your time. Life is short, so don’t worry about the things you can’t control.
Most people regret the things they did not do more than anything they have ever done. Therefore, don’t settle for a life that is less than your dream life. Pursue it with effort and resolve.
More About Living Your Dreams
- 9 Mindset Shifts That Will Help You Live Your Dream Life
- How to Make Living the Dream Life Possible
- 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams
Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com
|||^||New York Times: Olympians use imagery as mental training|
|||^||Neuropsychologia: From mental power to muscle power—gaining strength by using the mind|
|||^||Psychology Today: If You Want to Succeed, Don’t Tell Anyone|
|||^||Inner Drive: 7 WAYS TO REDUCE THE FEAR OF FAILURE|
|||^||Greater Good: Is character the key to success?|