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.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Table of Contents
- What Does It Mean To Live a Dream Life?
- What Could Be Stopping You From Living a Dream Life?
- How to Live Your Dream Life (Your Step-by-Step Guide)
- 1. Know What You Want
- 2. Construct a Plan of Action
- 3. Think Possibilities Over Limitations
- 4. Focus Your Attention
- 5. Take Consistent Action
- 6. Track Your Progress
- 7. Ignore Comparisons
- 8. Put Systems and Processes in Place
- 9. Change The Game, But Don't Let It Change You
- 10. Accountability Is a Must
- 11. Find a Catalyst for Change
- 12. Be Open to Failure
- 13. Surround Yourself With Positive People
- 14. Put Down Your Phone
- 15. Understand That Character Matters
- 16. Remove Excess Materials
- 17. Focus on What You Can Control
- 18. Muster up the Courage
- Final Thoughts
What Does It Mean To Live a Dream Life?
Living a dream life is simple on paper but complex to make it happen. Your dream life is going to vary from someone else’s in several aspects. It doesn’t just mean there is only one ideal dream life to be living.
For some people, to create a dream life is to be working at a job that they love, or being able to enter a flow state of mind while working. For others, it’s being in good physical health, having a loving family, a strong network of friends.
In the end, a living dream life is a life that you consider fulfilling, full of purpose, and is satisfying. And just because you are pursuing grander things doesn’t mean that the life you have is unsatisfying either.
What Could Be Stopping You From Living a Dream Life?
There are several reasons for what’s stopping you to create a dream life or fulfilling a living dream life. These come in the form of roadblocks and those are:
- You’re not taking action – You have several brilliant ideas, however you decide to flesh them out, shelf them, and never get back to them. You tell yourself you’ll get to them “someday” but you never do.
- You’re not holding yourself accountable – Stemming from the previous point, you never get hard on yourself for dismissing ideas and never returning to them. There is nothing to hold yourself accountable for. There’s no risk in avoiding things.
- You care too much about what other people think – People have opinions and they will be vocal about those things whenever you share ideas with them. Many ideas get squashed because those who tell you “you can’t do something” discourage those who share their ideas.
- Your “why” is not strong enough – A “why” is a deeply personal reason for doing something. It can drive us to do anything but without it being strong enough, many people’s motivation run dry and they stop.
- You fear failure – Fear of failure is straightforward in what it is but it happens to all of us. Seeing obstacles or challenges or even the potential of them can discourage people from trying.
- You spend too much time researching – It’s important for one to do research and know generally what is to be expected but you can’t know all the answers to everything before starting. Getting into that mindset, you’ll spend too much time researching rather than trying to do what you set out to do.
- Deep down, you’re too comfortable where you are – Past achievements and accomplishments feel good but they also stifle our growth and drive. It’s similar to the saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” in that if you’re happy and everything is working, why bother about making improvements or expanding your horizons?
How to Live Your Dream Life (Your Step-by-Step Guide)
Living your dreams is more than being rich. It’s the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
If you are ready to free yourself of the fears that cause you to live your life according to the expectations of others, following the steps mentioned in Champion of Change, the 7 Instrumental Laws of Change is a start. However, there are other considerations that you can make too.
1. Know What You Want
Many of us spend more time complaining about our lives rather than figuring out what we actually want.
Firstly, it is okay to not know what you want. While there are people with clear cut goals, there are others who discover theirs with time. What’s important is making conscious efforts in discovering what your heart desires.
Give these questions a thought:
- What makes you happy?
- What are your interests?
- What does success mean to you?
- What do you want from life?
- What are your priorities?
- What do you want to change in your life?
- Who do you admire?
These are a few questions that will help you figure out your goals better. Write the answers down and keep building on them until you know what you want. After all, the first step in living the dream life is discovering the dream.
If you’re not sure how to set your priorities and figure out what you want, check out this article.
2. 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.
3. Think Possibilities Over Limitations
Life is limitless in its potential. The moment you think otherwise, you begin putting restraints on the abilities you have and on yourself. Too many people downplay their skills and abilities and what they can do and that prevents them from advancing in life and create dream life for themselves.
There is truth that we are limited in certain aspects such as our health and energy levels and focus, but the thing about that is we can train those to be better. Thinking of our limitations as more like glass ceilings will help you in a living dream life than thinking the ceiling is made of tougher material.
4. 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
5. Take Consistent Action
Consistency is the key to achieving what you want and living the dream life.
However, being consistent is not easy. There will be days when you will begin to lose patience and want to give up, and that’s completely understandable.
On such days, take time out and give yourself a break. Once you feel better, get back on track, because everything you do is a building block and will take you closer to your goal.
Whenever you feel disillusioned, revisit your goal and let it motivate you to keep going.
6. Track Your Progress
It’s important to track your progress regularly to ensure you are on the right path. You can use journals, calendars, and apps to keep a record of your progress and assess it.
For the times you feel you didn’t achieve your goal, keep a note of what went wrong, and learn from those mistakes. Focus on making progress rather than obsessing over perfection.
Most importantly, remember to celebrate your achievements and give yourself credit for your successes because you wholly deserve it.
7. Ignore Comparisons
The only competition you should have in your life is the person you are right at this moment. There are plenty of strategies out there who say that, but also say it’s fine to envision someone you look up to and try to emulate them in certain cases.
I’ll tell you now, that’s not something you want to do.
Instead, it’s smarter and better to focus on yourself and who you are. Don’t worry or compare the person who is older than you and has made more money than you. There were completely different circumstances at play that don’t concern you.
Focus on your story and spend time developing that.
8. 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
9. Change The Game, But Don’t Let It Change You
Macklemore said it best:
“I don’t control life, but I control how I react to it.”
Another way to look at it is to simply change the game you’re playing but don’t let it change who you are. In so many instances, people are willing to sacrifice themselves and their identity to become someone they’re not just to get ahead.
This can take shape in getting a new job, or making a deal that could shape the future of their lives, business, and inner circle, and more. All in all, it’s not worth it to settle for that.
Instead, take pride in who you are and stick to your values. Be open to making changes and work away at making those changes happen.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Be Open to Failure
Life is unpredictable. You can plan all you want, but also know that life won’t always go the way you planned it. You are bound to be met with some unforeseen circumstances or failures along the way, so be prepared for them all.
Embrace failure and don’t fear it because it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. The key is to not take failure personally. Instead, use failures as an opportunity to learn and grow.
When you become better at failing, you develop a sense of fearlessness, which helps you get out of your comfort zone, take risks, and reach your goals.
13. Surround Yourself With Positive People
People around you have the power to influence you in many ways. Having the right kind of people around is essential for your growth and development. For instance, someone who is around toxic people is bound to have lower self-esteem and be forever stressed.
What you need is happy, encouraging, and supportive people, those who can guide you, lift your spirits, and help you maintain a positive frame of mind.
14. Put Down Your Phone
In other words: be present to the world around you. We spend a lot of time on our phones. You’re probably reading this article on your phone right now even!
It’s understandable to be using your phone for things, but similar to #5, your phone can have more control over your life if you let it. Instead, to create dream life and have a living dream life, it’s essential that you have more control over the things you can control.
Such as your phone.
Do yourself a favour and begin limiting how much time you spend on it. People don’t need to know what you’re doing every single minute of your life. The moment you disconnect from technology and integrate into society, the better off you’ll be.
15. 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.
16. Remove Excess Materials
There are many studies out there that reveal that money isn’t the source of all happiness. Yes, it can lead to experiences that bring us joy, but when buying material things, those are short-lived bursts.
Where happiness and a living dream life actually stems from is being able to live life to the fullest by doing things. In other words, creating experiences in our lives.
Some of those things will cost money of course, but the key is that your money is being spent on authentic memorable experiences. Going on trips, getting workout gear, video games, yoga mats or surfboards all lead to experiences that make life more joyful to live.
Those kinds of experiences should be your priority rather than buying a new car every year or two or getting a bigger house.
17. Focus on What You Can Control
Sometimes when your mind is going places and leaving you stressed, take a deep breath, stop thinking, and eliminate all the unnecessary thoughts.
Unproductive and unnecessary thoughts do nothing but act as deterrents, leaving you overwhelmed and upset. At such times, just focus on the things that are within your control and forget about the rest.
You need to accept the fact that there are things that are beyond your control, and there is no need to waste your energy obsessing over them
If you want to learn how to let go of what you can’t control, check out this article.
18. Muster up the Courage
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. Once 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.
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
|Harvard Business Review: Managing Yourself: Can You Handle Failure?
|Greater Good: Is character the key to success?