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How To Make Your Dreams Come True in 9 Simple Steps

How To Make Your Dreams Come True in 9 Simple Steps

What do you dream about? Running your own business? Completing that 5K? Traveling the world? Buying a house? What do you spend your days fantasizing about, wishing was your reality?

No matter what your dream is, you can accomplish it. You don’t have to watch as another year goes by with you being no closer to your goal than you were the last year. You can move from where you are to where you want to go.

By following these nine steps, you can make your dreams come true.

1. Do some stripping

Stripping down your goals, that is! Strip down all the fluff that covers up the true goal you are after. By peeling back all the layers surrounding your objective, you can clearly evaluate what it is you really want.

Have you been dreaming about quitting your job? If so, is your ultimate goal to find a better position, start your own business, or to obtain more flexibility in your work? Depending on what your answer is, how you go about getting prepared so you can quit your job will be very different.

The more specific you can be about what your dream really is, the easier it will be to chart the path to getting there.

2. Look fear in the eyes

Whenever you decide to go after something you want, fear often shows up.

It’s easy to understand why. You’re moving beyond what’s familiar. You’re moving beyond your comfort zone. As such, it is normal to experience some resistance, and resistance often shows its ugly head in the form of fear.

But don’t let fear get the best of you. Don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t let it keep you in a state of dreaming about your dreams instead of living your dreams.

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Here’s what you do: whenever you feel the fear, acknowledge it. And then ask yourself this: What’s worse, the fear of moving beyond your comfort zone into the unknown journey of relentlessly pursuing your dream, or deferring your dream to get rid of the fear (which also means staying in your current position)?

Anaïs Nin summed it up beautifully when she said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

When you’re sure you’re ready to blossom, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

3. Set your boats on fire

This passage from W.H. Murray’s book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, describes why commitment is essential: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Until you are totally committed to making your dream come true, there will numerous things that will pop up to deter you. And if you aren’t really committed, then those distractions will succeed. To ensure you are unwavering in your quest to moving forward toward your goal, you need to burn your boats.

Back in the 1500s when Hernan Cortez led his army of men in a conquest of Mexico, he ordered that the boats they arrived in be burned. He did this to prevent anyone from turning back and abandoning the mission. In essence, he ensured commitment to the battle by eliminating all opportunity to abort the assignment.

So if your goal is to travel to Thailand, go ahead and book your ticket. If you’ve been longing to run a 5K, sign yourself up for that race. If you want to buy that house, give notice to your landlord that you won’t be renewing your lease. Do something concrete that guarantees you to move forward by preventing all opportunity to turn back.

Then don’t look back. Start stealing instead.

4. Shamelessly steal

As Pablo Picasso put it, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.

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You’re probably not the first person to work towards achieving your particular dream. As such, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Immerse yourself with great ideas and techniques that others have shown to work.

Search out people who have been successful at what you are trying to accomplish, then study them. Watch what they do, don’t do, and identify best practices you can apply. There’s lots to learn, but it will be worth it once you realize how much this step will help you reach your dream.

As you spend time studying others who have been successful at what you’re trying to do, you’ll also get a healthy dose of inspiration to fuel you along your journey. You can then use all that knowledge to help you with the next step.

5. Build a plan

Clarity, commitment, inspiration, and know how will serve you well in reaching your dreams. But they have to be combined with a real plan to actually move you along the path to making your dream come true.

Harvey MacKay put it best when he said, “A dream is just a dream, a goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”

When you work on a goal with no plan of how to achieve it, your efforts are more likely to be disjointed. Without the focus a plan brings, you’re more likely to complete tasks willy nilly, and drift around rather than progressing methodically toward your goal. This leads to both sporadic and less than optimal results. You don’t want to go that route.

You’ve got to build a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to go. It will keep you on track, and minimize the detours that slow or delay your progress toward your goal.

So if your dream is to write your first book, your plan could be to get up an hour earlier and write one thousand words a day prior to going to work. That way, when you set your alarm each day, you know what time to set your clock for. And when you wake up, you’ll know that it’s time to fire up the laptop to get typing.

Besides, one of the great things about a plan is it helps you to track your progress along the way as well.

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6. Set a deadline

Deadlines have magical powers. When set, they stop procrastination in its tracks and whip you into gear so you start getting things done.

Even though you have a plan, you may spend lots and lots of time noodling over whether or not you need to learn more, or if your plan is just right, or if you need to go check Facebook again (you don’t). And then you’ll wake up, look at the calendar and months will have passed, and you’ll have barely moved an inch toward your goal.

But a deadline changes all that. Because you know you can’t miss it, you do what you need to do to get things done.

So give yourself a due date. And then tell someone who will hold you accountable. Be sure to give them permission to kick your butt or a provide a sufficiently effective guilt trip if you come close to missing it.

7. Do the work

There’s no way around this. You’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to work your plan.

Push yourself to do it when you feel like working. And push yourself to do it when you don’t feel like working.

Over time you will see results, and then you can move on to the next step.

8. Praise the progress

A lot of times your dreams don’t happen in one day. They take time. And sometimes you’ll need a bit of encouragement along the way to keep you going. So whenever you hit certain milestones, stop what you’re doing, take a pause and give yourself a high five for all the progress you’ve made.

You deserve it, and although you may not be exactly where you want to go, you are definitely farther than where you started. And that’s worth celebrating. It’s also fuel to keep you going a little farther.

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9. Don’t go it alone

Change can be tough. And not just on you, but the people who interact with you on a regular basis. The people who will be impacted by the changes you make in your life.

As you work to make your dreams come true, consider letting those in your circle know what’s going on with you. It’ll give them a chance to encourage you, support you, and hold you accountable when needed.

Depending on what your goal is, you might even find someone willing to take the journey with you.

It’s time to make your dreams a reality. Your dreams don’t have to stay just dreams. They can absolutely be your reality. But the majority of the time, dreams come true only as a result of us doing what’s necessary to make them happen.

You just have to do the work.

By implementing these steps, you’ll look back a year from now (maybe sooner) at all you have accomplished, and smile.

Because you’ll know that dreams do come true.

Because yours finally did.

After you did the work.

Featured photo credit: Make a wis_Unsplash via s3.amazonaws.com

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

1. Know Thyself

One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

An unexamined life is not worth living.

I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

2. Figure out What Matters to You

What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

4. Listen to Yourself

It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

6. Make Time for Reflection

It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

  • What went well today
  • Something you’re grateful for
  • What would make tomorrow even better

Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Arguably the most important step of all:

Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

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