Do you dream about running your own business, publishing a book, traveling the world, or even buying a house? Your dreams are valid. And you can make them come true.
Don't be afraid to dream. In fact, dream BIG because dreams can and do become reality.
However, taking your dreams and turning them into reality does not happen on its own. You need to be proactive to make them come true.
Steps to Achieve Your Dreams
If you want to really grow and realize your dreams, actively start doing something about it. Here are basic steps you can use to reach your dream and make it come true, whatever it may be:
1. Be specific about what you want
You need to be specific and evaluate what you want. Play the ‘what if?’ game. What if money was no object? What if you had all the skills to achieve your dream? If there were no obstacles in the way, what would your dream be?
Try to encapsulate in one sentence what that dream would be. Write down exactly what you envision, no matter how wildly impractical it may seem.
When I first did this exercise, I wrote: “I want to live a creative, fulfilling life as a writer, surrounded by the beauty of nature and interacting with like-minded people.” At the time I was trapped in a job I hated and living in a big, smog-filled city.
2. Identify what is standing in your way
Try to identify the single biggest limitation stopping you from making your dream a reality. This reason could be lack of money, lack of confidence, fear of failure, etc. Once you have identified one main reason, go on and identify others.
I realized that the main limitation holding me back was a lack of confidence in my abilities. Once I realized that this was holding me back, I started to work on building up my confidence. That meant taking certain steps that scared me to death.
3. Do what scares you the most
You may have resigned yourself, consciously or unconsciously, to your circumstances. You may not even question the boundaries that limit you, but you can’t deal with them until you know they’re there.
Your mind has the power to keep you from moving forward, but it also has the power to help you overcome your fears.
To move out of your comfort zones means looking fear in the face. When you begin to do what scares you the most, you tear down the barriers that prevent you from becoming what you’ve always dreamed about.
4. Determine to keep going no matter what
Civil rights activist Rosa Parks said, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear: knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
If you’re convinced that the destination is worth it, you’re driven forward despite the obstacles instead of being tempted to give up or turn back every time you feel afraid.
Positive change involves risk, inner conflict, fear and sometimes pain. Take courage and confront your fears. Accept the worst possible scenario and then just keep going forward.
5. Create a plan of action
A dream is only a dream until you have a plan to make it a reality. As human beings, we want certainty, but the journey to fulfilling your dreams is not mapped out for you. You may not have a pre-drawn map to follow, but you do need to have a plan.
Without a plan, your process is too vague, and you may accomplish small tasks without any real sense of direction. A plan helps you to progress methodically towards your goal. If you always have your destination in mind, it helps you to stay on track, even when the going is tough, and you experience setbacks.
6. Take the first small steps
The process does not happen overnight and as the old adage puts it, “There is only one way to eat an elephant – one bite at a time.” The journey may involve much stumbling as you move forward, but before long, you find that a whole series of little steps take you much closer to your destination.
Once you have set a goal, you must keep it in front of you and keep taking the next step. If you want to start your own business, begin by reading all the literature you can find about how to do it and speaking to other entrepreneurs.
It’s always good to study others who’ve successfully accomplished what you aspire to do. If you want to travel the world, buy that first ticket already.
7. Embrace uncertainty—it’s part of the process
What if you’re not sure about the next step? Don’t worry. Uncertainty is perfectly normal. If turning your dreams into reality was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Some people are very sure about what steps to take, and this clarity guides them through the process. Others are not so sure. They may only find clarity after taking the first step and assessing their move. Some will make the wrong decisions and only know they are wrong once they’ve taken the decision. And this gives them more clarity about the right decision than if they’d never taken any action in the first place.
So, accept that you won’t always know everything. Uncertainty is part of life, and you can turn your dreams into reality despite it. But, it takes courage to move forward. Be bold. Your determination will bring the necessary courage you need to reach for your dreams.
8. Celebrate your accomplishments
Celebrating your achievements, even small ones, helps to give you a feeling of accomplishment and makes you want to continue on your journey. You may not be where you want to go yet, but you can rejoice in how far you have come. You are no longer the person you were when you started your journey.
“Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching your goal,” a wise saying states.