Accomplishing your dreams – one step at a time
Everyone has dreams and goals, some big, some small. I have lots of them, but for me my two primary ones are 1) Be debt free and 2) Have my own company full time. Dream #1 is is fairly recent and became important to be in 2006. Dream #2 has been a dream since I as kid and just kept getting stronger as I entered the work place.
I am taking active steps right now in my life to make these other dreams into a reality. I have less than half the debt in 2006 and plan to be completely debt free except for my home within 3 years. I’ve also started my own side business which this blog is a part of and am working hard to turn it into a viable business. A more recent dream both my wife and I had was to live in the mountains. We are now living that dream.
Dreams are like a vision, they are a mental picture of where you want to be someday, but dreaming isn’t enough. Let’s look at how to turn dreams into reality.
Define your dream
The step in accomplishing your dream is to put some definition around it. For example, you may have the dream of being a millionaire. Well, what does that mean exactly? Does that mean having exactly 1 million cash in savings or 2 million in investments?
In order to define steps that will take you along a path to accomplishing your dreams, you must first define the dream and make it specific. Using my example above of owning my own company, technically I already have that. I have my own LLC (Empty Cabin Media) and as a part of the company I have 3 blogs, 10 or so niche stores and recently started providing blog consulting services. So I could say I have accomplished that dream, but my dream is a little bigger I want to work on Empty Cabin Media full time.
Write your dreams and goals down and evaluate them. Are they specific? Will you know you’ve met them when you get there? If not, tweak them. Are your dreams on the path that God would have you on? This is a critical factor that many people don’t consider.
Let’s say your goal is to get out of debt, or be debt free. Make that dream or goal specific. Word it as follows instead: “Pay off all $30,000 of my debt in 5 years.” Now that’s a defined dream or goal.
Define the steps
Now that we have a vision and have the dream defined next we have to work out the details of how to get there. Depending on your Dream you may be close or you might be far away, it doesn’t matter. In either case it’s just a matter of taking small steps. For some the journey will be a little longer than for others, but it’s still one step a time. Define those steps.
The debt example above is easy. $30,000 in debt in 5 years, breaks down to $6000 per year or $500 per month. Now of course that doesn’t factor in interest which you will need to account for, but this will provide you with a basic idea. Excluding interest, if you pay $500.00 month toward your debt, in 5 years you’ll be debt free. There are lots of great websites and spreadsheets available online that will factor in interest for you. So get those numbers and do the math again for the exact monthly amount. That amount is your monthly step.
Mine is a little more complex. In order to quit my full time job and run my company full time, I would need to make a salary very close to what I make today. At this point I’m pretty far from doing that. I’ve set a goal though of 5 years, and have set specific revenue objectives I must meet each year in order to be making the same (or more) than I am making now from Empty Cabin Media. I’ve even taken the extra step to know how much that should be per month.
The trick to reaching a dream isn’t to think about the dream itself, as the dream often seems too big or two far away. Instead focus on the steps that will get you there. It’s much easier to see yourself taking that next step than it is reaching the dream. Once you have the steps define, just work on the next step, then the next step. All of the sudden you’ll look up one day and be at your dream.
Taking your faith into consideration is an important part of accomplishing your goals and dreams as well. As a Christian, it’s important to me that I am not only doing what I want to do, but what God would have me do. Am I walking the path that God would have me on? Are my goals and dreams inline with the plans God has for my life? These are all critically important questions to answer, as having goals and dreams inline with God’s will make the journey far less difficult and more fruitful than you can imagine.
How do you know what God’s plan is? Pray and ask him. If you aren’t sure what your purpose here on Earth is, I highly recommend the book The Purpose Driven Life. This book will take you through the steps to find God’s purpose for you. My purpose is to teach and that is also my spiritual gift. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging and I know it’s the reason I became a manager in my professional career.
Too many people have dreams and just sit around day dreaming about how wonderful it would be live out those dreams. While day dreaming is fun, it’s a waste of time. Day dreaming will do nothing to help you accomplish your goals or reach your dreams. Dreaming is the easy part, defining a plan and beginning to take the necessary steps is the hard part.
If you really want to accomplish your dreams stop day dreaming and get to work. Far too many people don’t ever reach their dreams because they fail to take that first step. Confucius said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” A thousand miles might seem a long way to talk, but if you take it one step at a time it can be done.
My dad once had a friend that ran marathons. He asked his friend how in the world he managed to run 26 miles. He said he didn’t, he ran 1 mile 26 times. He kept telling himself in his head that he only had one more mile to go…one more mile to go. He focused on the steps, not on the dream or vision.
You must do the same.
What first step will you take today to achieve your goals and dreams? Still day dreaming? Stop. Define your dream, layout the steps and take the first one today. Why wait? Add a comment!
Photo by: alicepopkorn