A new year is upon us and 2010 also marks a new decade. I hate to be too cliché but this is the time most people a moment to evaluate their life, goals, and dreams for the future.
Driving to the gym this morning I saw a minivan with a huge sticker on the rear window that simply read “Realize Your Dreams.” Fittingly it came on the eve of a new year and got me thinking about how this is the perfect time to not only realize my dreams, but to make them happen.
I’ve written, vented, and complained about how often people tell me they that they wish they could travel. They pray for a raise so they could take a vacation. Heck, sometimes they rack up their credit card charges and go into debt attempting to realize their dreams. I’ve said before: quit wishing and just do it. Bite the bullet and make your dreams a reality this year.
Here’s your task for the week oh faithful Have Pack reader:
1. Determine your dreams
Take a moment to determine what it is you dream to do this year. Maybe it’s as simple as going on a vacation because it’s been several years since you have taken one. Maybe you travel frequently but have been putting off a big trip to a new and scary place or a round-the-world adventure.
2. Change them to achievable goals
Studies show that we look at dreams as things that are not likely to come true. I usually dream about crazy things like living on a spaceship and coexisting with alien frogs who love heavy metal. That is definitely not going to happen. Therefore, when you give something the label of a dream, you are creating a link to the unachievable and setting yourself up for failure.
Dreams are good to have, but goals are better. You can achieve goals and you should have a definable measure for how to reach them. Realizing the difference and changing your mind into believing your dreams are actually achievable goals will help make them possible.
Simple Jedi mind tricks can fool even yourself. Make verbal declarations such as “my goal is to backpack through Europe this summer.” Completely eliminate things like “I’ve always dreamed of scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.”
3. Figure out a plan
It’s time to whip out the pen and paper (or your favorite text editor for you tree-huggers) and start jotting down notes on how you are going to achieve these goals.
Are you going to save money? If so, how are you going to do so? What expenses will you cut out of your life or which creative (hopefully legal) methods are you going to use?
Would you like to research destinations to help choose the next vacation? Which books or websites can you use to do so?
4. Take action on your plan
It’s time to put them in action. Baby steps are OK, but usually it’s best to dive in headfirst and stop putting things off.
Create a to-do list, checklist, or a calendar to track your progress and keep your goals organized.
5. Reap the rewards
By this point you’ve successfully saved up money, planned a trip, quit your job, or any number of what you once defined as dreams. Now it’s time to cash them all in and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Hop on that plane to Thailand and get a sunburn on the beach of your own private island. Strap on the skis and ride the Alps. Whip out your machete and hack your way through the Darién Gap.
Whatever it is, I hope you’ve found what you’ve always dreamed about and learned how easy it is to make your dreams reality.
Image courtesy Eric Brian Ouano