Have you ever felt like your dream is just that- a dream? We say “dream on” and “as if” and “it’s not going to happen ever.” Well, if you’re anything at all like me, you might be feeling overwhelmed, downtrodden, and absolutely uninspired at hearing and saying all of those things. But, what if I told you this- a dream is inspired by the reality and the world that you see and experience every day. It doesn’t take magic to get there, to achieve that version of reality. It doesn’t take “faith, trust, and pixie dust.” No magic here, no pixie dust- just sheer imagination, strength and resiliency, and determination. Here are five steps to achieving your dreams because no matter how far away they may seem, no matter how unimaginable they may be, you can get there and you will.
1. Turn Your Can’t Into A Can
The first step in our journey to achieving our dreams is to retrain our brain, we need to turn our can’t into a can. For this, we are going to try a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) exercise involving thought distortions. Here are two common thought distortions that most people experience and you can find the rest of them here.
Should Statements: The belief that things should be a certain way, ex: should, ought, must, need
All Or Nothing Thinking: Thinking in absolutes, ex: always, never, every
By journaling your thoughts for three to five minutes and then finding the thought distortions in those thoughts, you can start the process of retraining your brain. Write down whatever thoughts you may be having or whatever your senses may be telling you, it could be that a bit of a song is stuck in your head or that you hear the refrigerator humming or that you are being plagued by thoughts of self-doubt. Whatever it may be, write it down. Go back through your journal entry and find any instances of when you used a thought distortion. By starting to identify those distorted thoughts, you are helping your brain to become its best self, it’s most positive and realistic self, the self that will get you to the end of your dream. If you want to take it a step further, you can look into starting a thought log or record.
2. Tell The Whole World About It
Next in our journey to achieving our dreams is to talk about that dream. Even if it’s not fully coherent or put together, just talk about. Talk about it with family members, friends, strangers, scream it from the top of a building, just talk about it. By talking about your dream, you are not only brainstorming what your dream will look like or how you might get there, you are also normalizing that dream and starting to turn it into a reality.
3. Turn Your Dream Into A Plan
The third step in our journey to achieving our dreams is to start planning. Set goals and develop a roadmap for achieving your dream. The type of goals I want you to practice setting are called SMART goals.
S- Specific, what do you want to do?
M- Measurable, how will you know when you’ve reached it?
A- Achievable, is it in your power to accomplish it currently?
R- Relevant, why is this goal important to you?
T- Timely, when will you achieve this goal by?
By breaking down your dream into manageable steps, you are setting yourself up for success.
4. Take Steps Every Second Of Every Day
This step in achieving our goals is pretty self-explanatory. In everything that you do each and every day, think about how it will help you achieve your goal. Going grocery shopping? The food that I buy at the grocery store will help to fuel my body so that I can be my best self when I write for my blog. Hanging out with friends or family? This time spent with loved ones will help refresh and re-energize myself so that I don’t get blogging burn out. And so on. By relating the things that you do in your everyday life to your end goal, you are moving yourself closer and closer to achieving that goal.
I also think about, under this step, trying to do one productive and goal-oriented thing before 11am every day. By achieving something meaningful to you early on, you are giving yourself the power and encouragement you need to make it through and even thrive during the rest of the day.
5. Triumph & Turn Over A New Leaf
Over time, the four steps prior to this will build and build and build in their momentum and finally you will triumph. Congratulations! It took a lot of hard work, but you made it. Take some time to celebrate. Throw a party, buy yourself a present, and treat yo’ self. By celebrating your successes and not minimizing them, you are setting up positive brain patterns in which you will find yourself more motivated, more inspired, and more driven to achieve your goals in the future.
Now, it’s time to find a new dream. So, dream on dreamer.