Do you have a big dream? Maybe your dream is to start a business or to pay off all of your debt. Perhaps your dream is to retire early or to travel to Europe or to write a book. Is your big dream something you’d love to do but you don’t really think it will ever happen? Truth be told, the only way you are ever going to achieve your big dream is if you have a clear plan in place.
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I love this quote from Olympian Jesse Owens on turning dreams into reality:
We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.
That’s right, if you want to make your dream come true it’s going to take a lot of work. The hardest part of achieving your dream is getting started.
I’ve had a lot of big dreams in my life. Some of them I’ve achieved, some I’ve given up on, and others I’m still working towards. Through all of my dreaming, the one thing I’ve come to realize is that the only way to achieve my big dream is to have a clear plan in place.
Planning has always come naturally to me. That doesn’t mean that I always accomplish everything on my to-do list. In fact, there have been many times where I’ve fallen short of completing what I set out to do.
What I’ve learned along the way is that part of goal setting is getting back up when you fall down. You may need to start over, redefine your goal, or even set a new goal. But as long as you are motivated and stay the course, you will get there.
Some of my big dreams in life have been to backpack through Europe, go to law school, start a blog, write a book, and retire early. The last two I’m still working on but the first three I was able to achieve through “determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”
What are your big dreams?
Just remember that all great things start with a dream. But it’s up to you to believe in yourself, to work hard, and to have a plan in place to turn your dreams into reality.
Here are 5 Steps to Turn Your Big Dream Into Reality:
1. Define Your Why
Before putting your plan in place to achieve you big dream, you should take some time thinking about why you want to achieve this dream.
Ask yourself: What benefits will this dream have on my life?
Going through the process of defining your why is so important to understand whether or not this is a dream worth pursuing.
Once you’ve defined your why, and determined that this dream is something worth the hard work, dedication, and effort it’s going to take to achieve, you’re ready to move on to step 2.
Alternatively, you may realize that this dream isn’t something you want after all. Realizing that a dream you thought you wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be is a good thing to know before you dedicate too much time in pursuing it.
You may want to consider drafting a personal mission statement to get crystal clear on your core values to make sure your dream aligns with your life’s purpose.
So grab a pen and paper and start listing out the benefits of achieving your dream.
2. Put Your Dream On Paper or Create a Vision Board
The next step is to put your dream on paper.
Write your dream and the benefits you’ll receive from achieving your dream down on a piece of paper. Tape this paper somewhere you can see every single day.
You can even save it as your desktop background.
Another idea is to create a vision board for your big dream. Vision boards help you to maintain focus by providing a visual reminder of your dream.
Create your vision board with your dream and benefits in mind. You can use stickers, photos, quotes, cut-outs from magazines or anything else you can think of. Be creative!
3. Set SMART Goals
Step 3 is a big one. In this step, you are going to outline the goals that will move you closer to your dream.
You need to set SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Once you’ve listed out your goals, ask yourself:
- Is it Specific?
- Is it Measurable?
- Is it Attainable?
- Is it realistic?
- Is it timely?
You may need to set several different goals to achieve your big dream. Depending on what your dream is, you may want to set milestone goals.
Start with the end in mind. First, list out your big dream. Then, list out the steps you’ll need to take to get there. Each step is a milestone goal.
When you have your goals written down, it’s time to move on to Step 4 – setting actionable steps.
4. Set Actionable Steps For Your Goals
Step 4 is where most people get stuck. Once you have your goals written down, you need a clear plan for achieving each goal.
Each goal must be broken down into actionable steps (AKA “tasks”). Think through the steps necessary to achieve each goal and write them down.
Once you’ve listed out the actionable steps, you need to add those steps as tasks to your calendar or to-do list.
I recommend keeping this list of actionable steps handy when you do your weekly planning so you can easily add them to your calendar each week.
As you complete a step, cross it off your list. Each time you cross off a step, remind yourself that you’re one more step closer to achieving your dream!
5. Eat That Frog – Prioritize Your Actionable Steps
If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. Chances are it will be the worst thing you do all day. -Mark Twain
The biggest hurdle in accomplishing our tasks each day is just getting them done.
This will be easier if you do them first thing in the morning or as soon as possible in the day. Prioritizing your most important tasks is key in achieving your dream.
Another key motivator is to keep reminding yourself of why you’re completing these tasks. Remember to take a look at your vision board for motivation, and then eat that frog before doing anything else.
After all, this is your big dream! I know you can do it.