Dreams come true for those who seek them. You've heard it before. But catchy quotes don't help much with figuring out how to get from where you are today to realizing your biggest lifestyle goals.
What is a life goal? Close your eyes and picture your perfect day – the one you wouldn't mind living over and over and over again. What do you see? Grab a piece of paper and write it out.
Now look at the detail in what you wrote and psychoanalyze yourself for a moment. What is it that you're longing for in your life? What is the #1 thing you need to feel like you're living your best life?
to feel like you're being challenged appropriately, in all the ways that motivate and inspire you?
or to be surrounded by people you love spending time with, in an environment that makes you happy?
Now do some brainstorming and write out a realistic life goal. And don't sell yourself short by thinking that big dreams are not realistic.
Here is a list of some big life goals that may seem unrealistic, but are achievable:
- Relocating to anywhere on the planet
- Digital nomad lifestyle
- Create a business and work from home while homeschooling your kids
- Turn your passion (anything legal) into a money-making business
- Complete your bucket list
- Switch to the career of your dreams
- Live off the grid
- Buy a farm
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR DREAM
Be specific and quantitative. What do I mean by that? Make it a measurable dream with a defined timeline.
An example of a non-specific dream: “Someday I want to save up and quit my job for a few years to start my own company.”
Let’s re-word that dream into a specific goal:
“In five years, I want to quit my day job and launch an online company selling scuba dive equipment. I need to save up $200,000 to be able to do that.”
Boom. Now we have a goal.
Step 2: Decide to Succeed
It might sound hokey, but deciding to succeed is an absolute must. Incredible things start happening after you make this decision.
Don't believe me?
In 2013, I was a struggling, single Mom with a troubled teenager, a mountain of debt, a credit score around 550, zero sailing skills, and barely able to make it from paycheck to paycheck.
Then one day I decided I was going to save up, quit my job, and sail the world.
The idea was preposterous. Remember no sailing skills? How about no sailboat?? And no ocean near me to sail in.
But I didn't let that stop me from deciding on success.
Since 2013, the following things have happened:
- A series of better paying jobs and promotions, more than tripling my pay from 2013. Including moves to 2 different states to make it happen.
- I convinced my Canadian boyfriend to move to Arizona and now we are married with two toddlers (aka future crew).
- We learned how to sail, and received multiple sailing certifications.
- And then bought and sold a house in Phoenix, AZ, making a nice profit.
- We bought a second house in Bend, OR that has appreciated by $100k in just over a year!
- And then saved up more than half of what we need to leave on our adventure – post-tax savings in our retail account. We will not be waiting until retirement.
- We took advantage during Covid and saved money by not eating out and investing our stimulus money.
- My husband just happens to be handy and can fix anything (with the help of Youtube).
- We have watched countless vlogs on Youtube of other families doing what we dream of doing and believe we are up for the challenge.
In short – life looks very different today than it did 8 years ago.
Once I decided to succeed, I started noticing opportunities everywhere. Life didn't seem so bleak. I felt re-energized – almost like I was already living my dream.
Planning for the dream has turned out to be a rewarding experience.
Turn your dreams into reality by deciding that you CAN and you WILL.
Step 3: decide on tactics
The first step to turn your dreams into reality is to decide on tactics.
Okay, so you need to save up $200k to pay for your living expenses and maybe some start-up costs of your online scuba dive business.
Obviously there's a financial goal in there, but I bet you have a lot to learn about running an online business, too. So let's make sure we tackle that objective as well.
Reducing your cost of living will make it easier to stay afloat once you take a break from your day job.
How will you save $200,000? You need some tactics.
- Tactic #1: Pay off all credit card debt within the next 6 months.
- Tactic #2: Starting in month 7, save $1,000 each month in a personal brokerage account.
- Tactic #3: Ask for a bonus (or extra bonus) of $10,000 at your day job.
- Tactic #4: Invest your savings in the market and target a return of 10% annually.
- Tactic #5: Start working a side job delivering groceries or driving for Uber one day per week, and save all extra funds for extra savings of $500 per month.
- Tactic #6: Switch jobs or ask for a promotion or raise. Expect a salary increase of 10% per year over 5 years.
Everyone's needs and financial situations are different, and these are just examples. Figure out what works for you. Sit down and do some calculations, and come up with a PLAN!
Other tactics may involve learning things or gaining skills you'll need for your dream. Training, if your dream involves physical activity, or earning certifications, if required to make your dream happen.
What are your tactics for getting to the level you need to be at to get started? Write them all out.
Step 4: DEFINE YOUR TASKS
For each tactic, there are a number of tasks that will need to be completed. While tactics represent HOW you will achieve your dream, tasks represent WHAT needs to be done.
Decide on 5 to 10 tasks that need to be completed to deploy each tactic. List them out on paper. You will knock these out, one by one. Like a boss!
But let's not stop there. We are going to take it one step further.
Step 5: baby steps
For every task that must be completed, there are probably several baby steps that will need to be done to complete the task. I like to list these out in checklist format.
Another format that works well is a scrum board. Scrum is a project management tool designed to clear away all obstacles to completing a project. Work is done in short cycles called sprints, and the individual or team updates the board as needed to keep tasks current.
To create a simple scrum board, grab a big piece of white foam core board, and draw a line down the center. Using sticky notes, write one baby step on each note and place them on the left side of the board.
As steps are completed, sign the sticky note and place it on the right side of the board. This is a GREAT tool if you are working on a team or with a spouse, but I've found it also works well individually.
As you complete your baby steps, you will be amazed at how fast you are gaining on your goals. This is a motivational way to attack any dream, goal, or project.
Don't worry, you won't know all of the baby steps on day 1. You update the board or list as you learn and make progress. By using the same process every time, you will learn how to make things happen.
Always remember GTTS: Goal —-> Tactics —-> Tasks —-> Steps
sTEP 6: EMBRACE OPPORTUNITIES
As you begin the process of turning your dreams into reality, your way of thinking will naturally change, and you'll be presented with a number of opportunities.
Prepare yourself mentally to embrace them.
I quit my job in 2013, packed up my and my son's stuff, and headed west to Phoenix, AZ. I was headed to a new job with better pay, but it was a huge risk.
Part of me hoped that living there would be more accessible for my Canadian lover, who could make a quick flight from Great Falls, MT to Mesa, AZ on the Allegiant cheap flights.
The gamble paid off for both of us.
The job worked out, the relationship worked out. Thanks to all of that, there are two beautiful humans on the earth.
Its possible that none of it would have come to pass if I hadn't seized an opportunity – if I hadn't accepted the job offer in Phoenix, I'd still be in Fort Worth, making half of what I make now, still drowning in debt, and “dreaming” about moving forward with my life.
When opportunities come your way, embrace them.
Once you decide to succeed, you will notice opportunities that have been in your reach all along. The fundamental change taking place is your self-identity. Once this shift happens, your whole world changes.
Step 7: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Life sucks sometimes. We all have good days, bad days, and days where we are ready to throw in the towel.
On the hardest days, get out your vision board and remember why you started. Remember what matters to you, and promise yourself to stay the course.
At my most frustrated moments, I recalculate everything: All of my assumptions. This usually leads to me realizing that we are even closer to the finish line than I thought.
Just a little while longer, WE CAN MAKE IT!
And if I can do it, you can do it too. Start today.
Turn YOUR dreams into reality.
If you found this post inspiring, leave me a comment and let me know.