Dare to live the life you've always wanted
Like so many great quotes, the one featured below (and in the post title) is derived from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I do my best to feature quotes from women (if you haven’t already noticed), but great quotes are great quotes, and sometimes (often) that means you’re quoting Emerson.
Emerson’s actual quote is “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
Go forward and make your dreams come true
It’s easy to dismiss that sort of advice as unrealistic, right? There are steps between dreaming the life you want for yourself and going out to live it. But if you allow yourself to dream that future life for yourself, then you can figure out the path to get there, and you can go forward along that path until you reach your destination.
Here’s how to do this:
First, set aside some time for yourself to dream.
Get quiet, and then visualize (or envision, or dream) what you want in your future. It can be a single thing, like wanting a trip to Paris, or a whole-life sort of thing, like picturing an entirely new life for yourself, maybe in a different place, a new partner, a different job, and/or more.
Picture your dream in detail.
Feel it as if you are there already, as if what you want is already yours.
Once you have your vision for your future, whatever it may be, visit that dream or those visions often.
Next, write those dreams down for yourself. By hand, if possible.
I know this step can be a bit weird for some people, especially if you don’t usually journal. Or especially if you are used to typing everything and don’t write things out by hand that often.
But this step is super important, and here’s why: when you write down your dreams, they are physically pulled into the real world. Something that existed only in your mind now exists in the real world, on paper. And the fact that you did that with your own hand has extra power. You have physically created something out of nothing.
Once you have those dreams written down, you can turn them into goals.
Adding “due dates” to your dreams for the future turns those into goals. So if you have pulled a dream out of your mind and committed in to paper, all you need to do to formulate a goal is to add a (reasonable) date to it.
We are trying to turn your dreams into SMART goals: specific, measurable, actionable or achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
SMART goals rely on things that are within your control. Saving money or submitting manuscripts to editors are within your control. Winning the lottery or getting published are not.
Once you have goals, you can make a plan to get yourself there.
Each step that you map out to help you achieve your goal forms a plan of action. This is true whether your goal is a trip, a move to a new house or city, a divorce, a change in career, learning something new, and so on.
If you have written your goal down, you can work forward from where you are toward that goal, or backward from that goal to where you are, to figure out what your action steps are.
Write those steps/plans down, and move on to taking action.
Once you have a plan, take action to make your dreams come true.
If you have written your dreams down, turned them into goals, and created a plan of action, all that is left for you to do is to move step by step through your plan. It can take time. It may be hard. But once you know what your steps are, if you commit to taking focused action, you will reach your goal, and fulfill your dream.
Whatever your dream or vision for your future is, you can use this process to take those dreams and visions out of the ether, pull them into the real world, turn them into goals, and then work out the steps to accomplish them.
Remember: Stay aligned with your vision.
Regularly spend time visiting the place in your vision or dream, whatever it is. If possible, hold that vision in your mind daily. If visualization isn’t really your jam (or even if it is), give extra power to your dreams by writing down your goals every single day. Do it in the morning, so you hold it in your mind throughout the day. Do it at night, so you dream about it in your sleep.
Denise Duffield-Thomas, who I consider a role model and almost a mentor of mine, relates the following in her book Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: “I heard once that the difference between a millionaire and billionaire is that the billionaire writes their goals down twice a day.”
Keep referring to your action plan and taking the steps to put your plan into action. Be the person who stays aligned and follows through. And remember that the person you will be next year, or in three years, or in five or ten years, is determined by the actions you take now.
Want a “future you” visualization to get started?
We have a guided visualization for you, which you can listen to in order to picture your future self and your future home, plus a future self journal for you to download. Just subscribe to our newsletter to get the free download!
If you are interested in making a travel “life list” (I prefer the term to “bucket list”, because it sounds more positive), check out this blog post, “As a woman, my country is the whole world,” and grab the download there, too.
Lastly, a book recommendation for you
If you are interested in mindset work and goal-setting, one of my favorite books covering this is SHE MEANS BUSINESS by Carrie Green, who is the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association (of which I am a member). The subtitle of the book is “Turn Your Ideas Into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur”, but even if you aren’t interest in starting a business, the mindset stuff is amazing. Plus if you do want to start some sort of new venture, whether it’s for money or not, Carrie is a great motivator.
There’s a link to the book below. I am an affiliate with Amazon, which means if you purchase a copy, I’d get a few cents (pretty sure that’s about it), but it won’t cost you a penny more.