Our dreams—whether large or small—are a personal reflection of our deepest desires. They’re the wondrous goals which can guide our decisions and impact how we see and interact with the world around us. Reaching our dreams, however, is no easy task. Sometimes they require sacrifice, uncomfortable change, a new paradigm, or plain old hard work—and even then there are no guarantees. But what if there was a way to increase our odds of success? What if there was, say, a blueprint to turning our dreams into reality? Would you follow it? Here’s my blueprint to turn dreams into reality:

Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey, author of the iconic “7 Habit of Highly Effective People”, coined this wonderful phrase which appeared as the 2nd habit in his book. The idea is simple—we must understand our dream. But take it a step further. We also need to envision ourselves having accomplished it. Understanding our dream exactly as it stands is an important first step because it allows us to define precisely what it is we want to accomplish. Without this, we won’t be able to define where to start or the other critical steps to help us get there. Additionally, we should envision ourself having reached the finish line provides a serious boost of motivation and energy towards achievement.

Build a Plan of Action

For some dreams, a plan of action is obvious. If we want to buy our dream car, we know we’ll need to save up a certain amount of money to do that. Now, how we get that money is likely more complicated than the saving itself. First the dream—then a tangible plan. Some dreams, however, are far more difficult to create an effective plan of action. For instance—if we want to be a published author, that plan of action may be a bit complicated: studying writing, reading a certain number of books every year, studying elements of style, practicing writing, coming up with countless ideas, etc. The point is—the more complicated the dreams–the more complicated our plan must be.

Focused Discipline

It’s great when we’ve got a clear vision of our dream and a solid plan of action to pursue it. But a plan is no good without follow through with it. We must become focused and disciplined in order to pursue our dream. This is, without a doubt, the most difficult step in the blueprint to turning our dreams into reality. It takes a mindset of tenacity and a will to continue working even when we feel like we can’t go on anymore.

The truth is, when we see people who have achieved big dreams of becoming an actor, or becoming a successful entrepreneur, this is the step our minds often ignore. All the time, energy, sacrifice, focus and discipline it took to get where they got. But there is one more thing we can learn from these people.

Have Hope

Achieving our dreams is hard, and truth be told, many people don’t achieve theirs. But this doesn’t mean we can’t ours. We must remain hopeful. Having hope brings all of our hard work together. If we look at successful people. Most likely, there were times in their lives when they wanted to give up. Something motivated them to move forward. Something told them that achieving their dreams was still possible. They had hope.

I’m a big fan of optimism. I have seen so many people in my life work so hard to achieve their dreams and have observed the indescribable joy in their eyes once they finally did. Our dreams are worth working towards and, while certainly not foolproof, if we follow these basic steps we can vastly improve our chances of achieving ours.

Choose optimism over pessimism!

“Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

What are your dreams? I’d love to hear about them and what you’re doing to work towards them.

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