Making Out a Map: Achieving Your Dreams Step Three

planning, dreams, goals

Once you have figured out what dream you wish to pursue, the next step is figuring out how you will get there by drawing out a road map, and deciding which path you will choose. Sometimes there are multiple ways to get to a destination, and sometimes there is only one way…up a steep mountain road…with wildcats…in a desert.  You just have to figure out what your way is (hopefully no wildcats are involved). I call it the planning process.  Yeah I know, not very original.  But regardless, to me this step is one of the most fun! That may be because planning is one of my passions, but I believe it can be fun for you too. Who doesn’t love to dream about their future?

Below I have outlined the process I use for planning out most of the major things in my life. Hope it helps!

Step One: Create a Dream Board of whatever it is you hope to achieve for no other reason than it makes it fun and exciting! It can be a Pinterest board or a legit piece of cardboard with pictures glued to it (how it was done in the olden days). A cork board with cute heart shaped push pins is another fun option for people with a little more dough to throw around. Do whatever floats your boat. I personally recommend a physical dream board that you can hang on your wall, so you will see it everyday and be inspired. Say you want to be a ballerina, then post pictures of places you want to perform, dance schools you want to attend, dance moves you want to learn, other ballerinas living their dream, etc. Whatever inspires you and excites you.

Step Two: Figure out the what. Research, research, research, and then research some more.  Figure out what you need to learn and everything you need to do to get where you want to go, then make out a list of every little thing. It doesn’t have to be in any specific order, just get it down. Breaking something down into smaller parts makes it seem more attainable, and it’s much easier to focus on each small step than the journey as a whole. What credentials do you need in order to achieve it?  Do you need a degree? Work experience? Practice? A brood of chickens? I will use one of my dreams, living off the land, as an example. I haven’t listed out every little thing, but just enough to give you an idea:

  • Research energy efficient homes with solar panels and wells (this can be broken down into smaller steps)
  • Learn how to garden (smaller steps)
  • Learn how to raise chickens
  • Learn how to raise goats
  • Learn first-aid
  • Save for a house
  • Buy land & build a house (smaller steps)
  • Buy chickens & goats

Step Three: Figure out the how.  Now that you are armed with a list of everything you need in order to make your dream happen, figure out how you are going to make it happen. Make out a budget, pick out a school if you need a degree, find books to read, etc. I will use my living off the land example again:

  • Research house, gardening, chickens, & goats: Find books,  google it, or watch youtube videos
  • Learn first-aid: Find a class, research through books, or google tutorials
  • Save for a house: Set a goal amount to start building
  • Buy land & build a house: Decide on how much I can afford, make a building budget, build credit score, & get a loan
  • Buy chickens & goats: figure out where to buy them & and how much they cost

Step Four: Make an action plan with specific and measurable goals. You have the what and the how, now set up a timeline for when you hope to complete each aspect. That doesn’t mean you will stick to the timeline (you will probably have to readjust it many times, that’s life), but it will give you something to measure your progress by. For example… I want to save for a house, so I have determined how much I can save each month, and then how long it will take me to reach my goal amount by saving that every month. Then I can start building! I can measure my progress by how much I actually save every month (believe me, my timeline has been readjusted many times). Write down your action plan and pin it to your dream board.

Now obviously not everything has to be planned out to a T, but you do need to at least have some direction of where you are going. If your dream is to have a bowl of Wheaties every morning for breakfast, then all you really need to know is what aisle in your local grocery store to go down, but if you want to be a doctor with a small family practice in Idaho, well that takes a little more planning and research. You must realize that in order to achieve what you want you have to put in the work to get it.  If you are willing to do that, you can do anything your heart desires.

Tune in next Monday for Step Four: Starting the Journey. Refer back to the Achieving Your Dreams page for all my previous posts on this series.