Believe it or not, your dreams are often closer than they appear.
When we decided to embark on the dream house process, almost a year ago, I told my husband I thought it would take 2-3 years. He wanted to shorten the time, and I was like, okay, go for it. We still thought we'd be about a year out. But then, as I started researching the possibilities, the spark of what we could do kept coming alive, and before we knew it, we were living in our dream house. What started as a "maybe we can do it in 2-3 years" only took six months! Here is what it took:
Step one: Dream
That sounds really basic, but a lot of people are afraid to take a look at what they want in life, because they're afraid they won't get it. They're afraid they might be dreaming too big. Here's the crazy thing: oftentimes, what seems like a HUGE dream is completely do-able, if you're willing to make the effort.
Step two: Research the Dream
Now this also sounds basic, but it's amazing to me to see how many "impossible" dreams were actually possible with little to no effort. For example, last year, we went on our dream vacation to England. We'd wanted to go for years, but thought there was no way we could do it. When we were planning a trip, we had a few locations in mind, and for curiosity's sake, I looked up how much flights to England were. Whoa!! Yes, it was expensive, but as I looked at our budget and what we wanted to do, I realized that it cost almost the same as another trip we'd been looking at. What seemed to be impossible actually was closer than I thought.
Step three: Focus on the Dream
How often do you focus on your dreams? I have a dream notebook I look at every day, reminding me of my dream, and allowing me to clarify what I want out of life. In that notebook, I have several letters to myself, where I talk about my vision, written in the future tense, expressing gratitude for having reached those goals. I read those letters to myself every day, not only reminding myself of the dream itself, but also of the why.
Step four: Plan the Dream
You've researched, you've focused, but you also need to come up with a plan. For example, how much does your dream cost? Have you broken down how much extra money you'd need to make that dream come true? Have you created a plan for how you'll come up with that money? What if all you needed was an extra $50 per month? Or just one hour per week? I'm always amazed at how, when you break down the dream, and start making a plan, how much more do-able it is.
Step five: Move in the direction of the Dream
Sometimes the cost of the dream is more than anything you can see. My ultimate dream, when it comes to my writing retreat, is that I would have a retreat center in the mountains, where people could come and be refreshed. I figure that building the retreat center I want is going to cost at least a million dollars. Sounds pretty hard, right? But I am starting small, and I'm hosting a retreat at a hotel as a first step. Then I'll host more retreats, and find even cooler places to go. And with each step, I'm building a foundation to create a retreat center that it going to nourish so many people. Yes, it's going to be work. And no, it won't happen tomorrow. But it's going to happen, and it's going to be wonderful. Even though it's still a long way off, it's a lot closer than it was when I sat around, talking about how cool it would be with no real movement in that direction.