Although a lot of these types of articles tend to creep around a week before the turn of a new year, I've always been the type of person who found resolutions to be a bit strange. It's not that I'm not an advocate for goal-setting and, to a large extent, even risk-taking—but who said that you had to wait until January 1? More than that, what makes so many people think that there is something supernatural that happens at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day? Making the decision to change your life, right here and right now, is just as powerful, significant and life-altering as waiting until next year. More so in fact, because, by moving now, you're choosing not to make excuses or procrastinate.
And girl, why would you want to with stats floating around claiming things like only eight percent of people ever achieve their goals or 98 percent of individuals leave this earth without ever fulfilling their dreams? Geeze. Talk about a seriously gut-wrenching wake-up call, right? The good news is, whether or not you become a part of these statistics, that is totally up to you. If you truly desire to make your dreams a reality, there is no time like the present—and by that, I mean right at this very moment—to stop talking about what you want and actually start putting the steps in place to make your goals, dreams and desires happen. You ready?
1. Go on a “Negativity Fast”
OK. Before doing anything else, make sure that you put yourself on a negativity fast. Yeah, I know this isn't typically the kind of thing that you see whenever you read articles on this topic; however, because negative energy can lead to things like emotional instability, constant complaining, being super self-critical, having a fear of networking or all sorts of health issues—between your unhappy co-workers, what you see on the news, all of the constant drama on social media and whoever's in your life that's negative, you need to make sure that you are approaching the sacredness of your dreams from a loving, whole and positive space. You also need to make sure that you're not looking at them with a jaded perspective.
So yes, before doing anything else, whether it's for a weekend, a week or a solid 30 days, take some time out to detox from all things negative. If that means not eating with your co-workers, so be it. If it requires a social media fast, do it. If you need to temporarily get ghost on a friend or family member, don't hesitate. You need some time to get quiet and unlearn some of the negative habits that may have been taking a hold of you, perhaps without you even realizing it.
I promise you, once you take a break from what's draining you in this area, you will feel totally recharged and ready to take on the other steps that I'm about to share.
2. Know What Your Dream Is
Not too long ago, I was having a "random" (although I personally believe there is no such thing) conversation with two attractive young men. We were all in a mall and we'd never met before. But the natural journalist in me tends to ask a lot of questions so, before long, we all were sitting in the food court, chopping it up. As these early-twenty-something fellas were talking about some of their ridiculous patterns, I said to one of them, "You know you're doing all of this because you are bored with your life, right? You need to put that energy into your purpose." He replied with something that I think causes a lot of us to have unhealthy life habits. "I don't even know what my purpose is. That is a part of the problem." He's right. That is a part of the problem. And you know what? A lot of other people are walking around here miserable because, while they know that there is more to life than what they are currently doing, they are irritated and restless because they're not able to articulate what their dreams actually are. So, they do dumb ish to fill up time and mind space.
Saying "I just want to be happy" isn't good enough. Who doesn't? In order to achieve what you truly want, you really need to be more specific. Whatever it is that you desire to do or accomplish, write it down. Not just on a paper towel or the notepad on your smartphone either. Honor your dreams enough to purchase a journal that is totally devoted to them. The more you respect them, the more they will respect you. Remember, thoughts are seeds and, as a writer by the name of Eric Micha'el Leventhal once said, "Thoughts don't become things; thoughts ARE things."
Oh, and when it comes to initially jotting the dreams down, try and be as concise as possible. I know from personal experience that, the less words you use, the clearer you'll be about what you want and how to go about achieving it.
3. Get Your Personal Life in Order
I'm a quotes girl. Unapologetically so. Recently, while checking out The Roommates Podcast, I must admit that a quote that was shared, right out the gate, was so "BAM!" to me that I didn't even finish listening to the episode yet. What the brotha said was, "You've got to be the CEO of your life before you can ever be the CEO of a company." I mean and I'm sayin'. Have you ever had a hard time getting a good night's rest because your bedroom is a mess? Or found it impossible to save money because you keep staying in debt thanks (but no thanks) to that credit card of yours?
It's going to be very difficult to make your dreams a reality if you've got a lot of personal upheaval going on. Now, I'm not saying that you should start on your dreams until everything is perfect (that will probably never happen). But what I am saying is if you need a clean house in order to think straight, clean it. If you're in a counterproductive relationship, even if you don't have the courage to end it (yet), at least take a break from it. You're probably going to need some coins in order to get some of what you're trying to do off of the ground, so the new shoes or that girls' trip is going to have to wait. Dreams like order. The more you have, the easier it will be to embrace yours.
4. Start to Visualize Your Dreams
If you're a TED Talk kind of person, make the time to watch fitness CEO Ashanti Johnson's message entitled "The Power Of Visualization". In her 15-minute presentation, she talks about how, back in 2009, during a recession, the word "fitness" kept coming to her mind. So much in fact that she quit her job in the pursuit of starting her own fitness company with nothing but $400. I'll let you watch the video so that you can see how it all played out for her (spoil alert—quite well). But the bottom line is visualization is so important. It's about more than just writing things down; it's about being able to bring full mental images of your dreams to your mind, whenever you need to.
Some people visualize with vision boards. Some use create boxes. Others literally daydream (which has scientific benefits, by the way). Whatever route you decide to take, just make sure that you set aside some time, on a consistent basis, to visualize what you desire. The more you can bring it to your remembrance, the realer it will become to you.
5. Protect Your “Dream Pregnancy”
I'm a doula. So, I speak in pregnancy analogies and metaphors quite a bit. Whenever someone tells me that they have a dream, goal or idea, a piece of advice that I oftentimes give them is, "Make sure to 'protect your pregnancy'. Telling the wrong people will have you out here aborting or miscarrying your 'creative baby'."
Think about it. It's not uncommon for a woman to not announce that she is pregnant until she is well into her second trimester. Even then, while the general public may have overall knowledge of what's going on, only the few that she trusts know the day-to-day details. And with good reason. The last things that she needs are pressure, stress and a ton of unsolicited opinions and advice.
Same goes for the dreams that you are carrying. When I was in doula training, I took some Hypnobabies classes. Something we learned about is called "the bubble of peace". Basically, it's learning the art of how to tune out the noise around you so that you and your baby can remain peace-filled. Pregnancies, of any kind, are precious and fragile. There's no need to be out here announcing everything or taking in all of the stuff people have to say. It is perfectly fine to be silent until "the baby" arrives; to only let a few into what is going on in the developmental stages. This brings me to my next point.
6. Get a “Dream Midwife” and a “Dream Doula”
If you are pregnant with dreams, you need someone to support you in your pregnancy and someone to help you birth them. Basically, you need a strong support person (doula) and a mentor (midwife). Both of these individuals need to be respectful of your dreams, totally envy-free, committed to assisting you along the way and prepared for good and bad days that come while your dreams are growing and while you are sometimes uncomfortable during the process. They also need to be kind, patient and able to discern when you need advice and when you just need a listening ear.
Some people are afraid to go through the process of conquering their dreams because they feel like no one truly believes in them and what they are trying to accomplish. Or, the people who claimed to be there in the beginning, they end up falling off. But when you've got a true dream midwife and dream doula by your side, it always makes the "birthing process" so much easier. They can offer insight, tips and comfort that you need to get you through all that comes with carrying your dreams and manifesting them.
7. Invest in Your Dreams on a Daily Basis
It's kind of unfortunate that a lot of people only think of investing as it directly relates to finances. If you ever check out the definitions of the word, you'll see that it is far more multifaceted than that. One definition of invest is "to use (money), as in accumulating something", but two others are "to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something" and "to furnish with power, authority, rank, etc." You know what this means, right? If you've been telling yourself that the reason why you're not able to make your dreams come true is because you don't enough money, that's more of an excuse than anything else. There are other ways to invest. Networking is investing. Research is investing. "Baby steps" are investing. Making sacrifices are investing. Turning off your notifications and television so that you can put new ideas together are investing.
Although some days will require bigger investments than others, when it comes to making your dreams a reality, it is absolutely critical that you do some sort of investing on a daily basis; that you put power into your talents and time so that you are able to push your dreams along further today than they were yesterday.
8. But Make Sure to Take a Day Off Too
Earlier this year, I wrote an article entitled "How To Handle 'Purpose Fatigue'". Pretty much, it was a shout out to all of the people who are out here in their purpose, making things happen, but still have moments when they are worn all the way out. As for me, I've been a traditional Sabbath observer all of my life. This means that Friday sunset thru Saturday sunset is my non-negotiable time to go totally off of the grid. I'm telling you, to have a full 24-hour timeframe to do nothing but rest is one of life's greatest gifts.
You're not doing your mind, your health or your dreams a lick of good if you are constantly burning candles at both ends because all you do is "go, go, go" all of the time. While you're out here making things happen, make sure that you put chilling out one day a week on your list too. You won't do your goals and desires any true or lasting good if all you're doing is running on fumes seven days a week.
9. Do Your Best. All of the Time.
Wanna know another reason why some people's dreams never come true? It's because they half-ass their way through the process. Their business plan is sloppy. The story pitch is full of typos. Their demo sounds like they recorded it in a tunnel. Their website layout is dated. They make appointments and then break them or schedule auditions and show up late for them. No one who is already out here living their dreams owes you their time, connects or resources. Not only that, but why should someone else help you with your dreams if you don't esteem them enough by presenting them properly—and consistently?
I can't tell you how many times I've done something and, in my mind I'm like, "I already know that I'm going above and beyond; that all of this 'extra' isn't even necessary", only to get an opportunity or promotion out of the blue. When you give your best, you're giving your highest quality and what truly stands out. If you do that constantly, the right people will take notice. Maybe not immediately but eventually. Right when you need them to the most.
10. Be LOVINGLY Patient with Your Dreams (with Yourself Too)
If I've said it once, I've said it a billion times before. Whenever I go to a wedding and the bride and groom are all googly-eyed as they say, "Love is patient and I'll be patient with you", I'm usually thinking, "I bet they have no clue what they are saying." To be patient isn't just to wait. It is also "bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like". Love does this. Love does this. Not only does it "do" this; true love is this.
Committed relationships aren't the only things that require patience. Dreams need patience. You need patience. While you're out here in the process of making your dreams a reality, know that what's worth having truly is worth fighting for and the more you're able to master patience, the more you'll be able to endure until you reach your goals.
My last bit of advice? Don't just like your dreams. Choose to be all the way in love with them. It will make being patient a whole lot easier to do. It will make celebrating them once they manifest so much richer for you too.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Feature image by Shutterstock