Mapping out your dreams…
How important is it, really?
My husband has an exercise he loves to do at his financial conferences. He tells everyone he has the solution to their financial problems…
Make a million dollars this year.
The crowd laughs.
“No, I’m serious! If you made a million dollars this year, would that cover your debt?” Still smiling, everyone agrees it would. “Perfect! Problem solved!”
The crowd erupts into laughter again. My husband then makes a powerful point. He says, “It’s funny to you because you can’t see yourself making a million dollars this year. You can’t see it.”
Then, he takes it a step further. He asks the crowd what if he offered them a job where they had to put a ball in a box, and for every one they completed, he’d pay them $500.
“Now can you see yourself making a million dollars this year?” he asks.
The crowd nods.
“Of course you can, because now you have a plan that helps you see it! You start to think, ‘A million would be EASY. I could make way more!’”
If you can’t see your dream, you can’t seize it. Sure, a million dollars would be nice, but until you can visualize the process and the reality of having a million dollars, you can never obtain it.
“A goal without a plan is only a dream.” —Brian Tracy
Mapping out and visualizing your dreams is CRITICAL if you want to stop wishing and start turning your vision into real, tangible goals…
That’s why I want to give you 5 steps to get you started!
1. Take time to think, and think BIG!
The first step to mapping out your dreams is one of my favorites… It’s think BIG!
Set aside time to be creative and think as big as you can. Don’t limit yourself with statements like, “That would be cool, but it’s impossible,” or “How could I do that?” Leave the “how” out of it at this point.
Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
This is one of the most important parts of the process. Taking the time to envision the future you want to move toward will help clarify your vision and prioritize your dreams.
What dream do you spend the most time thinking about?
That might be a good indication of what’s most important to you!
2. Write your dreams down.
Once you have your big picture dreams in mind, take the time to write them down.
Now, at this point, there’s no plan attached to these dreams, but that’s okay! We just need to get the overall picture in writing first.
Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV) says, “And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.’”
You may have one big goal to write down, or you may have fifty…
Don’t worry! Write down as many as you can dream.
3. Be specific.
If you have vague goals written down, try to make them as specific as possible.
If you want to start exercising more, what does “more” mean to you? If you want to travel more, again, what does “more” mean to you?
Without specific goals, you can’t measure your success. That means your goals are unattainable!
4. Break them down into small, manageable action steps with a deadline.
All right, now that you have your dreams written down, it’s time to pick out the ones you want to accomplish first and make a game plan.
This is where we turn a DREAM into a GOAL!
Once you know where you want to start, take your big dream and break it down into five smaller steps. Here’s an example:
Goal: Write a book
Step #1: Research/Outline.
Step #2: Write all chapters.
Step #3: Read and edit manuscript.
Step #4: Have manuscript professionally edited.
Step #5: Sell to publisher or self-publish.
You want these goals to be the five biggest steps that you need to take to accomplish your dream.
After you have your five, then break those five into small action steps with deadlines. In other words, create a plan to make them happen!
Here’s an example:
Goal: Write all chapters
Action step #1: I’m going to set aside 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to write.
Action step #2: I’ll write 1,000 words a day and be done with my 50,000 word manuscript by October 10.
Here’s the key: a goal has an ACTION STEP attached to a DEADLINE.
Your action steps need deadlines!
Make the deadlines as specific as possible. It’s not enough to say, “I’ll do this by fall.” You need to set the month and the day.
5. Keep the vision before you and ACT!
Once you’ve finished mapping out your dream, don’t hide it in a drawer somewhere. Keep the vision in front of you!
The more you remind yourself what you’re working toward, the more likely you’ll be to keep taking the steps toward your goal.
And of course, don’t forget to ACT!
Your dreams won’t come to pass by accident. Successful people aren’t surprised by their success. They put hours of dedication, time, and intentional planning into making their dreams a reality.
Be encouraged! Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 (NIV), “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Now that you have your dream mapped out, keep the vision before you, and take the necessary steps to bring it to pass every day!