I used to lay in bed for hours and day dream about what it would be like to actually be living out my dream life.
The clothes I would wear, the vacations I would take, the food I would eat… the house(s) I wouldn’t have to clean myself (I dream big, what can I say??)
But everyday, I’d get lost in the gap somewhere between my dream life and my reality. Have you been there?
In recent years, the idea of being able to create your dream life was something that seemed idealistic. A buzz phrase that was thrown around in the personal growth sphere to attract attention to Instagram perfect images and blog articles that talked about self-care and pretty journals.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a hot bath and a new journal, but I also believe in the real power of practical wisdom that backs up your words.
I usually consider myself an observer. I watch people to see what they will do, say, and/or become. (I’m that girl that goes to the park just to sit on a bench and people watch.)
Over the last ten years, I’ve taken note of people who have spent their entire lives using methods that leave them exhausted and unfilled and people who have seemingly put in little effort for big results.
In this article, I’m going to dive into the seven things I’ve come to believe factor into creating the life of your dreams.
7 Factors in Creating Your Dream Life
1) DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM LIFE
I often hear people talk about wanting to create their dream lives and then I ask them the stickler of all questions… “what does that look like for you?”…. And crickets.
Ironic, right? We know what we don’t want and that it’s our current situation but usually struggle to get clarity on what this different elusive future life looks like.
Then it’s not a wonder why so many people aren’t living their “dream” lives – they have no idea what their dream life looks like in detail.
I call this the Self Discovery phase and it’s a lot simpler than perhaps it may feel.
Grab your favorite journal (or perhaps just closest one) and write out these journal prompts to get you started:
- What does my ideal day look like?
- What in my current life do I want to NOT take into the future with me?
- What do I do when I’m working? When I’m not working?
- How do I authentically show up as myself?
- Who is part of my life? (super important to consider if our lives are the average of the five people we hang out with the most)
2) MAP THE TACTICS TO GET YOU THERE
The second biggest stumbling block I see when it comes to creating the life of your dreams is doing the work to get you there.
Especially if you’re a dreamer. I am. I could literally sit and dream all day long. My imagination is endlessly wild and my dreamed up future is a big one.
Being able to dream is amazing, but the hiccup is when it comes to the action of making those big dreams actually happen.
I used to believe that if I just kept dreaming big enough, one day my dreams would come true. The luck would smack me hard one moment and suddenly my dream life would be a reality.
It was a long process and rude awakening for me to realize the reality of making those dreams come true. If I wanted them to happen, they could – but I was going to need to do the work.
So step two is to map out which tactics will unlock your ability to create your dream life.
Grab that journal again, start a fresh page, and write down the three biggest things that you want to make happen in the next year. For each of those things to happen, what little things need to happen?
What are three big milestone points that need to take place to get you closer to your dream goal?
Now, what daily action do you need to take to make those milestones happen?
Answering these questions will literally give you a roadmap to creating the life of your dreams.
3) CREATE HABITS AROUND YOUR DREAM LIFE
We often see the gap between where we want to be in life and the reality of where we are. Closing that gap seems overwhelming, impossible, scary, tiring… you name something negative and it probably applies.
So how do you seamlessly close the gap without burning yourself out or going completely crazy?…
One step at a time – or as I like to say – 1% at a time. When you change something by 1% a day for 365 days, that thing becomes 37x different.
I encourage you to apply this to your own life. Commit to 1% better, 1% progress towards creating your dream life and in one year, you’ll be 37 times closer than you are today.
This 1% a day will create the kind of habits that your future dream life self requires. Which is so important because your dream life is going to require a different version of you than your current self.
Not because you aren’t good enough just as you are, but because you don’t currently have the habits or skills you need to live that life. If you did, you’d already be living it. Our worth at a soul level and our worth at a market level (what we know and the skills we have) are two different things.
As a person, you are enough, you are worthy, and you are sufficient. It’s your skills and knowledge that may require a level up to step into your dream life. We often interchange these but they are two separate things, or more specifically mindsets. Understanding and living out the difference is where a growth mindset comes into play.
4) PLAN FOR BARRIERS
Every. Single. Time. You step up to do something new, a barrier will pop up. Resistance against our desire to change our lives breathes in us, around us, and from us.
This resistance comes in all kinds of shapes and forms. (This book has really helped me with this) Have you ever had a moment when you decided to commit to something new and then (seemingly coincidently) something happens to set you back?
Someone gets sick, your family disapproves, friends don’t understand, your dog goes missing, your phone breaks, you decide you’re not quite ready and put it off until next week… resistance lives and breathes.
Making space for it is the difference between staying stuck and making progress.
The best way to do this is to brainstorm the five top things you’ve noticed consistently pop up and get into your way. Then write down your best solution for that barrier so that next time it appears, you’re prepared for it.
The second thing to do, is to make a commitment to moving ahead despite things that pop up. You know that phrase “falling off the wagon”? We’re not going to do that anymore because now we’re on a grace wagon.
The grace wagon occasionally makes long unplanned stops, sometimes it tips over, and you never know when it’s going to get derailed. But this wagon, it always keeps going. One small (or large) hiccup doesn’t stop it completely or make it give up.
Rough days will come. The grace wagon will pause for those days and then keep going. It’s not an all or nothing wagon.
5) EXPECT THE DREAM TO CHANGE
The number of times my vision has changed for what my dream life looks would make an outsider think I can’t make up my mind. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The more I make progress on this journey, the clearer my vision becomes. Which also means the more I make small adjustments and pivots.
You see, clarity comes through action not through thinking. Both are necessary because you need to be able to envision the future to intentionally work towards it. However, only experience will give us solid data points and clarity.
I used to believe that my dream life was owning a beautiful giant house on the beach. Then I owned a house that was twice as large as my first apartment and it was only 20 minutes from the beach. You know what I discovered, I don’t like living in big houses by myself.
I don’t like cleaning them, I don’t like the wasted space, I don’t like the abundance of sand that makes it into places I don’t want to clean… you get the idea. So then I thought my dream life included a lifestyle where I hired people to help me clean the house.
But after living in hotels for almost a year and having housekeeping, I realized I don’t like preparing for people to come in and clean. So, my dream life changed and pivoted a bit.
I still want to wake up to a beach each morning, but perhaps in a house that isn’t so hard to keep clean and doesn’t feel so large and empty. I like cozy little spots. I wouldn’t have known those things without the action though.
Having a clear vision is important, making room for pivots is too.
6) CONNECT WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP
The power of being in community is just that – powerful. I used to be ashamed of where I was in life. I’ve always been a private person and didn’t want people to know, to see my imperfections, to hold power over my vulnerable spots.
But doing things on your own is hard, lonely, and tiring. It’s alone and in the dark that things can spiral downward fast but in community with others, that’s where we find that our experiences shine a light into the darkness.
My first steps outside of my comfort zone were in joining a mastermind. A group of women who were committed to their personal growth and to supporting others.
It was life changing. They didn’t laugh at my vulnerabilities; they helped me strengthen them. They didn’t point out my wounds; they helped me heal them. They didn’t push me into places I wasn’t prepared to be; they pulled me down paths they had already been.
A good coach will do the same thing. They will show you a path they’ve already been down, reassure you it’s safe, and help pull you to better places.
It doesn’t have to be a mastermind or a coach, but I would highly encourage you to find some sort of community in which you can find help to grow. It’s a life changing thing.
7) USE OTHER PEOPLE’S SUCCESS TO ENCOURAGE YOU
Big results require big effort. It’s so easy to see people who seemingly have it easy.
They created their dream lives overnight and that’s that. Can I be honest and say this used to drive me nuts… “Why them? When was my lucky break coming? Could I just be through the hard parts of life already?”
But then, I started doing research (it’s the enneagram 5 in me) and discovered that all these people I think just had it made… more often than not, they didn’t.
They put the work in. Like a lot of work. Years worth of 1% a day work. So much work I questioned for a minute if I actually wanted to do that much work… which is exactly why most people don’t have the same results. They don’t want to put in the work.
When you see other people’s success, it can feel discouraging if you’re in the middle of your “work through it” phase. But, it can also be encouraging. A light or glimmer of hope for what’s possible to create your dream life too.
When I find these people, the people who are doing what I dream of doing, I latch onto them. I consume their content, glean from their wisdom, and learn how they got where they are.
I intentionally allow them to pull me down the path they’ve already traveled. I learn from their lessons, and fuel my hope with their results. I use their success to encourage me on my own path.
That’s my ten years of note taking compiled into seven practical tidbits of wisdom and I hope it was encouraging and informative! I believe the key to living life well is wisdom. Or more specifically, wisdom in action.
When you first get started on the journey of creating your life, you’re making a lot of changes, going against the grain, and shifting things that have never been shifted.
It’s going to feel weird, uncomfortable, and uncertain, but that’s normal. I wanted to say that because I think it’s time we normalize the awkward part of this journey.
To go places you’ve never been, you’ll need to do things you haven’t done before. Which means stepping out of your comfort zone. You can create the life you’ve only dreamed of before, little by little and day by day. You wouldn’t have read this far if some part of you didn’t believe that.
Not quite sure where to go from here?
Check out this post about the 8 Areas of Life to Set Goals
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