Anyone can dream. Anyone can have a vision. Anyone can have grandiose plans. The challenge is to translate those dreams into reality.
Success or failure in life is largely determined by factors we may not even notice: our day-to-day habits. People who reach their dreams don’t do unusual or extraordinary things. Rather, they are ordinary people who cultivate positive habits that they practice day-in and day-out.
Following are five habits that will help you reach your dream.
1. Carve Out “Dreamtime”
In the real world of family responsibilities, competitive job markets, and the stresses of our busy lives, dreaming can seem impractical and irresponsible.
But research has found that people with a dream live longer, happier, healthier lives. It is an act of generosity to make time for dreams. You will be happier, and your happiness will spill over to those you love.
Benjamin E. Mayes said this: “It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.”
2. Write it Down
Power is unleashed through the simple act of writing down your dream. Vague, undefined ideas that lack clarity and specifics rarely translate into reality.
It has been estimated that less than five percent of the population have written goals. Writing down your dream will help clarify it in your mind. It will keep you focused. And it will help you establish priorities, timelines, and goals for achieving your dream.
3. Cultivate Courage
Fear is the number one reason why many people don’t reach their dreams. Courage isn’t something you are born with. It is something you cultivate. It grows each time you step out of your comfort zone, despite feelings of fear, anxiety, and intimidation.
To overcome fear, you must face it. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is choosing to believe there is something more important than your fear.”
Isn’t your dream more important than your fear? Courage is an action, not a feeling. What action can you take today to confront a fear?
4. Do one thing, every day, towards your dream
Dreams without action are fantasies. Someone said, “No dream ever comes true until you are willing to wake up and go to work.”
What are you willing to do about your dream? What are you willing to NOT do?
For most of us, the first step is to end something. What unnecessary things in life are draining your time and energy? Are you devoting far too much time to one activity, group, project, or form of entertainment?
Gardeners cut away healthy rosebuds because they know a rosebush produces far more buds than it can sustain. Are you spreading yourself too thin? If so, cut some things. End some things. Channel your time and resources to those areas with the greatest potential to produce meaningful results.
Next, what action step can you take today towards your dream? By taking one action step each day, you create forward momentum that fuels your dream, moves your forward, and step-by-step takes you along the path to success.
5. Develop Resilient Faith
To fulfill the dream God has placed in your heart, you must develop resilient faith.
What is resilience? Webster’s defines it as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens; the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, and bent.”
Have you ever felt pulsed, bent, compressed, and stretched? I have, many times. Resilient faith is not built in a life that is easy and free of obstacles, trials, and pain. It’s built as we persevere through the difficult times. It grows as we continue to trust and obey God no matter what happens on the path to our dream.
We will all experience times when we are besieged by discouragement and self doubt. We begin to wonder: Why is it taking so long? I’m tired of being disappointed, I’m tired of setbacks, I’m weary of waiting for breakthroughs. Is it worth the pain?
During these times, we need resilient faith. What is resilient faith? It’s faith that refuses to give up under pressure. It’s faith that keeps on believing when everything that could go wrong, does. It’s faith that refuses to quit and perseveres until the answer comes.
Do you really want your dream? If so, you’ll encounter one obstacle after another. You’ll battle gnawing self-doubt, intense discouragement, and, at times, bone-wearying frustration.
And at times, you’ll be tempted to quit.
“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal,” said Louis Pasteur, the French chemist who founded modern microbiology and developed the process of pasteurization. “My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
Just keep going. A big part of translating your dreams into reality is to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep obeying God each step of the way, and refusing to give up in the difficult times.