Think back to high school and you can put everyone you know into one of two categories.
Those who turned their dreams into reality and those that didn’t.
Think of those that didn’t. Why didn’t it happen?
They were probably all talk and/or ineffective action.
You want to be in the other group.
The good news is, whether you are in high school now or high school was a long time ago, you can start taking effective action toward your dreams.
Rather than give a whole long list of tips, which can be overwhelming and cause paralysis, I’ve narrowed it down to eight essential strategies.
And I encourage you to do all of them. Because each one adds a unique ingredient to the “dreams to reality” recipe.
I encourage you to not do more than what I describe either because lesser suggestions can be a distraction from these most effective eight.
As we go through, you’ll see how they actually all tie together and work in unison.
If you miss one or two of these, it can slow your progress. So pay attention and invest in each one. Give yourself time to develop these skills and work the process.
8 Effective Ways to Turn Your Dreams Into Reality
#1 – Clarify your dream.
If you don’t know exactly what you want, you’ll never know if you got it.
If you have a general dream to be fast, be strong, to win, get married, or be rich it isn’t specific enough. You don’t really know what to do to achieve these things because the outcome isn’t well defined.
Put as many measurables to it as you can and fill out the details. Those details will then inform everything else.
Be sure your dream is based on what you value and what you find important. Don’t let culture, your parents, or anyone else tell you what you “should” be aiming for.
If you do, you likely won’t have enough energy to go through the difficulty that’s going to come. You’re not going to have the commitment needed if this is somebody else’s dream.
#2 – Set a deadline
Similar to clarity, deadlines will inform how intense you need to be about your goals as you move forward.
If you want to lose 100 pounds in a year, for example, that’s going to look very different than if you want to do it in 6 months. Or two years.
The dream is the same but without the deadline it doesn’t inform how intense or strict you have to be when taking action.
#3 – Take Committed Action Daily
Take small, measurable and consistent action steps that move you toward your goal.
This is incredibly important because one of the biggest distractions we have is learning and gathering knowledge!
We can feel pretty insecure as we go after our dreams.
I know for me, the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know stuff. The better I get, the more incompetent I feel because I also realize that there is even more knowledge out there that I didn’t even know existed!
I’ll admit, I’ve gotten caught up in the “read another book, take another class, get another coach” learning and preparation stage at the cost of taking action.
It feels like we’re progressing forward emotionally … but behaviorally, without action, we really aren’t going anywhere. As we like to say in our Success Stories Community: “knowledge without action is worthless.” It is why we place such a high priority on practice and application. So you get tangible results.
Another barrier to taking committed action is competing priorities. We have families, we have health, we have interests outside of our goal. Sometimes if we’re pursuing a dream in one area, we still have to function in other areas. Often at a high level too. Things compete for our time.
The fact that action makes all the difference in the world means if you don’t prioritize your dream and do something, it won’t become a reality. Your dream takes time, effort, and a significant investment.
So you have to keep it a priority in your life.
Literally each day you have to recommit and do something.
Make one, two or three active tasks toward your dream a priority every day.
This is a lot of responsibility. So don’t do it alone.
For example, if it’s an athletic dream, you don’t know everything you can about the sport sciences. You don’t know everything about nutrition and psychology. You can get mentors or coaches to bring along and to help you out. Same for business dreams. Who can provide you with the assistance you need to grow? An accountability group? An executive coach? An assistant to take on tasks you don;t need to do so you are free to do the higher order things?
#4 – Plan for fear, doubt and anxiety to show up.
And by plan for it, I mean, know that it’s going to come and know how you’re going to overcome what threatens to hold you back.
The psychological sciences tell us that everybody’s going to have fear and doubt. It’s one of four basic human emotions.
It shows up when we really care about something.
When you care about your dreams, and you’re running forward towards them, you are going to be hit with insecurity, fear and doubt. It’s your mind’s way of trying to protect you.
Because you care, your mind will say, “Hey, we may not get this” or “we might want to protect ourselves from that.”
And many people will tell you to just ignore it and think positive.
No! Don’t do that! Your head is actually operating at this moment like a fire alarm and you never want to ignore a fire alarm.
It’s telling you something may be going on. Lean into it and see what the warning is about. Then respond appropriately.
Which leads to the next quality …
#5 – Be willing to sacrifice, and feel all the negative stuff that goes with it.
We love comfort, it’s an automatic thing for us to want to be happy.
But that’s not the path to excellence. It’s not the path to your dreams.
We can get so distracted by how good we’re going to feel and how awesome our dream is when we get there.
We might have an enthusiastic start. The middle, however, is often exceptionally challenging as we get tired and meet adversity.
Even when we get to the end and achieve the dream, there is still going to be a lot of work to do to maintain it and keep it going.
You have to open up and feel the negativity. Embrace the anger that’s going to show up when things don’t go your way.
If you don’t have a tolerance for this, you’re going to make choices that bring you relief in the short term. This will come at the cost of turning your dream into reality in the long term.
It’s incredibly important that you align yourself with the idea that this is going to be really, really difficult and embrace the experience.
Let me give you an endurance sport example.
My runners and swimmers often come to me with a mental block, struggling to maintain speed in the middle of races because of the pain of fatigue.
I tell them, “To run/swim faster than you ever have, you have to feel more pain than you’ve ever felt.”
Their response? “I never thought of it that way before.”
And in that moment they realize that pain is an essential and natural part of speed. They open up to the pain experience and actually choose pain in service of their personal best goals.
#6 – Be aware
Can you jump out of yourself and notice that you are having a thinking experience or a feeling experience … rather than being caught up in the content of what you are thinking and feeling?
Put another way, can you notice your own thoughts and feelings in the same objective way you notice other people’s verbal communications and expressions of emotion?
If not, your lack of awareness may be holding you back. You are at risk of acting impulsive, reacting to these internal psychological states and that can sabotage your dreams.
Noticing is critical. It gives you the opportunity to choose your reaction.
For example, when you’re in the middle of, “Oh my gosh, like this is just so hard, I’m overwhelmed, I can’t do this,” take a moment and realize you’ve stopped working.
Observe that you’re sitting there with your hands over your face, and you’re caught up in this negative self evaluation about what you can and can’t do.
If you can stop and notice, it gives you an opportunity to choose your reaction to it.
You can unhook from the content and then say: “Oh, wait a minute, that’s not really helping me. This is important to me, I’ve got a deadline. These are the action steps that I can take. Let me unhook from this thinking and get back to my doing!”
#7 – Stay present
There are times to go into the past and learn from it.
There are times to look into the future and plan for it.
And if you want to maximize your performance in the present moment, then your attention needs to be fully engaged on what you are doing as you do it.
Research has actually found that if you imagine your dreams fulfilled, it can kill your motivation to make those dreams a reality. The imagery can be so powerful that you get the chemical feel good in your brain as if you’ve already achieved it and it undermines your motivation to actually go out and get it! So imagining your dreams can be a double edged sword.
Staying in the present moment while you work always yields the best results.
Now don’t expect to stay locked in for every second of the game or meeting. The mind is built to wander.
Imagine how much better you would be, however, if you caught yourself soon after your attention wandered, and brought it right back to the present moment and the task in front of you, over and over again.
Think you’d make less mistakes?
Think you’d get more accomplished?
I’m sure you would.
This is a skill worth training.
#8 – Review and adjust as necessary.
If you strictly stick to your plan, you will likely miss the best path to turn your dreams into reality.
This is because as you get further along your path, your perspective changes. In business, for example, you understand the market better as time goes on. You are further along in business development and see what is working well and what isn’t. This is an opportunity to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, putting you back on the path to success.
This includes learning from mistakes.
Start by owning up to specifically what went wrong.
Was it an error in my thinking?
Did I not plan?
Did I not spend enough time?
There could be a billion different reasons. Figure out what it was and be willing to adjust.
You might find that your dream changes as you go down the path of turning that dream into reality.
Maybe as your dream becomes reality, it isn’t what you thought it was.
Maybe you’ve changed and discovered you value or enjoy different things, and the dream you had five years ago is different today.
This is important information to adjust to!
These are the eight ways to turn your dreams into reality. Stick with, develop and apply these eight.
You’ll get a lot more benefit from improving in two or three of these areas than adding 15 more things that you could do.
You won’t be perfect in all eight of these areas. Give yourself time to practice and develop these skills. Actually practice them to maximize their effectiveness.
Turning your dreams into reality is a long road, filled with challenges, frustrations and failures along the way that can derail you. The negative thinking, fear of failure and impatience for results are real distractions.
The Success Stories Community is your solution.
It is a group of high achievers, just like you, overcoming their obstacles to excellence so they can turn their dreams into reality.
David Levin, a Founding Member, avid tennis player and cyclist, and an author working on his fourth book has this to say:
“If you do have major goals and plans, Success Stories is all the more valuable. Just as there are specific skills you need to master for whatever your pursuit, there are the skills of achievement, the mental framework that guides your training and practice.
Success Stories provides both the tools and the support community for anyone who wants to maximize their performance in any endeavor. The principles are mostly the same whether you’re an athlete, performing artist, or striving to become the best version of yourself in any profession or personal quest.
I’ve been part of this community from its foundation; I already knew Eddie professionally and I knew that when it comes to performance psychology, he always brings his A game. Scientifically sound, stuff that works, comprehensive, all delivered in an accessible, systematic package. Add Eddie’s enthusiasm and genuine personal investment in your success, and you have a program that needs only one more component: YOUR participation.”
Let’s turn your dreams into reality today. Join us here.