Because I am the Papa to two young granddaughters, I have seen the movie “Tangled” approximately 4,000 times. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Rapunzel and Eugene visit the Snuggly Duckling, a tavern where they encounter a group of rowdy thugs who are prepared to beat them up. Just before the first punch is thrown, Rapunzel asks the magic question,”Doesn’t anyone here have a dream?” A cute song breaks out where the ruffians share their secret dreams: being a concert pianist, falling in love, interior design, being a florist, and the list goes on. Who would have guessed big ugly brutes would have sensitive dreams like this?
I’ll bet you have a dream, too. It might be buried deep down there where no one can see it or know about it, but it’s there… waiting on the day when you muster up enough courage to try.
Let me ask you to sit down, because there’s something I need to tell you that will be hard to hear. Contrary to what most people believe, dreams don’t come true all by themselves. Sure, you can go to Disney, where dreams come true, but I’m talking about a different kind of dream. I’m talking about the dream of becoming someone new and different and better. I’m talking about the dream of achievement, of accomplishment, the kind of dreams that don’t end when vacation is over. These dreams don’t just happen- they are realized by intention.
Maybe you’ve been dreaming, and you think it’s time to go for it. Let me share with you the 5 elements of making your dreams come true.
Make Your Dream Specific
The sharper and more specific your dream, the better you will be able to make a plan to reach it. Don’t just dream about losing a few pounds- dream about losing 30 pounds. Don’t just dream about earning a degree- specifically name that degree. Dreaming in specifics will give you the framework for making a detailed plan on how to make that dream come true. If you want to lose 30 pounds, you can make a schedule, plan meals, and systematically document your progress and know what’s ahead. Make your dream specific.
The old saying goes like this: “You can’t expect a different outcome by doing things the same way.” Unless you are willing to change your routine or your thought patterns or your habits, you won’t see your dream come true. If your dream is to run a 10k, it will never happen until you make the change from a sedentary to an active lifestyle. If you dream of losing 30 pounds, you’ll have to change your eating habits. If you dream of a better relationship with your spouse, the dynamics of your relationship will have to change. Many people are simply unwilling to change, which explains why there are so many unrealized dreams out there.
If realizing dreams was easy, people would realize them all the time. But they don’t, and a big reason is because people don’t want to do the difficult work of learning self-discipline. People who are self-disciplined don’t need anyone to make them get out of bed, or go to work when they don’t feel like it, or say no to key lime pie, or apologize when they are wrong.
But without self-discipline dreams aren’t realized, because our dreams stretch us. In our dreams, we are better and stronger and faster and wiser than we are now. We’re who we aspire to be in our dreams, and there’s only one pathway to who we really want to be: self-discipline.
Refuse to Give Up
We want to see our dreams come true right now, don’t we? But a dream that can be achieved in a week or two isn’t a dream- it’s a trifle. Dreams are big, they are sweeping, they are grand, and those things TAKE TIME! You won’t learn to play that musical instrument in a month, but you will in a year. You won’t lose 30 pounds in a month, but you will in 5 or 6 months. You won’t learn to speak Spanish or change relationship dynamics in a week. It takes much longer. Challenges and obstacles will await you at every turn and during every day. You’ll get tired, you’ll get depressed, and you’ll get discouraged. All dream chasers do. But nothing will stop you unless you give up.
Involve a Friend
There’s an old African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” Every morning at 5AM, I attend a challenging exercises class. I’ve come to love the people in that class, because without them there’s no way I would continue to get up that early just to suffer. But we encourage each other. We pull each other along. I would even say we are chasing our dreams together. Find someone who will join you in the pursuit of your dream.
I believe that no matter who we are or how old we are, there is a dream waiting to be realized. We see pictures of people who are fit, or we see pictures on our friend’s Facebook page of them traveling, and we secretly think, “I wish that was me.” That’s what a dream feels like.
I hope you have a dream. But more than that, I hope that you’re sensing it’s time to make your dream come true. Go for it! Be relentless. Know specifically what you want. Embrace change. Grit your teeth and discipline yourself. And take a friend with you. Good luck, and if you need encouragement, I’m your guy!