Tag Archives: dreams list

How to create your own Dreams List

I frequently make reference to My Dreams List in this blog.  People often ask me about it.  You too can use this tool to begin the process of fulfilling your dreams today.  The first step that I recommend is to create your own Dreams List.  Doing so will only take 15 minutes, requires no special training or skills, and could be the first step towards making your dreams come true.

We each must dream for ourselves.  No one else can or will do it for us.

Your time is limited, so don’t let it be wasted living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. You’ve got to find what you love. Do what you believe is great work. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.
Steve Jobs

Why is the Dreams List such a powerful tool?

Because it allows us to get clear about what we want and then to remain conscious of it.  See Why Dream Big and My Dreams List for more information on this.

So, what is a Dreams List?

It is the list of things that I would love to happen if I had no constraints whatsoever.  The things that I wish I could accomplish or experience if I had unlimited resources.

How do you create your own dreams list?

Get a blank piece of paper, and write the following across the top — “If I had unlimited time, money, and ability, I would…”  Then find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, and for the next 15 minutes, write down whatever you would love to accomplish or to experience in your life.

This is a brain-storming exercise.  Do not edit yourself.  Write down whatever comes to mind.  Do not limit yourself in any way.  Remember that you have unlimited resources and no constraints.  All obstacles will be eliminated.  Everything is possible.  Dream like a child would.  Let your dreams pour out onto the paper.  There are no wrong answers.  Have no concern for what others think, why you want something, or whether it is worthwhile.  If you need more time than 15 minutes, keep going.  On the other hand, your list doesn’t need to be long or even complete.  You can always add more dreams later.  Have fun with it.

Not sure what to write?  People often have dreams about their health, education, career, home, lifestyle, family, relationships, travel, etc., but your dreams are yours alone. Don’t feel obligated to write anything down, even about your spouse or your kids, unless it is something that you really want for yourself.

I’m too <fill in your own consideration(s) here> (e.g. old, busy, poor) to dream.

You’re never too <repeat your own consideration(s) here> to dream.  Everyone has dreams.  There is nothing, I repeat, NO-THING (e.g. young, stressed, sick, or afraid) that can or should prevent you from dreaming.

But why write down things that I’m unlikely to ever accomplish?

It doesn’t hurt to dream.  You never know what will happen.  Perhaps one or more of your dreams will come true.  Wouldn’t that be great?  Something is better than nothing.  What could it hurt to try?

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”
— Bob Goddard 

OK, I did it.  Now what do I do with my list?

Keep it.  Put it some place where you’ll look at it periodically, at least once a month.  For example, on the inside cover of your journal or daybook, or on your bedside table.  Those who are more technically inclined might put in a spreadsheet, but print it out and don’t forget about it.  It’s important to review it periodically.

What else?  Shouldn’t I start taking action to achieve my dreams?

If you want to, then please do.  If you’re not ready yet, that’s OK too.  Just keep reviewing your list periodically.  Add additional items if you want, but don’t remove any.  If you see an opportunity to fulfill a dream (or take a step towards it) then go for it.  If you’re the planning type, consider your dreams when you plan your year or your month.

Final Thoughts

I believe that by creating my dreams list and remaining conscious of my dreams, that I am fulfilling more of those dreams than I would have otherwise (Dream Big).  I believe that the same thing can happen for you.  Please try it and let me know how it goes.  If you’ve already done it, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.

The word 'DREAM' written in sand with a puple tinge

My Dreams List

"I have a dream" printed on sign on a bulletin board
I have a Dreams List. It is what has become known in recent years as a ‘bucket list’, a list of things to experience before I ‘kick the bucket’. Over the years, my list has become an important tool to help me achieve my dreams. More information about why I choose to Dream Big and Live Boldly is available in earlier posts.

My Dreams List is an evolving thing. I review it several times a year. I incorporate it into my annual planning, selecting some dreams to pursue each year. I add new dreams to the list from time to time. I change priorities. To guard against ever giving up on a dream, I never remove anything from the list. Lower priority items remain there to remind me of what I once thought was important. As a result, I will probably never fulfill all of the dreams on the list, which is fine with me.

I started my Dreams List in 1991. I was 25 years old, recently graduated from university and working at my first professional job. My first list was hand-written, done as an exercise at a personal finance seminar that I attended. When I started my list, it seemed like a purely mental exercise, a bit of fun that would put aside and soon forgotten like the notes from virtually every other seminar I’ve ever intended. I was not particularly invested in it. The downside risk of writing down my dreams and never achieving them seemed more likely and more intimidating than the chances of ever fulfilling them. But I wrote them down nonetheless. In the following years, my awareness of my dreams ebbed and flowed. I was focused on my career. I got married. We bought our first house. Interestingly, none of these things was specifically on my Dreams List, but they were important to me (results speak) and essential to achieving my other dreams.

It was 9 years before my first dream came true. Two years later, I completed 5 more. Encouraged by my positive results, I began to focus more on my dreams. I reviewed them more frequently. I began to target specific dreams to pursue. With greater awareness came even greater results. I have already fulfilled more of my dreams than I ever would have imagined when I began.

Over the years, my Dreams List has grown and changed dramatically. It currently has 162 items on it. Of these, 56 have been completed. I plan to fulfill 14 more dreams in 2012, although the actual number will probably be less (I tend to bite off more than I can chew). There is something very satisfying about returning to my list to check off a dream that I added 20 years earlier, but the list is just a tool, a means to my goal of living a greater life.

I believe that having dreams and remaining conscious of them will increase the likelihood that they will occur. Writing down my dreams helps me with both of these. It also helps me to believe that I’m capable of fulfilling my dreams. I choose to believe that I can do virtually anything that I set my mind to.

I do not believe in magic nor pseudoscience and am therefore skeptical of the notion that intention alone can manifest certain things in my life. I have difficulty buying into Law of Attraction ideas such as those postulated in the books The Secret (Ronda Byrne), Think and Grow Rich (Napolean Hill), and The Power of Positive Thinking (Normal Vincent Peale), although I have read all three. But it is my actual experience that if I get clear and remain conscious of the things that I want, they are more likely to happen. Although the mechanism is unclear, it makes sense to me that this should be the case.

The first step is daring to dream in the first place (Dream Big). The second is to remain focused on my vision and to deal with whatever comes up (Live Boldly).

“A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” — Joyce A. Myers

The word "Dream" written in the sand with water