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How do you make your dreams come true?

expectations goals productivity systems Aug 06, 2023
Smiling young woman standing in front of a campfire with sparks swirling around her.

You have to dream before your dreams can come true.

- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam


The most common to-do lists I find people making are scribbled-on pieces of paper scattered everywhere. Notebooks, sticky notes, loose-leaf pages, whatever’s lying around — in addition to some random notes on the phone or computer.


These lists often consist of things that need to be taken care of immediately: phone calls, appointments, and things to buy.


To me, this feels like playing tennis, taking everything coming over the net, without stopping to ask if tennis is even a game you’re interested in.


To be clear, if it works for you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing life this way. But if you want to do something different and just don’t know where to start, over the next few posts I'll be bringing you my method for creating to-do lists.


The first step is to shift your horizon.


Instead of looking just a day or two ahead, I encourage you to look far beyond your current reality and spend some time daydreaming. Find a notebook, index cards, some poster board, or, for my techies, an Obsidian note, and start filling it up with “It would be awesome to…”



  •  There is no reason to take this seriously. We are so conditioned to setting goals and working hard to achieve them that even daydreaming becomes heavy. It’s as if, because you dreamed it, you absolutely will have to follow through. If serious daydreaming isn’t oxymoronic, I’m not sure what it is!
  • You can write small and big things on the list — things you can have done by tomorrow as well as things that might take 20+ years.
  • You don’t have to look to specific time horizons. I know it’s customary to think about a 20, 10, and then five-year window, but I don’t see any reason to limit your thinking that way.
  • There’s no right or wrong way to do this. This is not goal setting. It’s fantasizing. Let your mind run free for a while and see what happens.


If daydreaming isn’t your thing, here are some examples others have shared to get you started.

It would be awesome to...

  • Have enough money to retire in 15 years
  • Be able to complete a marathon
  • Live off-grid
  • Spend a month overseas
  • Be healthier
  • Be fluent in a second language
  • Take a day off to do precisely nothing
  • Have a better relationship with my children
  • Get married
  • Always have clean, uncluttered cars
  • Own 50% less stuff
  • Earn a pilot's license
  • Consistently sleep through the night
  • Write more thank you notes
  • Invest 20% of salary each year

Now, pour yourself your drink of choice, settle into a comfy spot, and start imagining the game of life you actually want to be playing!


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