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how to stop dreaming and start doing

How to Stop Dreaming and Start Doing

Ready to create the life you’ve always wanted? Then it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing.

It’s easy to live passively, let the years pass by, and live in a daydream instead of going after what you really want in life. If you want to have a fulfilling life, you must live intentionally and work to achieve your goals.

Are you wasting your life without realizing it? I’m young, but I already regret the time I wasted in college. In retrospect, there are so many things I would have done differently.

I’ll tell you the story of my first blog so you can see where I’m coming from. If I hadn’t given up on it, I would be in a much different place now.

How I lost and rediscovered my passion for blogging

I started my first blog when I was 19. It began as a personal project to distract me from the heartbreak of a recent breakup. I loved blogging, and I even made a little money doing it!

However, I was in my late teens and early twenties when my blog took off. I was immature. I didn’t fully respect or appreciate what I had created.

I got complacent. I published purposeless, low-quality posts just to put something out there. I stopped learning and growing.

Distractions and low self-esteem destroyed my first blog. Without confidence, it was difficult to create. I stopped making YouTube videos because I hated my appearance so much that I couldn’t bear to look at myself.

I spent time partying instead of writing. I became so depressed that I lost passion for everything: my blog, my relationships, and my whole life.

I struggled hard, and eventually, I gave up on the blog. In the year that followed, I felt an emptiness in my heart because I missed my creative outlet. Time passed by, and I realized that blogging is something that I’m meant to do.

After a year and a half long hiatus, I started my new blog (this one!) I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I do feel self-doubt at times, but I always remind myself that blogging is my passion—it gets me out of bed every day. I can’t give up on the thing that gives me life.

Hear me out. There’s no time left to waste!

I let self-doubt get in the way of my passion, and I don’t want you to make the same mistake.

You might be sick of people telling you to “follow your dreams” or “do what you love,” but that’s seriously what you have to do.

Do you want to start a blog of your own? How about a creative business? Or maybe you want to learn a new skill and quit your soul-sucking 9 to 5?

There’s no better time than now. If you don’t take action, you’ll regret the time you wasted (just like I do.)

Today, I’m going to help you form a plan, conquer the obstacles that are in your way, and take action so you can create the life you’ve always wanted.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. All opinions are mine alone. Read my full disclosure policy for details.

How to create your action plan

Planning is the key to achieve any goal. Time to put on your thinking pants!

Use the steps below to create a plan that works for you. Unfortunately, there’s not a uniform formula for this. Everyone’s action plan will look different based on their goals, background, and work style.

To complete this process, I recommend you get a journal to write down any thoughts, feelings, or ideas that come to you. It’s crucial to be self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses so you can create a suitable action plan.

Here are the steps I recommend:

1. Determine what’s preventing you from taking action.

Is it self-doubt? Fear of failure? Lack of resources?

Think really hard on this question. To overcome obstacles, you must first identify them.

Sit for 20 or 30 minutes, ponder, and be honest with yourself… Why haven’t you started that blog, business, or creative project? Why haven’t you changed careers? What is stopping you?

Make a list of the internal and external obstacles you face. When you write them down, you’ll fully understand what you’re up against.

2. Accept yourself as you are now.

You can’t achieve self-improvement by putting yourself down. The first step is to accept yourself as you are and strive for betterment through self-love.

Change the way you speak to yourself. Use positive self-talk and silence your inner critic. Encourage yourself, celebrate your wins, and believe in yourself. You got this!

If low self-esteem makes it difficult for you to take action, you need to boost your confidence and fall in love with yourself before doing anything else.

You’re about to make some major power moves, and they’ll probably scare you at times. You’ll need to be your own rock when things get tough.

So, as you form your action plan, make sure you practice self-care and self-love regularly. Regain your confidence. Shift your focus to your own aspirations and goals.

Realize that you are amazing just the way you are, and things are only going to get better from here!

3. Visualize your ideal life.

Ask yourself this: What would a perfect life look like for you?

This is a fun exercise because you get to think about your amazing future. No dream is too big, so don’t limit your imagination! We’ll get to the nitty-gritty planning stage later.

Perhaps you want to…

  • Travel the world
  • Own a yacht
  • Publish a book
  • Start a family
  • Design your own clothing line
  • Launch a record label

The possibilities are endless! Write down all your ideas.

If you’d rather create a visual representation of your ideal life, check out these high-vibe vision board tutorials.

4. Identify the differences between your “current self” and “ideal self.”

Use abstract, general thinking for this step. Don’t worry too much about the details—we’ll figure those out in the next steps.

To brainstorm, freewrite or make a list to describe the differences between where you are now and where you’d like to be. Think about what you’ll need to do to become your “ideal self.” Spend at least 15 minutes writing your thoughts down.

Let your ideas flow onto the paper. Make sure you use positive, encouraging language. No negative self-talk allowed!

After your freewriting session, try to identify trends or similarities in what you wrote. For example, if you want to have a healthier diet and exercise more, those are two related goals.

Create a new list of ideas, and group similar goals together.

For example:

To become my ideal self, I will need to…

  • Improve my diet and exercise consistently
  • Finish my bachelor’s degree and go to law school
  • Quit the job I hate and start my own business
  • Love myself and take better care of my mind, body, and soul

See how I grouped similar ideas together in the list above? Each group will create its own vertical in the action plan you’re about to form.

5. Outline the concrete steps you’ll need to take.

If you haven’t been writing anything down up until this point, now is the time to grab a pen and paper.

Your action plan is way more likely to succeed if you fix it in a tangible medium instead of keeping it in your head. Seriously, you want to write this down!

Basically, you’re going to break down each goal from the last step into little goals. Then, you’ll break each little goal down into even smaller steps.

Here’s a visual example to help you understand:

action plan outline

Here’s a breakdown of the diagram:

Main goal: Finish a bachelor’s degree

  • Smaller goal: Get at least a 2.5 GPA
    • Mini goal: Spend 15 hours per week studying
    • Mini goal: Finish all homework two days before it’s due
    • Mini goal: Create flashcards for every major test
    • Mini goal: Check planner once per day
    • Mini goal: Meet with professor if I get a bad grade
  • Smaller goal: Complete 120 credit hours
    • Mini goal: Check degree audit once per month
    • Mini goal: Meet with advisor once per semester
    • Mini goal: Pass all courses with the required grades
    • Mini goal: Limit alcohol consumption to once per week
    • Mini goal: Maintain a balanced lifestyle

You can see how each mini goal falls underneath the smaller goals, and the smaller goals add up to bring you closer to achieving the main goal.

If you need to, you can create even smaller goals underneath the mini goals. Use as many levels of goals as you need to create a concrete action plan for yourself!

6. Write a date next to each main goal in the outline to create a timeline for yourself.

This isn’t supposed to stress you out! It’s meant to motivate you.

By setting a deadline to achieve each goal, you’ll get a better picture of what you need to do and how often you need to take specific actions to achieve your goals in time.

Ideally, you’ll meet your deadlines. But if you don’t achieve your goals in time, don’t stress! Things won’t always go as planned, and that’s okay!

If you miss a deadline, just set a new one and keep working toward your goals!

7. Review your outline/timeline each month and assess your progress.

It’s crucial that you refer back to this outline often so you can see how your progress is coming along. If something changes, you may need to make adjustments to your action plan.

There’s nothing wrong with revising your action plan. In fact, you’ll probably want to!

Goals are not set in stone. You discover new things about yourself all the time, and you might decide you want something different out of life than you initially thought. Don’t be afraid to adjust your action plan if your heart tells you to!

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Success strategies that will help you along the way

Making big changes to your lifestyle is never easy. (It’s not supposed to be!)

Fortunately, there are some steps you can follow to make your personal growth journey a little easier:

1. Maintain a positive mindset.

The truth is that it’s difficult to get anywhere in life with a negative mindset.

Instead of complaining about the challenges you face, find opportunities within them. Be grateful for your ability to improve the situation you’re in. Give thanks to God, the universe, the Big Bang, or whatever you believe in.

2. Ground yourself in the present moment.

Don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t worry too much about the future. Instead, live in the present moment. Focus on what you can do right now to improve yourself and your lifestyle.

Self-improvement happens in the present. The decisions you make right now matter more than anything you’ve done in the past. So, stop ruminating! Let go of the memories that are holding you back and live in the now.

3. Hold yourself accountable.

You must be disciplined if you want to see any progress. Use a planner or habit tracker to record your progress. If you get off track, don’t beat yourself up. Just start again and keep working hard!

4. Embrace failure and learn from your mistakes.

Things will not go perfectly for you. You’ll fail, make mistakes, and you might even have days when you feel like giving up.

But honestly, mistakes are not the end of the world (even if they feel like it at the time). It’s important to learn from your mistakes, but you must move on from them and refocus on your goals. Don’t let little failures hold you back!

5. Use the resources that are available to you.

I want to tell you about this magical thing that has the answer to almost any question. Are you ready?

It’s called… GOOGLE!

I’m being serious. Don’t let lack of information hold you back. If you need to know something, Google it! Or find a resource that will give you the answer.

I guarantee there’s an answer out there for every single question you could possibly think of. You just have to get off your butt and do some research!

6. If you can’t find the right opportunity, create it.

When you’re working toward your goals, you must keep an open mind. I can’t promise you that the perfect opportunity will come your way. But don’t worry! You can always create an opportunity that’s perfect for you.

For example, if you can’t find a job you’re passionate about that fulfills your financial needs, you could start your own business! It’s easier said than done, of course, but my point is that you’re never out of options.

Just like you create your dream life, you can create opportunities for yourself!

7. Don’t let yourself become complacent.

Complacency is dangerous because it brings your personal growth to a screeching halt.

Don’t ever let yourself become too satisfied with where you are in life. You should be proud of your accomplishments, and you should fall in love with your life, but don’t ever stop striving for something better.

Continuous self-improvement is crucial if you want to achieve your highest self. So make sure you keep growing, no matter what!

8. Celebrate your wins (no matter how big or small!)

Every win is worth celebrating. You should be proud of every little accomplishment you make. Each one is another step toward achieving your goals.

Cheers to you!

Whatever you do, just start.

Don’t wait another second to start your personal growth journey. The “I’ll do it tomorrow” attitude can quickly turn into “I’ll do it next week” and “I’ll do it next year.” There’s no better time than now!

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Related reads!

1. 12 Ways to Get Unstuck in Life

2. How to Stop Being Lazy and Unproductive

3. How to Write a Mission Statement for Personal Growth

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Now that you’ve read this post, are you eager to stop dreaming and start doing? Tell me your action plan in the comments below.

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