Do you want this year to be better than last year? If so, you need to start the year right—not by making resolutions and vowing to keep them—but by dreaming big dreams. That’s right! This post is officially giving you permission to dream about what an awesome year you could have.
Why you need permission to dream
If you’re worried about using time productively, you might think dreaming about pie-in-the-sky stuff that will never happen is a total waste of time. This article from LinkedIn describes some of the key reasons why dreaming big dreams is actually good for us.
Dreaming about what could happen in the future helps us in several ways.
- Dreaming allows us to brainstorm possibilities we otherwise wouldn’t think of
- It helps us build momentum and gives us excitement to reach for more.
- Dreaming changes our focus to what is possible, instead of only seeing what is not possible.
That’s why I’m giving you permission to dream today. I want you to “waste” a few minutes dreaming about what could happen this year. But, before you start, a few ground rules…
Consider dreams for each of your life buckets
We tend to have expectations, goals, agendas, and dreams for our work life, home life, and personal life. Therefore, it’s helpful to spend time dreaming about all of your life “buckets.”
For the purposes this post, I suggest considering these five buckets:
- Work (Career, future dreams or goals, acquiring new skills)
- Relationships (family, friends, social activities)
- Health (diet, fitness, rest, mental health, emotional health)
- Service (ministry or volunteer efforts, taking care of relatives, social causes)
- Personal (self-care, hobbies, creative interests, self-awareness)
Feel free to rename and reshuffle the buckets to represent the distinct areas of life that matter to you.
Don’t edit, judge, dismiss or dissect your dreams
This exercise is not about being logical, realistic, or sensible. It’s about giving your heart and soul a chance to be seen and heard. Therefore, write down all the ideas that pop into your head, no matter how impractical they seem. Actual logic can be applied later.
Remind your inner critic that you are NOT writing a list of expectations. Or goals. Or self-improvement ideals. You are not going to be held responsible for these dreams, so there is nothing to be afraid of.
Don’t judge the “merit” of one dream vs. another. Dreaming about a vacation in Hawaii is not “less worthy” than dreaming about solving world hunger. Just open yourself to your subconscious and write whatever comes to mind.
Finally, don’t spend time figuring out how to accomplish these ideas. Turning dreams into reality comes later. Today’s goal is to come up with as many dreams as you can in a few minutes.
Some advice on how to do it
- Set a timer. I suggest 10-15 minutes, but it’s up to you. If you can spend more time, do it!
- As much as possible, keep writing, without stopping to think (which allows that inner critic to start making judgments).
- Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or sloppy writing. (Nobody else needs to see this. You can throw it away when you’re finished, if that makes you happier.)
- Consider dreams for each of your life buckets. You can make separate lists for each or jumble them all together. Your choice.
- If you get stuck, start writing questions. For example: “I can’t think of anything else. Why am I stuck here? What else can I dream about ….” Most of the time, writing a few questions will get your idea generator going again. (If you need more dream inspiration, read this post.)
- If you’re like me, you’ll start out with practical dreams that focus on work and other tangible aspects of life. After you’ve gotten those off your chest, you may find your ideas shifting to more spiritual, creative, or abstract things. Hooray for you! The deeper and more vulnerable your dreaming goes, the more inspiration you can find.
Are you ready to create your dream list?
Write this sentence across the top of the page: If all goes really well in 2023, what would I love to see happen in my life this year?
Then set the timer and start dreaming.
What do I do with these dreams?
It may be that you discovered an idea so awesome you need to act on it immediately. If so, go for it!
Otherwise, when you’ve finished, set your dream list aside for a few days, and let things simmer in your subconscious. Then go back over your list, and look for the dreams that tug at your soul.
Select 1-2 dreams in each life bucket and let them inspire you this year. Take one small step toward reaching them this week.
Lisa E. Betz is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and unconventional soul. She shares her quirky mysteries and thoughts on the joys and challenges of living authentically at lisaebetz.com.