How to Turn Hopes into Actions
Base your plans on actions to bring your dreams into reality.
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We all have the seeds of hopes and dreams. But often, the seeds stay dormant, in their little paper seed packet, with a picture of the Hope on the outside. We take out the seed packet and look at the picture and say, “someday, I’ll have this Hope!” But it doesn’t happen. That’s because we need to take the seeds out of the package and plant them. Seeds don’t grow unless you plant them, and for some reason, they never say that on the seed packet. Hopes and dreams need to be planted in reality. That means turning Hopes into "Do's"—real life actions with real life deadlines and (bwah hah hah hah) real life consequences.
Choose an action
Next time you take out your seed packet of Hope, begin to plant it by brainstorming actions that will make your Hope come true. You don’t have to do those actions yet, but you do have to identify them specifically enough so you could get started if you wanted to.
“Someday I’ll live in a beautiful house!!” is a great hope, especially if you live in an ugly house with peeling fuschia paisley wallpaper. But it’s too dreamy and vague to lead to success.
What actions could you take to live in a beautiful house? Do some brainstorming. You could simply drive to a nicer neighborhood, find a house you like, and wait until you see the people who live there leave for the day. Then, just move right in. Eat the tasty food in their fridge, try out that amazing Tempur-pedic mattress, enjoy their 60" OLED flat-screen TV. It’ll be great!!! Those actions work great, but when the people come back, they tend to be a bit … testy. So the next day, you have to do it again with a different house.
But it gets hard to outrun the police day after day, so brainstorm more options. You could browse Craigslist, looking for places to rent. You could ask all your friends if they know anyone with a beautiful house who wants to sell it or rent out a room. Or call a realtor and look for a new place. Heck, you could take even more control of your life and buy a lot of toothpicks and glue, and build your own home from scratch.
Every one of those specific actions is a seed you can take as a starting point for achieving your dream. Congratulations! You’ve torn open the seed packet of your hope, and you’ve sprinkled the seeds on the garden of life.
Set a deadline
Now you have to fertilize those little suckers. Fertilize by setting a deadline for you to start taking action. If the actions you identified brainstorming are really big actions, then break a big action down into smaller actions. Then set a deadline for one of the smaller actions.
Since you’re just getting started, choose an action that’s small enough to be easily doable, but large enough that you’ll feel a real feeling of accomplishment and progress once you’ve done it.
Building an entire house out of toothpicks is a really big project. But buying toothpicks and building a test 1-foot by 1-foot section of wall is much more doable. You give yourself a deadline of this Saturday!
As you progress towards your Big Hope, you’ll want to break your project into manageable chunks and set a deadline for each chunk. And when you reach a deadline, for goodness’ sake, celebrate!
With your deadlines, you’ve watered the seeds of Hope. Now, it’s time to pile on the fertilizer.