Here is a question, what is the driving force behind your life? Do you have life dreams and what are they? I am convinced that everybody has at least one life dream, most of us have many life dreams. Some of us have given up on our life dreams, others actively pursue them and then there are those that want to pursue their life dreams but find something is lacking in their ability to do so.
How do you recognize your life dreams? I have found that the following are characteristics of life dreams:
- They were created in childhood or as a young adult
- They were the result of a fond memory or life changing moment
- They have never gone away, it is always at the back of your mind
- The themes behind the dream are intertwined with your personality
- Choices you made that pulled you away from your dream are the ones you regret the most
Let me elaborate on the above points.
Life dreams were created when you were young
Most of our Life Dreams started when we were young, usually in childhood or teenage years. For example, my husband saw a certain car as a child and that became his favorite car. It was a Mazda MX-6. Since he first saw the car he wanted it. This desire continued through his teenage years and into adulthood. When he needed to replace his first car (an Uno), he started looking for an MX-6. I am happy to say that he found one that was in excellent condition and was able to buy it. That is his dream car and he says that he plans to drive it for life.
Another example from my life is that I saw a house in a magazine when I was a teenager. The magazine also happened to have the floorplan of the house in it. I knew right then that it was my dream home. I have built the house so many times on The Sims that I know the plan by heart. I am working hard to be able to have my dream home built, but I am not at that point yet.
What is that one thing you have desired since you were young?
Life dreams are the result of a fond memory or a life changing moment
I have fond memories of my family life. As a child and teenager, I had a close extended family (on my father’s side). We would often go to my grandparent’s house for family dinners on a Sunday. My older cousins used to play games with me, and when my younger cousins came along I used to play games with them. The only thing I wished for was a baby brother, my mother was unable to have more children after me.
These fond memories made family life an important value for me. I wanted to get married and raise my own family more than anything else for a very long time. I am now in a wonderful marriage to an amazing man and have 2 children.
The cherry on the cake is that God made my first born a boy. I have often thought that my desire for a baby brother transformed into a desire for a son. Once I had him, I was ready to have a little girl. I think I would have raised a tomboy if I had a girl first.
The next question to ask yourself, what are the fond memories and life-changing moments in your life that shaped your values and as a result, your dreams?
Life dreams never go away
Once a life dream settles in, it never goes away. It is always there in the back of your mind, coming to your attention. The examples I gave above have always been a part of my life since they were established. Another dream that has come true for me was to have an English Cocker Spaniel as a pet. When I bought my first home I made sure the yard space was large enough for the breed. I realized afterward that the yard was a little on the small side, but it was good enough.
What are the dreams and desires that are not going away?
Your life dreams are intertwined with your personality
You may find that you have specific interests and skills that are part of your personality. I’ve got a strong desire to teach others and I see the potential in other people. I see what people would be like if they were the best they could be. I also have a natural skill in organizing, planning and plotting a path from here to there. These powers combined have given me the dream of working with other people to help them achieve their goals.
What interests and skills do you have that build towards your life dreams?
Your bad choices are the ones that are misaligned with your life dreams
We all make bad choices in life, but the ones that cause us the most regret are those that have harmed us in achieving our life dreams. My life dream of owning my dream home has been harmed because I didn’t see the value of being a team player earlier in my life. It was also harmed because I didn’t see the value of focusing while in school and building essential skills during that time – I watched too much television and had too many pen pals. And the dream was harmed by unnecessary spending. I’m great at setting up a budget, but a novice at sticking to it. I’ve always been able to see the path I needed to take, but I am only now cultivating the discipline required to follow through.
Do you have any regrets that harmed your life dreams? What are they? How could you have behaved differently? What lesson do you need to learn?
Exercise to determine your life dreams
This is the start of a new year and it is a perfect time to figure out your life dreams. Buy yourself a cheap notebook, any kind will do. Do the following every day:
- Turn to the next blank page
- Write down 10 dreams or desires – the first 10 that come to your mind. These dreams do not have to be the same every day. You may find that something influenced you during that day and you will write “visit Rome” for example, but a month later visiting Rome is no longer important to you, but buying a yacht is.
You will find that after a few months you will write down the same dreams in the same words every day. When this happens, then you know that these are your 10 dreams for your life.