Do you ever lose yourself to a daydream, either imagining where a new opportunity might take you, or  considering how to arrive at some new reality? These are ways to dream about your future. The trick in either case is transitioning the dream from its life in your mind and heart to a living, external reality. I will certainly not be the first or only person to tell you that realizing your dreams is a process. You must take those hazy ideas and form a plan, set to a timeline, and take concrete action.

So what does action look like? How can you be sure you’re making progress, even when your goal is big, long-term, or requires many steps or quite a bit of personal growth? The short answer is, you check-in with your goals regularly and start checking off steps. You may already have a list of steps, or they may become clear as you set your intentions and get started. Let’s call this part of the Dreamer Process an Accountability Check.

Accountability Check

It’s January (Happy New Year!), a time of new beginnings for many. I don’t set resolutions, exactly, but I do check in with my goals and typically make a large scale project the guide to a particular year. If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have seen my projects by year and I already designated 2018 as the “Let’s Go Sailing” year. I’m writing this blog both to describe the process of realizing your dreams and as a record of my own process. So, let’s check in on the Sailboat Dream.

Building Buy-in with My family

Jeremy, my partner, has been on board (pun inevitable) with the Sailboat Dream from the beginning. He and I have different expectations for the scope and duration of the sailing adventure, but we both want to live on a sailboat and have sailing adventures. My children are excited about the prospect of boat living and travel, as well, because we discuss what that dream will look like all the time. Last week, during a discussion about travel, I described visiting friends and family on the East Coast and said “If we live on a boat…” I was interrupted by my older daughter, Palmer, with “When we live on a boat!” This girl will be a Manifesting Master to be sure! Sharing a vision with the loved ones who will join and support you in your dreams is of paramount importance.

Training

Speaking of joining forces with loved ones, my children have need of some training before we set off. My two girls have begun swim lessons and have taken to the challenge with enthusiasm and drive. The short term prospect of swimming without flotation devices motivates them, while the vision of jumping into crystal blue water from the deck of our sailing home is not lost on them. To these ends, they have begun swim lessons and have seen great progress in only 3 lessons.

Accountability Check with Sailing Boheme. What are you doing in service of your goals?

Palmer and Yaella at swim lessons

Recently, I took a course in field trauma care. If I want to bring my family to remote places in the world, I need to be able to provide a reasonable amount of medical care myself in the event of accidents. Courses like the one I took today are suggested in Voyaging with Kids, my favorite guidebook for this plan. So even though I’m not out learning to sail everyday, I am incrementally moving toward realizing my dream. *I made it into an ad for this training:

Creating and Growing Income Streams

With the goal of living aboard a boat before we save for retirement means working to earn income from the boat. That means we will need sufficient income from location-independent sources. Jeremy has a knack for building income streams from his hobbies. While he works a full-time gig remotely he has monetized his hobbies and earns income from blogging, YouTube, internet marketing, and soon, product creation. Meanwhile, I had my best month ever with my from-anywhere business and I’m building this blog as a platform for future income. I have a lot of learning and work to do to make this blog earn income, but it’s possible, and in progress. I could also add some freelance gigs and I’ve started on a course to become a life coach.

Researching Acquisition

Eventually we will buy a boat. I have a dream-boat (that’s a new one, but I like the pre-2010 models better for the U-shaped galleys) that would require a massive, unanticipated increase in income (this or something better, Universe!). I also have a nebulous sooner-than-later-boat plan, which has been significantly harder to pin down, being tied to reality and the necessity of being open to available options within our desired parameters when we get to the boat-buying stage. I’ve also learned a bit about the process, and I’m realizing that buying a home in Austin might be necessary. The idea of Austin home-ownership has been on the table, but given what I perceive to be a potential real estate bubble and the brief time we anticipate living here (goal is <5 years), we had basically decided to skip that plan. Now, with new knowledge of the boat loan process, a prior home loan with a couple years of dependable payment may be necessary (and potentially a source of rental income when we move onto the boat). I have been enjoying Jessica and Ryan Adventures for the information they share about the lead up to getting a boat. Incidentally, they began their process in Austin, TX as well and just got their boat!

Takeaways

The bold topics above may feature as elements for realizing your dreams as well, even if the specific details differ from my Sailboat Dream. Think about these points in the context of your own plan so you can begin to make progress as well. How are you taking action toward the realization of your dreams? What have you done this year, this month, this week, this very day? Some dreams will come about more slowly, requiring more steps or more time. If you cannot articulate how you are working on your dreams, you are not making progress toward their realization. Are you telling people about your dreams? You should. Talk is cheap, but it begins to form the accountability that everyone needs to overcome the inertia of their comfort zone.

Get out of your comfort zone and start making incremental steps toward realizing your dreams. Consider this your Accountability Check.