7 Steps To Start Designing Your Dream Life

Over three decades I've learned invaluable lessons for designing a dream life.

First, a clearly defined and aligned plan is the fastest way to manifest your desires and goals. In this post I’m sharing the action steps that have worked for me so that by the end of this blog post you can:

  • Bypass strategies that don't work 
  • Use your time and energy for what's important
  • Start designing your dream life now

Mistakes To Avoid When Designing the Life You Want

When I was in my twenties I wasted time with busy-work. It was a bad habit that I didn't realize I had because everyone everywhere always pushed this concept of being busy. For example, many of my bosses and peers believed this system of doing work. 

Fast forward to my thirties and my mindset changed when I realized how wrapped up I was in “doing” without a lot tangible results. I started looking for ways to get real results to who up in my work and personal life.

The big turn around? I admitted that I desired to thrive instead of getting by day to day doing stuff that didn’t add up to much. 

Embracing the mindset that I had the power to influence the quality over my life was a game changer. Focusing on these 4 things helped me get clear about living as my best, highest self:

  1. Get clear on what I want
  2. Learn from my mistakes
  3. Make progress on my dream every day
  4. Use small steps to make it happen

Building on these 4 strategies, here's 7 steps that have also helped me to create my version of a dream life and they can help you, too.

7 Steps To Start Designing Your Dream Life:

1. Take Action

A question you should as yourself frequently is: am I working on my dreams everyday?

If you're not don't worry because your current (or even past) circumstances do not reflect your future self.

By taking time to know what you want in life, mapping out steps to get there…and do the work to make it happen you’re starting the process of lifestyle design. 

For example, when I took action it was clear I needed to make adjustments so that my daily tasks aligned with my goals.

So, take a few minutes right now to write down what you love, are passionate about, and truly desire to see come true. Keep your written note where you can reflect on it everyday to ask yourself: am I working on my dream today? 

2. Strengths

Yes, acknowledging your weaknesses is a real part of lifestyle design. But that awareness doesn't mean you're required to stay stuck there.

Always focus on your strengths.

Use your energy wisely to improve upon what you're good at. Those activities that bring you joy and light you up are your passions that typically are a sign you should do more of them as well as refine those skills.

3. Visualize

Visualizing the future may sound woo-woo but there’s practical results you can get from doing it.

Visualization is the practice of using creative mental images to see yourself completing or achieving goals or milestones. 

For example, I play a mini-movie in my head about the task I need to work through.

I’ll envision working through issues and figure out real-world solutions. When I'm done with my session I'll write down those ideas for solutions and test them out. So, I merge creative imagery with conventional work. 

Let me take a moment to explain that practicing visuals doesn’t always mean seeing the winning moment or big win. The best method is actually using visualization to work though obstacles to reach solutions and apply them outwardly. 

For example, I thought about the person I wanted to become and visualized the daily tasks I needed to do in order to become her.

I went so far as to visualize how I would feel as the best, highest version of myself...and it works for me as a reinforcement to other work I'm doing to make it happen.

By the way, athletes have been using this method for decades to achieve championship results. But it’s something you can do to - it just takes consistent practice. 

4. Write It Down

You'll hear me say this countless times (because it works)...write down your dreams and goals!

Here's an interesting bit of evidence to back up this design framework. In the study led by Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University in California the results indicated you're 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

Here’s what worked for me: I wrote down the most important thing that I wanted to change in my life. Seeing it on paper made it feel real and doable.

Then, I added a few things I could do to get me closer to achieving that change I desired.

By the way, rarely does anyone know all the steps they need to make their dream life a reality. But you do need a overall direction and at least one step figured out. 

Next, I figured out how much time I needed to complete the first step.

Last, I added a "due date" to for finishing up the first step.

Sometimes this sequence is called reverse-engineering-a-goal. If you haven't tried this technique I highly suggest you test it out. Below is a roadmap for you to see how it works:

5. Small Action Steps

Take small action steps in order to create big outcomes because the real work is in the boring, mundane activities. The stuff no one wants to do but gets the work done is how you get results. So, commit to an hour a day or a few hours a week and work on your intentions. 

6. Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress helps with alignment as I talked about in Step #1. 

When you’re aligned toward your intentions, results show up.

If the results aren’t there then you need do a check-in on your progress and adjust action steps as needed to produce the results you want.

7. Work In a Flow State

Flow state is the frame of mind where your energy, body, thoughts and focus (and I like to think happiness) are connected as one. As you work, it feels effortless, time slows or stops, and you’re aligned (yep, there’s that theme again) with you’re true state of being. 

Getting into a flow state takes practice.

But there’s a 3 things you can try to see if it’s a right fit for promoting being in a zone of optimum performance and concentration. 

3 Easy Ways To Get Into a Flow State 

  1. Listen to Lofi beats made for studying or focusing on tasks
  2. Use headphones to block out distractions
  3. Work in an inspirational or quiet space 

Recap of 7 Steps To Start Designing Your Dream Life:

  1. Align your actions to support achieving your dream lifestyle goals
  2. Know what you do well and focus on improving those skills
  3. Visualize yourself doing the things the “dream” version of you would do
  4. Work backwards from your goal and plan out actions steps
  5. Use micro-steps to achieve progress
  6. Track your progress so you know how you’re doing
  7. Use methods, like study music or noise cancelling headphones, to create a flow state for increased focus

If you’d like to go deeper read my article, “19 Visualization Tips to Help You Complete Your Goals”.



Gardner, Sarah and Albee, Dave, "Study focuses on strategies for achieving goals, resolutions" (2015). Press Releases. 266.

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