How to make a dream come true in 30 days
If you're a writer, the word "November" doesn't only bring to mind falling leaves, Thanksgiving and crisp, clear air. Especially if you're an aspiring novelist, turning your calendar to November brings with it it's very own kind of butterflies and sweet anticipation.
November is the National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) in which more than 250,000 writers come together and pledge to each write a 50,000 word novel in a month. If you dream of writing a novel, the mayhem starts today - make sure you join me and sign up today!
If you're not dreaming of seeing your name in a book store any time soon, you'll be happy to hear that writing a novel isn't the only dream that can be accomplished in just a short month. If you're eager to make it happen! Soon! Fast! Here are 7 key tips, or -
How to make a dream come true in 30 days
1. Realize there's never going to be a perfect time
The sooner you realize this, the better. You'll never have time, you'll never have money and you'll never feel quite ready to make that big first step. No matter if your dream is to learn a language, move, get an education, start a business, get fit or famous - you'll always be able to make excuses, find good reasons not to, and keep pushing it back on your to do list.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. - Proverb
... And the only fail-proof way of failing is to never plant the tree at all. The first steps are always going to be the hardest. For the most part, we probably wish our dreams were real already! Since you haven't planted your tree/made your dream come true yet, you have to make a choice - make it happen - or not. Today is as good as any other day. This year is as good as any other year. You might as well start now.
2. Set a clear goal
Part of what makes NaNoWriMo work so well, is the clear goal. 50, 000 words - and you're done. 50, ooo words might turn into a short novel, but a novel nonetheless. Most dreams aren't so quantitative. When can you call yourself a successful business owner? When is your dream of travelling the world complete?
The key to success is to define it. Don't limit your measuring to math, money or cold hard facts, even keeping a chart recording your mood, stress levels or inspiration can work. A lot of dreams and skills can be measured too - how about setting a goal of passing a language test, painting x number of paintings or start an etsy shop? All of the examples above have a really clear yes/no outcome. You'll either make it, or not. No matter the outcome, a clear goal will keep you motivated and inspired to keep pushing forward.
3. Set an even clearer deadline
The most important factor by far is your deadline. Without a deadline, most dreamwork will quickly end up on your do-it-later-list. After all, there are so many other deadlines in our lives - work, college/university, friends, family, holidays - the list of obligations and due days goes on and on. How can you expect your dreams to compete if you don't set a clear date for yourself? It's easy to think that you've got your whole life, and that there will always be tomorrow.
Ideally, you want to make your deadline short. Too short for your own comfort zone. Doing something in 30 days that it usually takes years to accomplish is a little daunting - which is exactly the kind of challenge that will keep you burning, burning burning. If you set your deadline to 30 days or less, you'll be able to keep an intense schedule without burning out. And it is actually easier to work on something intensely for a month, than slowly for a year.
4. Commit publicly
Telling everyone what you are up to might be a little scary. You'll probably be afraid you won't make your goal ... and then become the subject of embarrassing public humiliation. Well, that fear, my dear - is your fuel. Make it your friend! If you're not ready to announce on your Facebook that you're going to make a huge change in your life - just tell your closest friends. The point isn't only to get you working because you fear the consequences - telling people what you are up to is also to gather your support team. Make sure you give the people closest to you a chance to cheer you on! And because doing something great usually takes both time and focus, it's a good idea to warn everyone in advance - most likely they won't be seeing you much in the period ahead.
5. Divide your tasks into daily goals
Your chance of success is closely related to the failproofness of your plan. For NaNoWriMo, the plan is simple - write 1,667 words every day - and you'll make it. For other dreams, you will have to make your plan a little more detailed. Keep in mind that not all goals can be achieved in a linear way - if you're starting a business for example - you'll most likely see that your sales will go slow in the beginning before they slowly increase. The same goes for learning a language or planning a vacation.
The point is to plan for some work on your project every single day. If you make a clear plan before you start - this will be a lot easier to accomplish.
6. Add a little crazy, magic, spark
Judging by the fact that you're still reading this article, you probably already have the crazy-magic-spark-gene. Only people who are crazy, disregard limitations, nature's laws and have a burning desire will attempt to make a huge dream come true in such a small amount of time! If there's still something holding you back, you'll just have to fire up your crazy-magic and do it anyways. I promise you, nothing can really go wrong. If you don't make it, you can always try again.
7. ... And zombies
When you're writing a novel in 30 days - there will be times when you run out of ideas. And that is when you start adding zombies to your otherwisely very realistic novel. The point is - there will be times in any project when you're worn out, tired and want to give up. This is when you call in the zombies. Whatever you do - just keep going. Disregard any inner editors who keeps telling you what you're doing isn't good enough. Tell your inner critic to get lost and come back after your project is done. Don't set too high expectations for yourself, you can always do it even better next time.
- raise x amount of money for charity in 30 days
- save x amounts of money to realize a dream in 30 days
- start an online store and sell x products in 30 days
- start a blog and get x amounts of subscribers in 30 days
- write a novel in 30 days
- learn a language and take a levelled language test in 30 days
- read x amounts of books in 30 days
- complete a college or university level class in 30 days
- plan a trip abroad in 30 days
- have a no-shopping experiment for 30 days
- work out 30 minutes every day for 30 days
- move to a new place in 30 days
- record your singing and start an online music shop in 30 days
- go to one new place every day for 30 days
- organize a retreat, an event or a conference in 30 days
- plan and host an exhibition and show your art 30 days from now
- Any more ideas to add to the list?
Good luck to you if you are going to write a novel this month, and to you who are starting similar amazing projects. Remember to take care of yourself. And may the journey be as nourishing, rewarding and great as the destination.