Reach Your Desire Future By Daydreaming
...and a little pinch of reality
A year ago, my dream came true without me realising it.
As a little girl, I always daydreamed about living on a ranch, riding horses, mustering cattle, and being with a cowboy. There was just a little hick-up. I was born in the Netherlands. We have horses, and we even have cattle but riding my horse in the endless fields as far as the eye can see, that's a bit of a challenge in the Netherlands. And my desired future was more than just these practical conditions. It was a hunger for a different lifestyle. While I daydreamed about this life, I also considered the obstacles. And for a six-year-old girl, these obstacles were massive. But now, as a 30-year-old woman, this little's girl dream has become a reality.
And you know what, There is nothing special about me or my life that made my dream come true. You can do it too! The best part... it can all begin by just sitting down and daydream about your desired future.
First, let us discuss what daydreaming is. The dictionary describes daydreaming as followed; a series of pleasant thoughts about something you would prefer to be doing or something you would like to achieve in the future, but which is not likely. -- Not likely?! Whooa, hold your horses, right there!
I plead for positive thinking and believing in your own strengths and possibilities to achieve the things you want in life.
But there is a difference between positive thinking and daydreaming. Positive thinking is generally limited to our expectations in life and believes in what might be possible. This restricts your freedom of thinking about your true desired future.
The Danger of Daydreaming
What did you last daydream about? Did it become a reality? A wild guess is that it has not yet happened in real life. This can be the risk of daydreaming. Research shows that the more people positively daydream about their desired outcome, the less likely it is to happen. You can apply this to passing an exam, chasing a relationship, or getting that promotion. There has been an experiment with students that were asked to positively daydream about passing their exam. Surprisingly, this resulted in not putting as much effort into the actual behaviour of studying, causing a lower than the desired result.
It's pleasant for that short moment of time to positively daydream about these wished outcomes, but it doesn't help implement the desired future in the long run. In a way, it keeps us from actually doing what we need to do in behaviour to achieve this desired outcome. Results show that daydreaming eases your motivation to solve or deal with obstacles that reality will throw in your face on your journey towards accomplishing your wishes.
It's about daydreaming about your desired future, visualising the outcome if this desired future becomes reality, awareness of possible obstacles of reality and creating your plan how to deal with these obstacles!
How to use daydreaming to achieve your desired outcome
Okay, now the fun part. Personally, I never thought I would move to the other side of the world to fulfill my childhood dream. Now I'm more aware of the process that made my dream become a reality—something called MENTAL CONTRASTING.
(Okay, I'm going to use some difficult concepts, but bear with me. It's actually really cool)
Mental Contrasting connects the desired future with reality and the obstacles that might come with this reality. All this means is, instead of only exploring the future by thinking about all the possibilities and the positive outcome, you also daydream about the obstacles that might occur while turning your daydream into reality. This will prepare you to deal with any setback or obstacle on your path.
An example would be;
Maybe you want to lose weight. To find the obstacles of reality, think about what can prevent you from achieving this goal on a practical level and within yourself.
Obstacles of reality; cravings, healthy food is generally more expensive, making a salad takes longer than opening a bag of chips. But also not starting because of the fear of failing. Not wanting to go to the gym because you're ashamed of your body. Obstacles can vary from practical to personal.
It is is not a guarantee that you can handle everything that will get in your way, but you will be well prepared!
After you've done the mental contrasting (Daydream about desired future + obstacles of reality), we go one step further, IMPLEMENTATION INTENTION.
Implementation Intention is a planning technique that helps you to overcome obstacles and gives you the instruments to overcome these obstacles. You have a clearer vision of which obstacles can occur on your journey. Through Implementation Intention, you will be preparing the 'what if's,' "If this obstacle gets in the way, I will solve it this way."
Because daydreaming gives you the freedom of imagination, you can use your imagination to portray possible obstacles that can stand in the way of reaching your wish and solving them all in your mind. This is not a guarantee that you can handle everything that will get in your way, but you will be well prepared!
Back to the example;
What if I get cravings?
I make sure I don't have any unhealthy food at home.
What if I'm not motivated because deep down, I think I will fail?
Don't think about your end goal of losing 20 kgs. Think of your goal as having a healthier lifestyle. Whenever you eat something healthy instead of unhealthy or are more active than normal, you have already achieved your goal for that day, and you are less likely to "fail." If you only look at the end result, that's a big mountain to climb. Rather look at all the little steps that you can take to climb that big mountain. They will all add up in the end!
Increase the chance of making your dream happen.
This mental exercise will help you;
gain a clearer perspective of how likely it is to achieve your desired future
gain a more realistic view of the bumps in the road
decide if your daydream is really what you want
make your (day) dream come true.
This exercise can also help you let go of your wish (if the obstacles are too big and not worth your energy), postpone your goals (It's achievable but not yet), or get even more motivated to reach them and go all in!
Okay here we go, ask yourself these questions while daydreaming.
What is it what you really want?
What is the best outcome if I fulfill my wish? (most of the time, this is a feeling)
Imagine this best outcome.
Identify the obstacles of reality that stand in the way of fulfilling that outcome. What is it in you that gets in the way of reaching your goal? (Maybe try and dig deep here)
Imagine this obstacle --> When you truly imagine this obstacle, you will understand what you can do to overcome this obstacle.
Implementation Intention; If you have to face this obstacle in real life, I will (behaviour or reaction) to overcome this obstacle.
Imagine doing this behaviour that overcomes the obstacle.
Now you are ready to make your daydream into a realistic goal, and you will be prepared to deal with whatever crosses your path.
Of course. It is easier said than done. And you will get better through practice. But I believe in your potential to discover what you really want in life and live your daydream in real life.
A year ago, I started to live my dream, and it's also possible for you! Could you use a little bit of guidance in your journey? Just let me know, and I'm here for you!