We all love to dream every once in a while.
Unfortunately, sometimes we forget to dream.
It’s easy to get so tied up with your current situation and dealing with your life that you don’t think about what you really want out of life.
You might fall into a routine that doesn’t allow you to break out and keeps you from living your ideal life.
Maybe your current money situation acts like a wet blanket and smothers the fire of your dreams.
Thankfully, dreaming doesn’t cost money and it can be a very powerful motivator to help you get what you want out of life.
Here’s how you can take the concept of dreaming up your ideal lifestyle to help your Master Your Finances.
Start Dreaming About Your Ideal Life Now
Let’s pretend everything could change in an instant by snapping your fingers. You could change absolutely everything from the amount of money in your bank account to where you live.
Given this opportunity, what would you change about your current life?
In an ideal world, everyone would have unlimited money and be able to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Sadly, that’s not realistic.
You Can’t Have Everything, But You Can Have Almost Anything
The idea that we can’t have absolutely everything could easily discourage some people and keep them from forming realistic dreams.
Rather than dream up an insane and unrealistic dream, you can dream up a completely believable ideal lifestyle.
You should be aware that you won’t be able to snap your fingers to make it a reality. However, with a bit of planning, some hard work and sometimes even a bit of luck, you can usually make your dream ideal lifestyle a reality.
When you’re dreaming, realize that you will have limited resources. You won’t be able to have everything you want, but you can likely find a way to have the things that are most important to you.
That means you’ll need to prioritize the things you want and go after the things you value the most first.
Think About What Makes You Happy
It’s easy to fall into the trap of consumerism and think a bigger or better thing will make us happier. Rarely is that the case.
Instead of automatically going for the next thing we’re supposed to want, you should think hard about what makes you happy.
For example, a family of four living in a one bedroom apartment would likely be much happier living in a bigger home.
But if that same family of four currently lived in a 3,000 square foot home, chances are moving to a bigger or fancier home wouldn’t bring much more joy to their lives.
When dreaming up your ideal life, focus on what would make you happiest first. That may be spending more time with your family or moving to a safer neighborhood. It might be quitting a job you hate to work in a field that’s more rewarding.
For car lovers, that may even include buying a realistic dream car that won’t cost so much it makes other aspects of your life miserable.
Concepts To Dream About
Dreaming up your ideal life probably won’t happen overnight. It will be a process that takes a lot of self-exploration, but it’s worth it.
Here are a few concepts to think about when dreaming about your ideal lifestyle:
- Where would you live? Is there a particular area of the world you’d want to live long-term?
- What would your house be like? What features would it need to make you want to live there forever?
- How would you spend your day? Walk through each step from the minute you get up until you go to bed.
- Are there any possessions or services you’d love to have that would increase your quality of life?
- When will you want to retire and what lifestyle do you want to live after you retire?
- How much money would you need to really live this lifestyle both today and after retirement?
How Dreaming Helps You Master Your Finances
Now that you have a dream, you have something concrete to work toward.
The dream lifestyle you came up with should motivate you to start making changes so you can make progress toward turning your dream a reality.
Your lifestyle is attainable if you work toward making it a reality every single day. You might not know how exactly how you’ll get there yet, but you can start taking steps to figure that out now.
But what if working toward the lifestyle you dreamed up doesn’t motivate you?
In this case, you need to make sure your dream lifestyle is really what you want not what you think you should want. If it isn’t your true dream lifestyle, start over and come up with a new dream that fits your desires.
Identify Your Money Problems
Sadly, money is one of the major limiting factors that is preventing us all from living our dream lifestyles today.
Thankfully, you can start making changes and Master Your Finances so that your money is working as hard as possible toward reaching your dream lifestyle.
Chances are there isn’t just one or two money issues that prevent you from living your dream life today. Instead, there may be multiple areas to focus on.
One of the biggest money issues you may face is not making enough money.
While there is no short-term solution to this problem, you can actively work to start increasing your income either through moving up at work, finding a new job or building a business.
Another big money problem you might not be aware of is the fact you aren’t spending your money based on what you value most.
If you’re not prioritizing spending, saving or investing your money in ways that help you move toward or live your ideal lifestyle, you’ll never get there.
Prioritizing how you use your money may mean giving up certain things you currently spend your money on today. However, if it gets you closer to your ideal lifestyle, you shouldn’t have an issue with it.
Changing your spending can take time, but doing so is well worth it if it helps you eventually live your ideal life.
Dreaming is great because it helps us identify what we really want. It also gives us an incentive to identify our money problems so we can fix them and move closer to that dream life.
The problem is, some people stop at the identifying step and don’t make the changes necessary to move forward.
Once you’ve identified your money problems, you need to find a way to work toward fixing them. Goals are a great way to make that happen.
Set a goal to increase your income along with sub-goals that help you accomplish your bigger goal. Set a timeline so you have a sense of urgency to get the goal completed.
Set a goal to track your expenses, identify spending that doesn’t align with your goals and correct those issues.
At the same time, come up with rewards for completing each goal that align with achieving your ideal lifestyle.
After you increase your income to your target income, reward yourself by hiring the lawn maintenance crew that you’ve always wanted. Then, you won’t have to learn how to fix a lawn mower that won’t start after sitting all winter.
After you align your expenses with your goals, reward yourself by taking a day off of work to enjoy an activity that fits within your dream lifestyle.
Work Toward Your Ideal Life Starting Today
It’s easy to put off these tasks for another day. At a minimum, you should start dreaming today to make sure you get moving toward your ideal life.
Set aside the next 15 minutes or, if you don’t have time now, 15 minutes right before bed to sit down and ponder what your dream life really looks like. You can even pin this post to remind you to complete these tasks later.
Next, continue through the steps outlined in the post to start moving from your present reality to your dream lifestyle.
If you need help fixing your money, we have plenty of great resources to help you get there.
Tell me a little bit about your ideal life and how you plan to get there in the comments below.
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.