This article is part 5 in our A Week of Excuses series. Why do we put off those things we want most in life? Why do we let excuses stand in the way of pursuing our dreams? In this week long series we dive into these questions, deliver actionable steps for common obstacles, and provide resources to help you take the first step to making your dreams a reality.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu“.
It seems like such a simple statement but it is the first step that truly is the hardest. For Betsy and I, it started with a statement made over drinks with friends that we’d take a year off to travel the world. That one step (ok, it was a giant leap) was by far the hardest part of the process. From there we continued to increase the momentum and have spent the last 2.5 years expanding our dream to the point that it’s taken on a life of it’s own.
Not knowing how to get started on any endeavor is not only common, but generally expected. If you have big dreams, and we know you do, then the idea of how you will achieve them is likely overwhelming. In many cases you may not know anyone else who has ever done something like this and thus lack even a point of reference.
The First Step is Action
Once you commit to making your dream a reality it is critical that you follow it up with action. Action can take a wide variety of forms, but the key is to take a small step now towards your dream, then commit to following it up with another step within a specific timeframe (ideally the next step).
To help get your brain juices flowing, here are a set of first steps you could take this week to take the first step:
- Set a date – an excellent first step for any dream
- Identify people who have done it in the past
- Identify people who will support you in your dream. Friends and family are a great place to start
- Explore websites, blogs, and forums to learn from others’ experiences
- Google for terms around your dream (i.e. travel the world for a year)
- Tell one person about your dream. Share why you are doing it and why it is so important. Then ask for their support in making it come true
- Look for groups in your area to connect with like minded souls
- Go to the bookstore and peruse the magazines. Pick up a few that touch on your goal.
- Create a Pinterest board to start capturing all your research. Spend an hour just exploring your dream and saving them here to share with others.
- Create a blog and write your first post. We’ve been surprised how publicly stating your dream can help keep you on track when you falter.
10 Dreams with Resources to Take the First Step
To help get your started here is a list of 10 dreams where people have told us they struggled on were to get started. I’ve provided resource with information designed to help you take a specific action. I hope you take time this week to take the first step towards your dream.
- Move to a new country – 16 additional steps to help you keep the momentum up
- Start a farm – start first with WWOOFing to get a feel for it and meet others who can help and support you
- Buy/run at Bed & Breakfast or Guesthouse – great resource to learn more along with set of steps to go deeper
- Start a website – buy a domain and Baby Plan hosting account (use discount code “movetohostgator” to save 25% on your hosting order)
- Teach English in another country – good introduction to the requirements. As a bonus, here is a comprehensive resource for step #2, locating your idea overseas teaching job.
- Become a freelance writer – step #1 is apparently to tell people you are a professional writer. Alternatively, for the cynics out there, here’s something to make you smile
- Get an article published in The New Yorker – here is their online submission form. In addition, this article provides excellent tips and advice to make your submission stand out.
- Learn how to brew beer – after following the easy getting started steps here, my only request is you save 2 bottles for us to try it when it is done.
- Participate in an archaeological dig – nice list of different dig sites around the world. Start your research here, and get ready to dig up some history.
- Make loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries – microfinance (small loans to entrepreneurs) has sprung up in the last 10 years. We love Kiva and recommend them as a great place to get started.
Tomorrow we’ll be discussing companionship and the excuse we’ve heard often “I don’t have anyone to do it with“.