Good things can happen if you let yourself dream. Successful people dream all the time. They call it visioning, and it helps them set goals so they can work toward living their dream. You can too.
Your hopes and dreams are much more than wishful thinking. They’re the vision you have of yourself in your future. Your dreams are a key step in exploring who you are, what you want, and how you get there.
Why are your dreams or vision so important?
When you believe in your dreams, you believe in yourself and you embrace what you really want. Following your dreams means you’ll:
- Have meaning and direction
- Explore new and interesting paths
- Meet other dreamers
- Stay hopeful and young at heart
- Inspire others
- Have something to share with others
- Develop the courage to pursue what you want
- Live in the moment
- Find contentment
Why are dreams overlooked?
When we are young we don’t have trouble imagining what we’ll be when we grow up. Did the thrill of scoring a goal make you dream of being a pro hockey or soccer player? Did your love of animals let you imagine yourself as a veterinarian or a farmer?
Somewhere along the way, you may have learned from other people in your life to be more realistic and practical. It’s hard to believe in yourself and your vision without the support of people close to you, but if they didn’t know how to pursue their own dreams, they may not have been able to support yours.
You probably still have dreams—likely different from when you were young, but no less important to you today. Remember, you’re never too old to have dreams, and it’s never too late to go after them.
How can you know what your dreams are?
Start by imagining what you want your ideal tomorrow to look like. For this to work for you, your dreams must be what you want, not what your partner, children, parents, or friends want.
If you pay attention to what you like and what's important to you, your dreams will emerge. Dreams may hit you like lightning or reveal themselves more slowly.
Need help focusing on what you want? Check out these workbooks:
- My Choices, My Work, My Life can help you move closer to your vision of your life.
- This Is Your Life: A Career and Education Planning Guide helps youth in grades 9-12 to plan their lives.
How do you change your dreams into attainable goals?
The goals that will work best for you come from your dreams. Imagine what your dreams look like. When you have an image of what you really want, you can set goals that put you on the right track to reaching that dream. For example, if your dream is to care for animals, some goals you could set to reach your dream include:
- Focus on science and math courses in high school.
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
- Complete a post-secondary program that involves working with animals.
The following 4-step career plan can help you reach your goals:
- Get to know yourself—Learn about yourself: who you are, what you value, and what you want.
- Explore occupational options—Discover occupations and explore learning and training options.
- Get Ready by Evaluating Your Career Options—Compare options and make choices.
- Take action—Make a plan to achieve your goals.
Who can help you define your career goals?
- Talk to a school counsellor, a Career and Life Management (CALM) teacher, or a Career and Technology Studies teacher about your plans.
- Talk to staff at an Alberta Supports Centre.
- If you have child services status, talk with your caseworker about your dreams and goals. Visit Youth: Taking Care of Basic Needs on Your Own.
Your dreams may change
You may discover that a particular dream isn’t possible. A fractured and badly heeled ankle could put an end to your dream of being a dancer or an athlete. But even recognizing that dream can allow you to look at other possibilities connected to it. What about coaching or teaching? Or a different sport?
Allowing yourself to pursue your dreams can lead to all kinds of possibilities and even some you never imagined.