There are a lot of different questions you should be asking yourself on a daily basis. Asking what the weather’s going to be like helps make sure you wear the right clothing. Asking what’s on your daily schedule keeps you from missing important events.
These kinds of questions are important, but it’s easy to get so bogged down in daily details that you forget to ask yourself about the bigger picture. You forget to look around and really take stock of where you’re at in your life and whether or not that matches up with your expectations.
So, from time to time—maybe, say, once a month—ask yourself the following question:
Are you happy with your life and your job, or do you want more?
When you wake up in the morning, are you filled with joy or with dread? Do you get out of bed excited about everything you have planned for the day, or do you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look at everything on your calendar?
If your answer to this question is “No,” don’t feel bad.
What’s really fascinating is that, of those 99% of readers who said “No” to those questions, probably 98% of them are going to forget they even asked themselves the question and go back to the life they hate. They’re going to go to the job they hate, in a city they hate, with coworkers they hate. And they’re going to do that again and again, because they’re either too afraid to change or because they don’t know how to do anything else.
But that other 1% of people reading this article? They’re different. They want more out of life, and they aren’t going to let anyone stand in their way or stop them. All they need is a little education or a push in the right direction.
So, what should you do if you fall into this group? The answer is, start building the life of your dreams. If you have the sneaking suspicion that there’s more out there in the world for you, take the following steps to start building a life you can be truly happy about.
Step 1: Brainstorm your ideal life.
Your dream might involve luxury experiences like a fancy sports car or a mansion, or it might be completely different. Heck, your “dream” might just be to pay off your debt so that you can invest your paycheck each month instead of sending it off to line other people’s pockets.
Now, before you start getting too bogged down in the details of what it’ll take to make your dream life a reality, take some time to really visualize what you want. Ask yourself:
— What city, state or country would I live in?
— What kind of house do I live in?
— What do I do for work?
— What does my daily schedule look like?
— What do I do for fun?
Make your dreams as real as possible. You’ll need this crystal clear vision to find the motivation needed to turn them into your reality.
Step 2: Define your dreams.
Now, it’s time to get specific. The scale of your dreams determines what it’ll take to achieve them. Imagine how much your dream lifestyle would cost. A luxury house and car would probably cost you a few million pesos, let’s say P100 million. That seems huge right now right? But it’s not as unattainable as it seems.
Don’t believe me? Suppose your dream is to own a luxury sports car like the Porsche 911. Take small steps and calculate how much more you need to put aside each month to afford it.
Sure, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, that might sound a lot, but there are tons of ways you can make some extra cash every month. Giving even one of them a try puts true automotive luxury within your reach, no matter where you are in your life right now.
Step 3: Build a game plan.
At this point, you should know what you want out of your life, as well as what it’ll take to achieve your dreams. Your final step is to build a game plan to make it happen.
Start by identifying the gap between what your dreams require and what resources you currently have access to. If the gap is small, you might be able to fund your dreams by cutting back on some expenses or asking for a raise at work.
If it’s large, a more dramatic change may be in order. Can you take up a profitable side hobby, like freelancing or trading penny stocks? Can you go after more education to qualify for a better-paid job?
Don’t tell yourself it’s impossible—that the gap between your dreams and your reality is too large to overcome. Anything is possible, and the people who don’t give up on the idea of living the lives of their dreams are the people who ultimately come out successful in the end.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.