I planned a dream date for myself this past Friday night. Just me, my thoughts and dreams.
That’s right. Not that kind of ‘dream date.’
This is the type of date everyone should plan at least once a week, because it’s important to take some time alone to reflect on life, work on one’s goals, and because we could always use more dreamers in the world.
I believe it’s important to really indulge in one’s desires, but like most people, I don’t always have time to invest in my aspirations.
So I started setting aside time for what I call ‘dream dates.’
If you have ideas that you’ve often considered turning into something bigger, I guarantee you’ll be a fan of this process.
How to plan your dream date:
- Start writing a list of the ideas you’ve been excited about in the past 12 months.
Most likely you’ve been putting off committing to any one goal because it’s just too much to wrap your head around with too little time, or maybe you feel silly even considering writing that novel or starting that new company. However, everyone starts somewhere, and making your list will get you excited all over again; you might even find yourself adding new ideas that you didn’t know you had.
- Stop yourself at 5 ideas.
Write down as many dreams as you want, but narrow it down to 5 for the time being. A long list can easily start to overwhelm you, but 5 dreams on a Post It Note is just fun and exhilarating. You’ll likely end up gravitating toward one or two ideas during your ‘date,’ and you can save the others for the following week.
- Find a 3-hour block of time where you can be alone.
You might not be able to find complete solitude, but find an empty bedroom, quiet coffee shop, or park bench. Have a notebook, pen, laptop, and maybe even an inspirational book with you (I suggest the short, yet brilliant, read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz). Take this time to write down ideas, reflect, and search the Internet to spark additional creativity.
- Fall down the rabbit hole.
Get lost in the next 3 hours. Try to cut out all distractions.
You’re not going to finish your dream list, but that’s kind of the point. You’ll probably end up with more dreams than you know what to do with.
For the next 3 hours you’re going to see where one or two different dreams take you. Don’t force one particular idea, let it choose you. Do whatever feels right.
You might end up researching something in particular that takes you from one website, to the next, to the next, and be amazed at the new inspiration that washes over you. It’s also possible that you might just dive right into that influential book for 30 minutes, and come up with a completely new dream to add to the list and focus on for the next 2 and a half hours.
If your dream date experience is anything like mine, you’ll be reluctant to stop at the end of 3 hours. It’ll feel like you got lost in conversation with an old friend, having no idea how you ended up riveted in deep discussion.
Write down your experience. What was it like? What did you discover? I actually have a few notebooks for all my thoughts and aspirations, and someday I hope to get close to accomplishing them all. Pick a notebook, and finalize a few of your current ideas.
- Plan a second date.
So the first date went well? You really hit it off? Set aside 3 hours next week to go on your second date. It doesn’t have to be in the same setting, for the same amount of time, or with the same dreams.
The important thing is that you make you a priority.
Take 3 hours. Imagine. Create. Plan. Innovate. Smile. Repeat.
We go on dates with friends and significant others, but we rarely spend quality time with the person who matters most. Enjoy your own company, and always take the time to dream big.