Solid Ways To Go From Dreaming To Doing And Leveling Up!

Dreams inspire you to build a life bigger than what you have now. But dreams without taking action are just that… dreams.

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to shift from dreaming into doing. 

Taking action means laying out a plan to achieve your goals and putting in a consistent effort to achieve them. Over time, you can make the visions of your dreams real.

Follow these tips for how to take action and create the life you want.


1. Visualize yourself taking action

You may have a general vision of what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to become a successful entrepreneur, build wealth, or go back to school.

When your goals are too vague, you’ll have a difficult time making them happen. Getting a clear picture of your goals will illuminate the path forward.

Research shows that imagining goals in detail enhances motivation, which leads to taking action. When you visualize your dreams, they feel more attainable. This increases your likelihood to work toward your dreams.



During visualization, you activate the same area of the brain as performing the task. So when you actually set out to do something, like a job interview or crossing the finish line, you perform better as though you had already accomplished it.

Close your eyes and imagine exactly what the life you want looks like. Get specific. Take a piece of paper and write down the details of your dreams. This will give you a better idea of what you want to work towards. You can also create a vision board to remind you daily of your big goals.


2. Develop a Personal Leadership Philosophy

When you struggle to take action on your dreams, it’s often a question of being distracted by too many competing demands on your attention. You have limited resources of time, energy, and focus, so it’s important to consciously choose where you spend them.

“Developing a Personal Leadership Philosophy (PLP) empowers you to declare YOUR truth and stand tall within it, to operate from a position of strength that ennobles you.”


Leadership and productivity expert Deb Calvert recommends establishing a Personal Leadership Philosophy (PLP) to effectively lead and achieve. This process enables you to get super clear on your values, and then to uphold those values through your goals and habits.

Think of it as a personal mission statement, a guiding set of principles that defines your values and priorities.

When you have a PLP, you’ll better understand the direction of your dreams and resist external influences that steer you off course. You’ll also have an easier time making day-to-day decisions and know how to prioritize your life.


3. Identify your motivators

Sometimes the answer is simple to this big question, “What’s stopping me from taking action?”

Maybe you don’t really want this goal you have in mind. Maybe it’s just something you think you should do or you should want. Maybe it’s someone else’s dream.

You may need to distinguish whether you are working toward your true goals, or the expectations of others. How do you identify what you actually want versus what other people want for you?

Start by exploring your intrinsic versus extrinsic motivators.

Intrinsic Motivators

Intrinsic motivation means pursuing goals based on internal factors. This refers to those heartfelt desires from deep down inside that drive your self-motivation. These actions seek rewards that are naturally satisfying, like developing healthy habits, building stronger relationships, or developing a passion.

Extrinsic Motivators

Extrinsic motivation is based on external factors. You pursue extrinsic goals to attain an external reward, like money, status, or a good reputation. Examples can include getting that promotion, graduating from a good school, or improving your appearance to please other people. Extrinsic goals can often result from outside pressures, from family or society, and not actually matter to you when you really think about it.

Both intrinsic and extrinsic goals are worthwhile, so long as you understand the difference and avoid chasing empty goals. Ask yourself:

  • Does this dream truly matter to me?
  • Why do I want to pursue this goal?
  • Will this accomplishment gain the approval of others?
  • What kind of rewards do I expect?


4. Set goals

What does taking action mean? Shifting dreaming into doing.

Daydreaming about your goals won’t yield results unless you start making a consistent effort. You have to engage the logical part of your brain to plan and organize, not just the creative dreaming part.

Until you make that shift, a big dream can seem too large and far-fetched — it can feel completely overwhelming and scary. Those negative feelings are a huge cause of procrastination.

Start by looking at your big dream. What individual, concrete steps will it take to get there?

Make a to-do list, a step-by-step guide that will lead you to achieve what you want. Set a deadline to accomplish each step, with enough space and flexibility. Then commit to working through your plan.


5. Take breaks to avoid burnout

Taking control of your life does not mean cramming as much action as possible into your days.

Modern society often keeps people on a hamster wheel that never seems to slow down. Sometimes we push through until we can’t perform anymore.

Then we burn out.

Sometimes the very real stresses of everyday life leave you with no energy to take action on your dreams. And sometimes, in pursuing your dreams, you can find yourself on the edge of burnout. You may start to believe you don’t have what it takes, when in fact, you just need a break.

In their book, Burnout, twin sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski discuss the real challenges that can lead to burnout. While working on her PhD, Amelia felt overwhelmed and exhausted. Despite her better instincts, she continued to push forward, which eventually landed her in the hospital with stress-induced inflammation.

Pressing forward when you feel exhausted will only lead to poor performance and can take a serious toll, physically and mentally. Burnout can also interfere with your ability to fulfill your role in relationships and as a parent, especially. As Emily Nagoski puts it, “In order to be a great caretaker, you need to take care of yourself.”



As you work toward your dreams, check back in with yourself. Tune into your current state. Stay self-aware and listen to your body.

When you feel tired, drained, or stressed, take a break. You’ll come back to your dreams invigorated and ready to tackle the next challenge with a clear head.


6. Reduce your stressors


taking action by reducing stressors


If your days leave you frazzled and resentful, you are more likely to zone out with mindless entertainment or use substances to relax — instead of working towards your goals.

If that’s you, don’t blame laziness or procrastination. Instead, look for ways how to overcome overwhelm, eliminate stress, creating the mental space and positive energy that will fuel your goals.

In their book, Burnout, authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski point out the difference between the external stressors that everyone experiences, and the internal stress response in the body.

Many people stay focused on managing these external stressors, while ignoring the physiological stress in the body. Ultimately, this can lead to severe illness or worse.

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Unfortunately, many modern day sources of stress, such as parenting or getting stuck in the wrong job, do not get resolved by running away from them. But some of them can be managed or changed to give you back a sense of control in your life.

Structures in your life put you in a position that can make it difficult to slow down and protect your own wellbeing. You may need to take a step back, look at your life, and reassess your roles and boundaries. Take an inventory of your stressors, all the things you do, and people you take care of.

Reducing commitments, especially those that cause you to feel resentment, will free up time and energy to take action on your goals.

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7. Manage your body’s stress response

Of course, there will always be stressors. No matter what you do, there will be stressful situations, factors out of your control, and challenges you will have to face. To stay healthy and focused on achieving your dreams, learn to manage the body’s stress response cycle.

When stress occurs in the body, it has a beginning, middle, and an end. This process evolved from our evolutionary ancestors in order to save them from prehistoric dangers, like getting chased by a wild animal. Back then, the thing that saves you, in this case successfully running away, completes the stress response cycle. The physical exertion processes the stress hormones, and helps bring your body back to a normal relaxed state.

When your stress is not due to a physical danger, you don’t get a chance to complete the cycle by running away or fighting a bear. You need to find ways to tune in to your body and resolve the stress reaction, so you don’t live in a state of chronic physical stress.

Effectively knowing how to take action requires developing stress management strategies. If you’re wondering how to increase motivation and stay healthy, begin by tackling stress in your daily life. Some practical ways to deal with stress include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation, yoga, or tai chi
  • Creative outlets such as writing, painting, or music
  • Visualization (Imagining yourself getting through a challenge can actually trick your brain into completing the stress cycle.)
  • Journaling
  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Time management
  • Social support from friends, family, and coaches
  • Spa or massage treatments

Keep in mind that dealing with stress doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach. One technique may work for someone else but not for you. Test out different ways of handling stress, and find out which works well in your case. Then incorporate those habits into your weekly routine.

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8. Channel emotions into positive outlets

When setting out to do something challenging, you will hit bumps along the road. This can lead to all kinds of emotional responses, like frustration, sadness, and rage. Suppressing emotions can damage physical health or self-destructive patterns. It can halt your progress.

Acknowledging and learning how to control your emotions will help you make the right calls in any life or business situation.

Take the time to listen to your emotions. You can access those emotions to propel you as you work toward your dreams. Channel unpleasant emotions into positive activities, like music or dance. Journaling or meditation practices can help tune into how you feel.



9. Take care of your gut 

When the inability to take action is a consistent problem, listen to your gut.

Yep, that’s right…

Gut health plays a major role in feeling your best, and an unhealthy gut microbiome is strongly connected to mental illness. This means that your gut has a significant influence on motivation and drive. If our “gut” is offline so is our motivation. When people are experiencing depression and anxiety, they don’t feel like taking action.

Tips for a healthy gut:

  • Take a daily probiotic, like kombucha, yogurt, or supplement, to maintain a good gut microbiome
  • Exercise
  • Manage stress
  • Eat more fiber
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine


10. Cultivate “grit”

In her book, Grit, psychologist Angela Duckworth explains how to be successful you can’t depend on talent only and need the right combination of passion and persistence. She calls it “grit”. When you take action to start on a project or goal, grit is what helps you see it through.

High achievers have the grit to face obstacles and keep going by overcoming challenges. Every person can develop this type of resilience and cultivate mental toughness, a powerful tool for achieving goals.

So, let go of your limiting beliefs, and work towards believing that you can achieve what you set out to do. It won’t be easy, but nurturing these characteristics of grit will help you stay the course:

  • Staying strong in the face of pain or fear or grief. (People often underestimate just how courageous and resilient they can be.)
  • Meticulous, detail-oriented, and careful
  • Confidence, commitment, and optimism
  • Striving for excellence
  • Staying in difficult situations to achieve long-term goals


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11. Create an environment for success

People who achieve their goals do so with consistent action and effort — but they don’t do it alone in a vacuum.

Look at your environment:

  • Do you spend time with positive, action-oriented people?
  • Do you put yourself in situations where you are inspired to take action?
  • Do you have supportive people to talk with when things get tough?

Make a point to seek out environments where taking action is positively reinforced, and the people around you are actively pursuing their goals. This could mean spending less time with negative people in your life, and investing in new relationships.

Taking classes and workshops, joining online groups, finding a mentor, or establishing a mastermind group are all great ways to generate an environment of success.


12. Let go of “perfect”


perfection is stagnation


Many people avoid certain tasks or delay going after goals because they want everything to be perfect. But when you strive for perfection, you reach for the unattainable. You beat yourself up over every little mistake. You put off dealing with difficult problems out of fear of failure.

Taking action means letting go of “perfect”. It means trying. It means giving yourself room to make mistakes, to learn and grow from them.

Understanding perfectionism as a cause of procrastination can help you recognize those habits and work through them. Often, noticing your patterns is enough to change them. When you catch yourself delaying action because you want it to be perfect, you may just start getting things done.



13. Implement a daily planning routine

Consistent daily effort takes scheduling and planning. Without a clear plan for the day, you can get side-tracked or avoid important tasks.

Make a habit of daily planning, either the night before or the morning of, to plan out your schedule. Get clear on priorities so you can stay focused and get things done on time.


14. Manage your expectations

People have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations, especially when it comes to timelines for success. But accomplishing a big goal doesn’t happen overnight. When you don’t see the progress you want right away, you may feel easily frustrated or discouraged.

Instead of quitting at this point, you have to get through the dip in motivation. You have to keep you going, even when you hit a snag.

Know that it will take time to see your hard work pay off. Believe in yourself and stay positive.



15. Work with a coach

Still asking yourself, “What’s stopping me from taking action?” Consider speaking to a coach.

Coaches can give you an outside perspective, and work with you to develop the strategies you’ll need to start and continue taking action. A coach can support you throughout the entire process of turning your dreams into reality.

Big goals, dreams, and transformations are not easy — the strategic help, accountability, and encouragement of regular coaching sessions can make all the difference. Schedule a coaching session to get on your way to taking action.

When you’re ready, we’re here to help!



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