More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Making Dreams Happen
By Dr. Deborah Serani
Sun, Sep 2 2007

I always wanted to see Alaska, known in the United States as "The Last Great Frontier". When I was a little girl, I saw pictures in my history books of blue ice and knew I had to see it in person one day.

It took a long time to make this dream a reality, but I did it using these three tips:

1. Stop dreaming and start talking. Taking your dreams from fantasy life into the real world starts with merely talking out loud about them. Talking aloud to yourself and others helps to bring movement to your dream - and enables you to see if your dream is do-able or too lofty to make real.

2. Seek out people who have lived the dream. Want to climb Mt. Everest? Want to see the seven wonders of the world? Want to open a coffee shop? Link yourself to people who have ventured into the areas of your interest. They will share with you the do's and don'ts, the pitfalls and the high notes as well as the wisdom of their experience.

3. Set a deadline for your dream. I knew I couldn't get to Alaska for a long time, but I set a deadline of "before I am 50". I knew it would take time to save the money for the adventure, find an allotment of time to take off - and for my family to be at the right age for the experience. Setting a deadline helps to put healthy pressure on making a wish a reality.

By using these tips, I was able to talk aloud about my dream, making it a real goal. I sought out others who traveled to Alaska and learned what to do and what to avoid. And I got the see the blue ice, the glaciers and all that is breathtaking about Alaska just a few years shy of my 50th birthday.

A dream fulfilled.

Now it's your turn... what's your dream?
i think there is :) i really do!! you can do it janet. you're an intelligent woman. i know you can get there some day if you put your mind to it. you just first have some other things to deal with first before you can get started on the task.


Account Closed
Hey Janet,

You and I have the same dream :) I am finally going to get off my butt this week and talk to a counsellor at UBC. I know I will have to take undergraduate courses as I am coming in as a mature student. All I need to know is since I am on long term disability how can it be paid for as I can't afford to rack up any loans.

My therapist suggested I start with only one course. Can't hurt to inquire about it.


Now it's your turn... what's your dream?

Talking about long term goals using a word like a dream makes its achievement appear to be illusive or unattainable.

IMO the process is nothing more than planning one's life.

There are short term plans for short term goals and long term plans for long term goals.

Tomorrow we go food shopping to make spaghetti for supper; that's a short term plan and a short term goal.

At age 55 I will be retired and will become a glass blower; that's a long term plan for a long term goal.

They are essentially the same, where each one requires a series of little decisions and steps to get to the goal.

The long term goal governs many of the short term goals and plans, but the process is the same.

There have been a number of books written on the subject, most of which are shrouded in double talk and mystery.

IMO it's quite simple: decide on the goal you want to achieve and take the necessary steps to achieve it.

Am I being overly simplistic about this?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I wouldn't say that long-term dreams are unattainable or illusive.

First, they are dreams, after all. I see those as different than plans, which are more concrete and more imperative. A dream to me is something I'd like to do and like to try to work toward but recognize that I may not get there. That doesn't make then unattainable - perhaps more like optional.

Second, I think how one defines "long-term" is a variable, one which may be quite different from one individual to the next or even over time. For example, right now, "long-term" with respect to my medical status is a month or two from now. When I think of other "long-term" time-frames in other areas of my life, I may be thinking of several months or even several years.

Dreams are what keep me learning and growing and moving forward into whatever the future is going to unveil for me. If I'm lucky, that process will never end. :)


First, they are dreams, after all. I see those as different than plans

OK, I can see that distinction better now.

In that case, could I say that a person may have a number of dreams for the future, but after considering the options, some or one of those dreams would be filtered down to the one's out of which a goal and a plan can be formulated.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I still haven't given up my dream of becoming a rock star. :band:

On the other hand, I had to give up the one about playing in the NFL about age 13 or 14, when I realized (1) I was just not going to ever be big enough, and (2) I really didn't have any athletic talents that the NFL would be interested in. :eek:


IMO Dr. Deborah Serani's post has worked as she would have hoped it would. Having read ladylore's post, "Insperation". :)


I remember my therapist pointing out the importance of discerning between hopes and fanstasies, dreams and plans. Learning how to do that consistently helped me a great deal; not only with escaping from depression, but coping with life in general.

I happen to have lousy feet. My ankles are pronated pretty badly, and always have been. It runs in my father's side of the family. Yet, as a young girl I wanted to be an ice skater, or a ballerina. Now, that was a fantasy. It was beyond a dream, because it could never come true. I was physically unable to do what would have been necessary to realize that fantasy. Still, I could sit and picture myself spinning on the ice, or flying through the air in a beautiful, wispy "swan costume". It sure didn't hurt anything, and I suffered no loss through living that fantasy in my mind. It gave me moments of happiness. That, in my opinion, is a good thing ... as long as you're aware (when you become old enough to start deciding what to do with your life) that it is, after all, a fantasy.

I see a dream as something that is sorta like a fantasy, but actually possible if we're willing to do the work necessary to make the dream come true. Like Janet's "dream" of getting a Master's degree and working in the field of social work. That could, very easily, become a plan. In fact, I believe it will become a plan one of these days. ;)
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