Today is the start of your new life, the very beginning of a fresh existence that will make your heart sing every day. What are you going to do to start moving toward your dream life?

Let’s get one thing straight. Big dreams don’t happen unless you realize that smaller, short-term goals are the key to success. Are your short-term activities and to-do items working toward a larger goal? When’s the last time you sat down to assess your day-to-day activities and their effect on your life?

Lists are my passion. I love lists. This is a great time to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and jot down a few things you can do–THIS WEEK–that will help you begin making the life of your dreams happen.

Something about seeing the words in front of you on a sheet of paper make your desires real. I want to start writing that novel… I want to quit eating bad foods… I want to spend more time with my family… I want to change jobs… I want to start spending more time loving myself.

You can do it. Whatever it is that you want to manifest in your life, you can make the life of your dreams happen. Don’t settle for good enough when absolutely amazing is right around the bend. You can’t see it yet, but as soon as you start making a few small changes, the bigger changes will be easier to bring about. Before you know it, you’ll look back on your old, mediocre life in wonder, astounded that you ever put up with it.

AN EXAMPLE…

Eugene and Lynn Upham lived a life of stress and work and humdrum everyday life. They enjoyed their life, for the most part. But they knew something greater existed for them.

They were tired of running underwater. They wanted to float.

And then the wake-up call came, as it does for many of us. Actually, they received more then one. First, Eugene had a heart attack. “We suddenly realized we had so much stress that it could actually lead to Eugene’s death!” Lynn told me. The second set of wake-up calls came when they lost their parents and other loved ones to death. “We realized it was possible that we may not have much time left,” 57-year-old Lynn concluded.

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So they began to look very closely at what they hated about their life–and what they loved. They sat down at their kitchen table and made a list. In doing so, they realized they really hated working hard every day to make ends meet. They hated the harsh New Jersey winter with only one yearly week-long vacation away from it. And they hated the feeling that they weren’t living in their own flow. Instead, they were just following along with what everyone else around them was doing: scraping to get by.

And what did they love? They loved organizing parties for their friends with good food and good drinks. They loved hanging out and shooting the breeze. They loved the beach. They loved warm, temperate weather. They loved spending time together as a couple. And they loved watching sports.

After they looked closely at who they were as people, they took some time to discern where they wanted to be in life. NOT HERE was the obvious answer. But, if not this, then what?

Before they were married, Lynn had bought a house in the height of the U.S. real estate market. When the market bottomed out, the couple could never regroup. “It was a bottomless pit,” Lynn remembered. “We just couldn’t get our money back, any which way we turned. Whether we held on to it or sold it. So we let the bank take it.”

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Faced with the financial hardship of a dead-end housing situation and transformed by the series of life-altering events, the light suddenly shone on what they wanted: their dreams.

They found a beach bar with a thatched roof in Placencia, Belize, near the Caribbean Sea. Realizing they could live in this little village and have everything they always wanted–their own business, warm weather, low bills, and plenty of time together–they sold it all: house, cars, motorhome, and all of their stuff. Now they own their own piece of paradise, The Pickled Parrot, where they work side-by-side taking care of their customers like they’re long-lost friends. Eugene mans the bar, complete with a big-screen TV for sports viewing behind him, while Lynn runs the kitchen.

“Back home, some of our friends told us we were nuts. Others said they wish they had the balls to do what we are doing!” Eugene told me. “Anybody can dream big but it’s a matter of making happen. If you want something bad enough, you just have to get up and do it.”

What big dream do YOU want in your life? What small steps can you take today to get you there?