A Simple Everyday Dreams List

by ChristinaPilkington on January 18, 2012 · 24 comments

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 Travel around Europe for a year. Sell a screenplay. Learn a new language. Write a novel.

Those are some big dreams I have. Dreams that will take a lot of hard work and dedication.

Big dreams are nice to have. They’re fun.  It makes you feel good thinking about them. But the problem with big dreams is that they take work. Lots of work.  They’re not something that you can achieve in one day. That’s why they’re big dreams, right?

And there’s nothing wrong with big dreams. I think they’re great to have. I think it’s really important for you to encourage your kids to have big dreams to and to work towards them.

But there are other dreams we have, too. These are smaller dreams, dreams that we could achieve fairly easily, but we always seem to put them off. We get sucked into the other things going on in our lives, let ourselves get settled into routines and stop seeking out moments of spontaneity, of adventure, of joy.

I’ve always encouraged my kids to go after their dreams, both big and small. Both my children are still young, but I’ve kept a notebook for each of them and we jot down games they want to play, places they want to go, and things they want to do.  They have just as much fun playing a new game as they do visiting a new state. Most of their day is spent thinking up new things they want to do and doing those things.

But how often do I do that for myself? And how often do I show my kids the little dreams I have and how I’m achieving them?  How often do I show that that achieving small dreams can be just as rewarding and exciting as achieving bigger dreams?

I’ve been pretty good at modeling some big dreams I have. My kids have seen me start up a new website. They’ve seen me plan big trips and then take them. But I realized that I don’t often jot down those little ideas that I have – those little things I’d think about that I’d like to do someday.

The thing about little dreams is that you can accomplish them fairly easily. It’s something you can do today that brings you joy and excitement. It’s in doing those new little things every day that you experience life in a vibrant, richer way.

And by consistently achieving little dreams, you’re developing the habit of going after your dreams.  When you see how wonderful it can be to do something new each day, to learn something you’ve always been curious about, to experience something unusual, than it’s easier to think about accomplishing those bigger dreams you have. They suddenly don’t look so impossible after all.

So, I’m starting a little dream list – a Simple Everyday Dreams list.

I’ve decided to put some guidelines around my list. Here they are: 

  • The dreams can’t cost that much– under $20.
  • They take less than one week to do
  • They don’t need to be planned in much detail

I’m going to share the beginning of my Simple Everyday Dreams list with you below, but here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering making a list like this for yourself.

1) Put things down you’re excited to do, not things you think you need to do

2) Don’t let this list be set in stone; feel free to cross off things and add to them whenever you like.

3) Write down the date you accomplished each dream. It’ll be fun to look back and see how many dreams you’ve reached.

4) Don’t necessarily set dates when you’re going to do these things or let it turn into another to-do list; do things as they come up naturally and when you feel like doing them.

5) Be curious and live life joyfully!


My Simple Everyday Dreams List (a work in progress)

1. Write a song

2. Eat a cactus leaf

3. Cook risotto

4. Camp out in the backyard

5. Take my grandma to the Czech museum

6. Catch a frog from a river

7. Read War and Peace

8. Serve at a soup kitchen

9. Read a book about the history of the Czech Republic (I’m over half Czech)

10. Visit a candy factory (I’m doing that today!)

11. Paint a picture on a real canvas

12. Take a walk in the woods at midnight

13. Complete a 500 piece puzzle by myself

14. Play a game of chess

15. Fold origami

16. Take a picture of a sunrise

17. Take a bus ride by myself with the kids

18. Make a food from a different country 7 days in a row

19. Celebrate Chinese New Year

20. Make a soufflé

21. Watch maple syrup being tapped from a tree

22. Watch Casablanca

23. Make a homemade smoothie

24. Take a one-day gourmet cooking class

25. Take behind-the-scenes tour of an ice-cream shop


Photo Credit: juliejordanscott

What little dreams do you have that you’ve been putting off? Is there something that you can do this week?

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  • http://momto3feistykids.com/ Steph

    What a wonderful list! I read War in Peace while I was nursing my son. *LOL* He was a baby who’d want to nurse for an hour at a time, so we’d snuggle, with him at my breast, and I’d read Tolstoy.

    • Anonymous

      That sounds so cozy and wonderful! I had twins and had to pump everything since they were in the hospital for 5 weeks after being born and wouldn’t nurse when they came home since they got so used to the bottle. My days were feed a baby, feed a baby, pump and then try to catch 15 minutes of sleep.Then I’d do it over again. I went on four hours sleep (not in a row either) for almost 6 months and got pretty sick. I would be so jealous seeing other moms rocking their babies and singing and just looking so bonded with their kids. I’d be screaming inside because I just wanted them to finish eating already so I could feed the next baby who was crying. I really shouldn’t complain, though, because we had to go through fertility treatments and I’m so very, very thankful for my kids. I just wish I would have had those sweet moments.I guess I get to make up for that now :)

  • http://lauragraceweldon.com/blog-2/ Laura

    You’re so right, as we live out our dreams (big & small) we model a life of dream-reaching for our kids. And really, at the close of our days, what would any of us want more than to have lived our days this way?

    Here are a few of my little dreams:
    Write quotes on the wall.
    Dye the ends of my hair pink, blue, purple and green (I can always trim it off if I hate it).
    Learn to make jewelry.
    Get a good outdoor photo of my family and frame it.
    Spend an entire day lounging around reading.
    Learn a little French.
    Take each child out for the day of his/her dreams.

    • Anonymous

      I need to add spending an entire day lounging around reading to my list, too! Although, I don’t think I’ll realize that dream for awhile :) And I really like your dream of taking your children out for the day of their dreams, too. We’ve done a half day version of this. We call them date nights where I take my son out and my husband takes my daughter out wherever they want to go. I really treasure those times because I usually don’t get too many time where I spend an extended time just with one of my kids.

  • http://susanevans.org/blog/ SusanEvans

    How fun! I like your idea of having smaller dreams, too.

    • Anonymous

      I think smaller dreams sometimes are the ones that make a real difference in our lives sometimes. They are the ones that keep our lives exciting and rich.

  • http://www.littlehomeschoolontheprairie.com/index.html Jenn

    What a great idea…something I think everyone in our family would enjoy doing!
    Off the top of my head, I can think of a few things I’d like to do-
    try a new food, visit a new museum in our area, and start drawing/doodling/sketching in my empty sketch book.
    Thanks for the inspiration:)

    • Anonymous

      Thanks! I hope you reach some of those dreams and then write about it afterwards!

  • Natalie

    Everyday dreams sound great. I just worked on setting up one of them – taking a day off and visiting Ano Nuevo Reserve while the seals are still there with their young.

    • Anonymous

      That sounds so wonderful! When I went with my husband to Point Loma in California about 8 years ago, one of my favorite things was sitting on the cliff and looking out on Seal Rock. We also loved watching the seals last year at La Jolla Cove near San Diego.

  • http://www.kristaenglish.com/the-blog Krista English

    Wonderful idea, especially the making a list — not of things you need to do! I am trying to picture you doing that puzzle by yourself though–barring anyone from coming near “back off! I’m doing this by myself!” LOL ;)

    • http://www.kristaenglish.com/the-blog Krista English

      Woops I forgot to answer your question — I’ve been meaning to take a photo of a sunrise, go for a walk at the Butterfly Grove (a natural migration breeding ground among a Eucalyptus forest near the beach (beautiful!) and take the dog to a dog park. That and schedule out projects…woops, that “need to do” slipped in, but it would make my life so much more efficient to be able to do the li’l dreams.

      • Anonymous

        I hope you achive some of your everyday dreams this year. Then you need to write about it and share it with us!

    • Anonymous

      Yea, I suppose I’d have to do it in the bathroom or something in order to keep everyone away :) Puzzles do seem to draw people together. This may seem funny, but when my son put together his first puzzle (my daughter stil hasn’t put together a puzzle – she’s like me in that it never interested her that much), I was so proud of myself when I put together my first 24 piece puzzle!

  • http://profiles.google.com/kacagle Karen Terry Cagle

    This is such a wonderful idea. What I love about it, is that it isn’t HUGE dreams, just perfectly doable dreams. I also like what you said about not putting things on it that NEEDS to be done. Keilee and I do something similar to this occasionally, like a bucket list. It is great to actually cross things out. I am going to start working on this today! And about that screenplay…I have a 12 year old who LOVES to act. ::grins::

    • Anonymous

      Now that would be awesome – working with your daughter in a film! I went to film school and soon reallized that I’m not really directing material, but I fell in love with writing in a new way back them. I write so much non-fiction now for my blog and an e-book I’m working on, but my heart is really with story-telling. I don’t write that often enought- maybe I need to get back to it. For right now, though, spreading my passion about interest-led learning and learning every day with my kids is more than enough to keep me happy, though.

  • http://thegettys.blogspot.com Susan

    I really like this idea, Christina, and I plan to share it with my girls later. I like the idea of keeping a running list of “everyday dreams” that we can attain more quickly. Between this idea, and your great tips about getting organized for mini-adventures, we’ll have our thoughts about the plans we’d like to achieve in much better order!

    • http://www.teachablemoments-jessica.blogspot.com Jessica

      I am going to do this with my girls and see if they will blog it with me!

      • http://thegettys.blogspot.com Susan

        What a great idea! Both my girls have private blogs, and that would be a such a good way for them to keep their own lists. Plus we could report on results that we wanted to share on our family blog. Thanks for the tip :)

        • Anonymous

          I hope you do. I’d love to read about it, so share if you can!

      • Anonymous

        Please share with me if they do. I’d love to read it!

    • Anonymous

      I’ve found the biggest thing that has kept me doing so much more of the important things I want to do instead of just the business that can take over my life, is keeping a notebook (actually a running Note list on my IPhone now :) ) and jot down thoughts as soon as I have them. I’m reminded again and again of what is truly important to me and my family.

      • http://thegettys.blogspot.com Susan

        I like that, and I can totally see myself doing it because I keep other kinds of lists on my iPhone. I use Evernote, which I also have installed on our two laptops…that way I can access my notes in all three places.

        • Anonymous

          I’ve heard a lot of really great things about Evernote. I’m finally just figuring out my IPhone!

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