A Dream Life Manifesto. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?
What I love about this name, is that it conjures up different images for each person. One person might hear “dream life” and immediately picture brightly colored drinks with little umbrellas, sitting on a white sand beach with the waves lapping peacefully in the background. To someone else, the idea might call up crisp fall evenings spent with a cup of tea and a really good book, and no other care in the world.
To some of you, a dream life is running your own business, or getting your PhD, or earning enough passive income to stay at home with your babies.
What if I told you that your Dream Life Manifesto could actually help you achieve whatever it is your picture when you think of your ideal future?
You could call me crazy and walk away… or you can stick around and find out what I’m talking about.
What if writing your Dream Life Manifesto could help get you on the right track, today, to accomplish your biggest goals?
First Things First: What is a Personal Manifesto?
Simply put, a manifesto is a declaration of the beliefs and intentions of the author.
Historically, a manifesto is something that has been put out into the world, a public statement often politically or ideologically driven. Two very famous examples are The Communist Manifesto or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
But that is a traditional manifesto. A personal manifesto is much more… well, personal.
First of all, a personal manifesto is written by and for you, specifically. It doesn’t have to be shared with anyone, let alone broadcast to the entire world.
Your personal manifesto is a statement about what makes you, you. It’s a mix of your own opinions and beliefs, and your vision of the world. It might include your core values, a bit of wisdom from your grandmother that you’ve never forgotten, or what your top priorities in life are.
A personal manifesto can take many forms, from short to long or stern to silly. It is 100% a product of, and about, its author; no two people’s manifestos will look alike.
How Is a Dream Life Manifesto Different?
A Dream Life Manifesto, is a personal manifesto with a twist.
I came up with the idea when I was writing my own personal manifesto and decided I wanted to do it a bit differently. I wanted to write a personal manifesto, but from the point of view of the person I want to be in 10 years.
It’s the manifesto not just of who you are today, but who you are becoming.
The Dream Life Manifesto has a lot of the same things – it’s still made up of your core values, your beliefs, and all the immutable things about yourself that make you who you are. It just also includes the things you are striving towards to be the best version of yourself that you can.
If you’re embarking on a health journey – perhaps making very big changes to the way you eat and move – your Dream Life Manifesto might include a line about how you eat to fuel your body with fresh fruits and vegetables. Or the belief that running is the best therapy. Even if those are changes you’re working towards but might not be 100% there yet, those are core components of your best self – so they go in your Dream Life Manifesto.
Maybe you’re starting from a place of low self-confidence, but you’re trying to build that up. Your Dream Life Manifesto could very well include something like, “I’m taking this world by storm!” or even “I have something important to say, and I speak at every opportunity”.
This version of your manifesto doesn’t have to include things that are 100% true right now. Put your goals in there, even the big scary ones that you don’t want to admit to. Put your wishes for your life in there.
Sure, you might share a studio apartment with 27 other people right now, but if having your own home all to yourself is your favourite daydream, “My home is my castle” could be one of your favourite parts of your manifesto.
If you believe in the Law of Attraction, your manifesto could end up being the most important manifesting tool you have. And if you don’t, it’s a guiding star – your reminder of what you’re growing toward.
How Do I Write My Dream Life Manifesto?
This is the best part – there are no rules.
Your manifesto is written for you, by you. It can be done however you want.
It can be long and flowy – remember, some public manifestos are entire books. Or it can be a short, numbered list of statements.
For me, I’ve found the sweet spot is between half a page and a page long, in paragraph form. In the past I’ve tried both longer and shorter versions – one of my manifestos was a day-in-the-life style description, written in narrative form – but for now, this hits all of the important stuff for me without any of the fluff.
But if you really don’t know where to get started, here’s a handy little guide:
Step 1: What IS the dream life?
First, you should be crystal-clear on what your dream life looks like to you.
It’s different for everyone. Some people dream of big houses or luxury supercars and some would rather have a fulfilling career in their chosen industry than any material goods in the world. Maybe for you it’s retiring early, selling everything you own and traveling full-time.
This isn’t a cut-and-paste list of aspirations that you pick and choose from. This is your dream, 100% unique to you in all it’s aspects. Do you want to open a bakery, or run marathons? Get married and start a big family? Live on a homestead? Live in a major city?
This is about dreaming the biggest dream you have and imagining what that would look like.
When I do this exercise, I close my eyes and visualize a perfect day in my dream life, starting from the moment I wake up. What does that look like for you?
Step 2: Who is the person who lives that life?
This is where you move away from the tangible realities of that life and dig a little into the more abstract.
The person who lives that life didn’t get there by accident – What did it take? What is their mindset like, what are their priorities?
Most importantly, what do they have that you don’t?
In most personal development circles, that question – what do they have that you don’t – is designed to get you to realize your power, square your shoulders, and step up.
Here, I want you to take it literally. What do they have, that you currently don’t?
What’s the difference between the mindset of someone who’s achieved that success, and the mindset you have right now?
What’s the difference between the things they prioritize, and the things you prioritize?
Every time I do this, I realize that while I think I’m on the right path, I’m drifting away in little ways. I catch myself thinking, If only things would work out this way, I’d be that much closer instead of, What can I do right now to MAKE this happen?
In my Dream Life, that person doesn’t hope for luck to be on her side. She takes risks, sure, but she’s a go-getter who’s confident that she can handle anything that comes up.
I’m working on becoming her. But I’m not there yet all the time.
So what are those differences for you? If you had achieved your dream life already, if you were fully living in it… what would you be doing differently, saying differently, thinking about differently?
Make note of those things.
Step 3: Write it through those eyes
You’re going to write your dream life manifesto through the eyes of THAT person… the you that lives the life you dream of.
Your Dream Life Manifesto is a compilation of the beliefs, actions, and truths of the confident, self-actualized person you see.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You definitely don’t have to write a short story! To start yourself off, pick ten things that are true for that person and jot them down in a list.
For a simple formula, you can choose 3 things you believe, 3 things you do, 3 things you prioritize, and one thing that you are.
For example, your list could include some statements like this:
- I’m a software designer living in Los Angeles
- I believe in living life with courage and intention
- I believe in bettering my community along with myself
- I buy local whenever possible and support ethical businesses with my money
- I prioritize self-care and take steps to avoid burnout
- I eat in a way that nourishes and fuels my body
- I’m a New York Times bestselling author of multiple titles
- I believe that small acts of kindness can have a large impact
- I’ve learned that asking for help when I need it does not discredit my self-sufficiency
- I prioritize my boundaries in healthy, mutually beneficial relationships
If this format doesn’t work for you, feel free to play around with it and experiment. No one is ever going to see your manifesto unless you show them – it doesn’t have to be pretty or polished, and it’s okay if it’s even a little embarrassing!
What is important is that when you’re done, you have a document that represents the life you’re growing toward. Read it over – does it inspire you? Does it get you excited about the direction you’re headed?
What Do I Do With a Dream Life Manifesto?
Now that you’ve done all this, what even is the point, really?
The thing is, your dream life manifesto is not a one-and-done type of exercise. This isn’t something you write once, then keep in a drawer somewhere to stumble across in ten years.
Your Dream Life Manifesto should function as one part compass, one part goal declaration, and one part motivation.
Now that you’ve written it, make a point to keep it close by – in your wallet maybe, or on or in your desk. I stick mine in a zipper pocket inside my planner. Ideally, you should be reading this over frequently.
When you get stuck behind an obstacle, read over your dream life manifesto. When you’re having a down day and don’t believe in yourself – read over your dream life manifesto. When you’re faced with hard choices? You have a sticky decision to make? Read over your dream life manifesto. What gets you closer to that? What steps does your best self take?
I try to take some time every week to really reflect on mine. I go over my goals, my priorities, and my recent actions and use it as a guide to make adjustments where needed.
And every so often, generally every six months to a year, I commit to rewriting it.
Wait, what? You just do it all over again? Yup.
As we grow and evolve, our priorities naturally shift, our beliefs update, and our goals change. This is normal. It’s not that your dreams will be completely different six months from now – I don’t know many people who switch from “I’m going to win an Oscar!” to “I’m going to win the Stanley Cup!”.
Your far-away goals right now? You’re looking at them from far away. And from far away, things tend to look fuzzy.
When you get closer to them, the details start to get a little clearer. You’ll be able to make out fine points that you hadn’t been able to see earlier. You get a little more specific.
As you change and grow, your dream life comes into detail a little clearer. I don’t know anyone who wants the same things in their 30s they wanted in their 20s. Change is healthy. This doesn’t mean you never hit your goals – it means that you make sure what you’re pointed toward is 100% what you want.
Use your Dream Life Manifesto as your North Star, your frame of reference for your actions. Use it when you need to refocus.
The point here isn’t just to write it – it’s to live by it.