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Do you think your dreams are unattainable? In addition to 3 Steps To Get Financially Unstuck and 3 Ways To Live With Intention, we have come to realize a few other components that have made a huge difference in turning our dreams into a reality.

Change Your Mindset

For most of my life I told myself I couldn’t. Everything seemed out of reach or too complicated. Because of this, I didn’t even try to make my dreams a reality. One thing I really wanted to do was paint all the woodwork in our first home white, but I wasn’t the best painter and there was a lot of woodwork. I didn’t even know the right way to go about it anyway.

In 2015 my confidence was at an all time low and my depression at an all time high. I needed to do something for me, to lift me up. I still wanted to paint the woodwork and finally decided to give it a try. I bought primer, paint, tape, and a paintbrush. I turned on the radio and got to work. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it anyway. I figured I would learn along the way.

After two layers of primer and paint I pulled the tape away and found an uneven paint job. Instead of feeling defeated, I grabbed the wall paint to fix the mistakes. Then I noticed that the gaps between the wall and woodwork made it difficult to create an even look. I was determined to figure out how to get the look I wanted. I continued to tweak my approach. Eventually my process looked like this:

  1. Fill gaps between trim and wall with 3M Patch Plus Primer, using baby wipes to smooth the spackle before it dried
  2. Two coats of primer and paint on trim and spackle
  3. Tape woodwork, paint wall color just above the tape
  4. Finally, fix small mistakes with very thin paint brush

It took multiple tries and revisions to get to this point, but in the end I had really crisp lines! In the process I realized I had also changed my mindset from I can’t, to I can try, to I will figure it out!

Allow Yourself To Have A Beginning

Back when I told myself that I couldn’t, I spent a lot of time feeling that I wasn’t talented or financially successful. When I wanted to remodel our first home, I watched Fixer Upper in awe of their talent, knowing I didn’t have any of those skills. When a friend moved to Australia, we wished to visit, but felt we would never be able to save enough money to make it happen (cost $3,000). I truly believed that I was destined to float through life with dreams unfulfilled.

Then I read Capital Gaines and learned that their story didn’t start with a remodeled farmhouse and a TV show. Chip started with fixing up small homes he rented to college students. Joanna started by decorating their first home in various themes. With each small project they took on their knowledge and talent grew. Their first projects were imperfect. They faced roadblocks and struggles on their journey. What we see on TV is the culmination of all those experiences. They had a beginning.

When we wanted to travel to Australia, we had a hard time saving money. We made good money and spent freely in our day to day life. It never dawned on me to change how we spent our income. When we finally took our first family road trip (cost: $3,000) five years later, we didn’t magically have the funds to travel. In fact, our expenses with three kids had increased more than our income had. Instead, we started tracking our spending and tried to decrease our expenses one category at a time. We decreased our grocery bill, followed by spending less on clothes, and then eliminated our auto loan by selling our second vehicle. Accomplishing our dream of being able to save up for travel started with making small changes that led to many road trips, traveling to Hawaii and Costa Rica, and still on the wish list - Australia!

If you have a dream, don’t expect to be able to do it right away. Allow yourself to take small steps that build upon each other. Remember that everything has a beginning. You have to start somewhere to get to the next place.

Create Your Support System

My belief that we couldn’t accomplish our goals came from negative self talk and letting people convince me that we wouldn’t succeed. Creating a strong support system helped stop the negative self talk and build the confidence we needed to move forward.

I needed people in my day to day life that lifted me up. When my husband supported me in remodeling our home, his belief in my skills helped me to persevere. When I found a therapist that understood me, she helped me create the tools I needed to build my confidence and follow our dreams. And when I found friends who love me in the midst of my unconventional dreams, I found strength in following my values.

We’ve also found that reaching out to people who have more knowledge on the things we want to accomplish has helped us move forward. When we researched moving to Costa Rica for 9 months, we connected with a principal of an international school in Uvita who was willing to help us navigate challenges and answer any questions we had. When I decided to design our new home, The Little White Shack, I found a builder who was willing and had the experience to help me bring my vision to life. And when Chris wanted to take this blog to the next level, he reached out to the the personal finance community for support and advice. So many people freely lifted Chris up, including but not limited to: Grant, Jillian, Nick, The Groovys, J. Money, Fritz, Cait, Mystery Money Man, Jim, Jay, and Scott. Creating these support systems took stepping outside our comfort zone, but it was worth it.

We are so grateful to everyone who has supported and believed in us and we want to pay that kindness forward. Chris and I would be happy to be a part of your support system - just reach out!