A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness. — Zadok Rabinwitz

What are your dreams? Sometimes we may dream exciting, vivid visions, and then go into our day, forget about them and “get real.” A lot of times, life is so hectic–we are handling our lives, putting out fires here and there and taking care of our families–that we may feel as if there is no time to just sit and think at all. If this sounds like you, you may have to make time to think, to avoid having a 2011 like your 2010. Because learning to become financially free requires us to think, plan and do what it takes to create the wealth and joyous experiences that we want in our lives.

The first step is to realize that all of your dreams are within reach, with the right thoughts and the right action. No matter how old or young you are, wealthy or cash-strapped, busy or not. Know that you can turn your dreams into reality. Start by taking time to think about what you really want in your life now, in one year, and someday (in 5, 10 or 20 years). When speaking of building wealth, you can start by asking yourself certain questions: How much money do you want to bring in every month? How much money do you want to have left at the end of each month, after all the bills are paid? What investments do you want to purchase? How much do you want to have in your savings, investing and retirement accounts? What debts do you want to pay off? What do you want your net worth to be? What money do you want coming in, whether you work a job or not (passive or residual income)? And so on. This thinking time–time to think about what you will create your financial life to look like–is crucial to your financial success.

Otherwise, you’ll have great goals and plans without the commitment to put them into action.

Next, look at how you can set specific, measurable goals from what you want. For example, at the end of this year, what will you have accomplished financially? I suggest writing a letter to yourself dated December 31, 2011, detailing what has happened by then and what you have accomplished–“I have $50,000 in my savings account,” or something like that. Keep this letter in a visible place, too.

If you’re like me, you may have huge goals and don’t know where to start. This is where models come into play. Who has been where you want to go, or knows of the best way to get there (best practices)? Seek out a mentor or consultant for your “success” team to show you the path to take toward your seemingly daunting destination of financial success. Your mentor and/or consultant will relieve some of the anxiety and the “overwhelm” that surfaces as you are thinking about how you will get to where you want to go.

“But, Nannette, I don’t know anyone like that.” If you know of no one personally or through other people, find the books to read, audios to listen to and seminars to go to, that chronicle the journey of someone who has “been there and done that.” You can only do so much on your own, but with the experience and education of someone who has gone before you, you can break through the ceiling of your own limitations, and surround yourself with the right thoughts and people. I used to run track, and this advice reminds me of a relay race. Imagine a relay team running against one person. The relay team has the momentum of each leg to build on to move each person together faster than the one person can go alone. That’s the deal. When you have these big goals, the big models will help you get clear on how to get from where you are to where you are going. And you don’t have to rely solely on your personal trials and errors.

Finally, and this is the bridge from dream to manifestation, we have the habits. I’ve been conducting a Millionaire Real Estate Investor workshop based on the book Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller and Dave Jenks, and I realized that the more I teach, the more I learn.

Before, I just thought habits were the things you do each day to get you closer to your dream. I would start implementing those habits, but somehow life would just get in the way. As I have grown in my knowledge and experience, however, I now realize habits are much more than daily or regular activities. Habits are scheduled. As the saying goes “If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist.” For instance, what time and day will you set to look at your finances regularly, to evaluate what you have done and what you still have left to do? You can have all the best goals and plans, but if you are not calendaring and scheduling these plans into your life, you will definitely fall short of your goal. Make time for your dreams and turn them into reality by scheduling them into your day.

Your dreams are an index to how great you and your life can be. And you now know that big goals require big models, and big models require big habits that will set you up to have a wonderful, prosperous and productive 2011. Because, after all, you do want to achieve your financial goals to be financially free in the new year, don’t you? To your financial freedom.

Nannette Atuahene-Barrie is a real estate consultant, educator and investor who specializes in helping you to become financially free when you buy a home, sell a home or invest in real estate, through good money management principles and practices. She holds financial literacy workshops regularly in the Palmdale area. NannetteBarrie.com