As kids, we didn’t have dreams. We had plans. We planned to become astronauts, rock stars, movie stars, authors, and inventors. These were never dreams. They were very concrete plans. But with age, the language started shifting. We started saying “I may” instead of “I will”, and “someday” instead of “when I grow up”. Plans turned into to dreams, and for many of us, the language shifted even further, until we were left with “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”, abandoning or dreams and our plans.

Why do people forsake their childhood plans? Typical answers are:

– It was never meant to happen

– I just don’t have it in me

– I can’t afford it

– I’m too old

But more than often, there’s a much simpler reason: we simply don’t know how to go about it.

Any long-term task requires structured set of steps to go through – a program that you can follow on a daily basis. Think of college education: at each semester, students choose a set of courses, based on structured rules involving prerequisites, credits, electives, and mandatory courses. Then during the semester, students know their specific tasks for any given day: study for a test, submit a paper, or go to class. Without such structured programs, broken-down into daily tasks, we would not have any education or technology. We even need a set of steps even for the simplest tasks, like assembling furniture, or installing new software.

What were your childhood plans? What is one thing you can do today to accomplish them? What baby-step can you take tomorrow?

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built one day at a time. If you examine your childhood plans, and break them down into daily tasks, you may discover that you have what it takes, you can afford it, and that you are not too old. But the first step is to choose your words carefully. Say that you “will”, and instead of pursuing your dreams someday, start to follow your plans, today.

Based on TEDx talk given at TEDx Russell Square 2014