I lived in Colorado Springs after I graduated from college. Wonderful town. Absolutely loved my time there.

One day, I was at a networking event. They started things off by asking an icebreaker question: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

As we went around the room, people were naming places like “a secluded mountain lake”, “a beach house in Tahiti”, or “New York City, overlooking Central Park”. Each was met with oohs and aahs of agreement. Finally, it was my turn to name where I would live if I could choose.

“Somewhere along the Front Range, between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.”

I was greeted with silence. After a few moments, someone pseudo-helpfully quipped, “No, not where do you live—where do you want to live?” That drew chuckles from the crowd.

I didn’t miss a beat in my reply. “Well, some of us spend our lives chasing the dream. Some of us live it.”

When you go on vacation, you’re visiting a dream world. Where you go, what you do, and even the food you eat are things you’ve dreamed about. Eventually, you have to go back to reality.

Why not make your everyday reality into your dream life? We keep them separate. They don’t have to be.

Start with the vision of the life you want to live. To do this, project yourself forward. Stand five/ten/twenty years in the future and describe what your life is like. Where do you live? With whom? What do you do for work? How do you spend your evenings and weekends?

This is the reality you’re going to create.

Now that you have a vision, ask yourself the tough questions: In order for that vision to become my reality, what needs to happen? What choices do I need to make? What do I need to change in my life?

Write down what your reality is now and what you want it to be. Include the good things that you want to maintain, not just the parts you want to replace and improve. Identify the habits you need to have in place and the things currently in your life that you need to let go.

Congratulations! You’ve just turned your vision into a plan.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. Joel A. Barker

Select three changes. Write them as goals. Two easy, one that will take longer than a quarter.

Each week, select three up to three milestones to you want to achieve towards realizing those goals. Some weeks, you’ll do less than three, but you want to make progress.

When you achieve a goal, celebrate. Check back in with that description you made of where you are and where you want to go.

You’re making progress. You’re changing your life.

Do you feel satisfied with the change? You may need to keep pushing in that direction. If not, back out the change. Make another choice. It’s not a big deal. The path from where we are to where we want to be is seldom a straight line. Some wandering may be required.

Gradually, you will start to close the gap between your dreams and your reality. It doesn’t happen all at once. One day, you’ll look back and it will hit you how far you’ve come.

You’ll always go on vacation; it’s part of our need for variety. You’ll always dream; it’s part of becoming our best self and, eventually, transcending our self. Your dream will change and you’ll need to adjust your plans.

Remember—no one else gets to write your life’s script. You get to design the life that you want to live. You’re the one who gets to do the work. You’re the one who’ll get to live the dream while everyone else is chasing theirs.

Question: What’s in your dream that you need to make a plan for? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.