nicole bensen

5 Steps to Manifest Your Dreams

I sent the note below in January 2022, and wanted to re-share today as the “MVE” (minimum viable experiments) tool is constantly something people tell me helps them achieve their goals, big or small. 

Whether you set a new year’s resolution or not, chances are high that if you’re hanging out with me, you have big dreams too. So here’s 5 steps in 5 minutes to help you achieve those dreams.

Did you set a new year’s resolution? I’m not a big resolution person, myself, and I’m not here to tell you to throw yours away completely, BUT…in my positive psychology-based coaching practice, I encourage you to choose a goal that’s so-easy-you-can’t-help-but-do-it as a stepping stone to that big goal/resolution.

I call these micro goals: MVEs. Minimum Viable Experiments.

These smaller changes are more manageable, and accomplishing them gives you a boost to keep going—not to mention the ability to pivot if something needs tweaking.

So if you made a new year’s resolution or have a dream or goal, break down that goal to the tiniest baby step—your MVE, and once you’ve accomplished it, choose the next step.

You don’t have to have all the steps figured out, just the next one.

Although I rarely set resolutions, I’m constantly dreaming about my best possible future, creating vision boards, and making minimum viable experiments to move forward.

I’m sharing the 5 steps I’ve been using every day that take just 5 minutes in the morning and evening. I call this sheet “Dream. Do.”

minimum-viable-experiments

5 Steps for creating a minimum viable experiment

1. in the morning i write down “5 things i want.”

This could be a big goal, like buying a more spacious home with a curved staircase (actually on my vision board), or something that I want at that moment, like more sleep (this has been on my list most mornings since having a baby last month!). There are no rules.

2. then i write “ideas to propel me forward.”

This is an open brainstorming area where I’ll write down anything that pops into my mind that might support the “things I want.” For example, if I wrote down, “A more spacious home with a curved staircase,” ideas to propel me forward could be “spend 5 minutes on Pinterest pinning photos,” or “research mortgage rates,” or “look at homes on Zillow.” In this brainstorming area you might write down five ideas for one thing you want, or one idea, period. You don’t have to come up with an idea for every thing you want.

3. third, i choose an minimum viable experiment.

What’s the minimum thing I could do to propel one of my ideas forward? Using the example above I could block my calendar for 20 minutes in the afternoon to take a break and scroll Pinterest for 5 minutes. I also recommend adding in “where” and “when” you’ll do your MVE, like “On the living room couch at 1:00pm.”

That’s it: Giving yourself permission to want, and choosing one small action.

Sounds too easy to make a difference, right? Well, in these mico-moments you’re doing tiny experiments that make the goal closer to reality in your mind, which leads to big breakthroughs.

4. at the end of the day i write down how my mve went in “post-mve notes” for accountability. 

Usually it’s as simple as, “Spent 15 minutes looking at staircases on Pinterest.”

5. and last, i write down “3 good things” i appreciate from the day. 

Examples: 1. My cup of coffee this morning. 2. A new coaching client. 3. A video catch-up with my friends.

Here’s an example: 

What’s a dream you have for 2024? Comment below to let me know; I love hearing from you, and I’m cheering for you!


PS. Do you want personalized support? I just opened my schedule to accept 4 new 1:1 clients. 🎉  Learn more about 1:1 coaching here.

PSS. Is audio more your style? Check these out:

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On The Choice podcast with Amy Bett, we talked about my road from dream job to overwhelm (and out!), how to build resilience for when life throws you a curveball, ways to avoid burnout, and how to overcome an Imposter Experience, aka Imposter Syndrome. 

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For the Women’s Empowerment Conference at San Jose State University I gave a virtual talk including three stories of taking risks (like starting a travel company during a pandemic), with encouragement to take micro-risks, practice failing, and build your resilience.

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