The Care and Feeding of a Baby Dream

Baby eagles
Written by Betsy Talbot

When people think of changing their lives, they often daydream about the BIG MOMENT, the point where they cease living the everyday and begin living their version of the good life. It is a lottery winner mindset, one that says “until X happens, you won’t be living your dream.”

If you think of your own dreams this way, waiting for something to happen to show you that your dream is finally real, I’d like to challenge you to try something new. Something revolutionary, in fact.

Stop imagining your dream as a full-grown adult and see it as an infant, waiting to be nurtured by you every hour of every day until it is ready to stand on it’s own.

You see, your dream comes to life the minute you take the first step toward it, and it grows bigger every time you take another step. Most people are waiting for a mature dream to appear in their lives, not understanding it is up to them to grow and nurture this spark of an idea into a full-grown reality.

Nurturing your dream

Your dream needs care and feeding to grow, and this means everyday attention from you. You may think these tiny actions are not important, but over time they add up to the very thing you want the most.

Baby Steps

Your dream won’t grow by leaps and bounds, but it will make pretty fast progress with daily small steps. If you want your baby dream to run marathons as an adult, you need to first teach it out to crawl.

Think of the smallest step you could take today toward your dream life and then do it. Aim for a task that will take less than an hour. The sense of completion will inspire you to take another small step tomorrow, and again the next day, and so on. This is how dreams mature.

  • Make the call
  • Write the outline
  • De-clutter one shelf
  • Walk around the block
  • Eat one meatless meal


Deadlines are the same thing as birthdays for your baby dream. Every time you meet a deadline, your dream gets a little bit more mature. Your sense of accomplishment grows each time, motivating you to do even more. (It’s up to you if you want bake a cake every time you meet a deadline. I vote yes.)

  • Call 10 new people this month to share your idea/project
  • Write 2000 words per day on your masterpiece
  • De-clutter enough to park your car in the garage by December 1
  • Run a 10K race by next spring
  • Become a vegetarian by New Year’s Day


It takes a while to raise a dream from infancy to adulthood, and sometimes you’ll get tired. This is when the people you trust with your dream will come to the rescue, supporting you when you’re down, encouraging you when you feel defeated, and cheering you on when your dream takes a growth spurt.

  • Share your dream with the people in your life so they can support you
  • Seek out others who want the same dream through clubs, the Internet and meetup groups
  • Ask for everything you need and most of what you want
  • Give yourself some downtime to recharge and rejuvenate
  • Repay your sitters by helping them support their baby dreams

Living your dream

A funny thing happens when you envision your dream as a baby instead of an adult.

You stop expecting the dream to work for you and begin doing the necessary work for the dream.

The mind shift is subtle but profound, and by realistically seeing your dreams – and the work needed to achieve them – you’ll see far more of them reach productive adulthood.

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About the author

Betsy Talbot

Betsy Talbot and her husband Warren grew their baby dream of world travel into a giant, turning that spark of an idea into a lifestyle in just 25 months. They have been traveling since 2010, most recently in Spain. Find out how they created the right mindset and saved the cash in their book, Dream Save Do. Read more about their life lessons from world travel at Married with Luggage


  • Great Post Betsy! I have to remind myself – inch by inch its a cinch. Yard by yard its hard! I love the nuture Baby Dreams metaphor. Will share this article with my daughter and others who are all birthing new baby dreams.

  • I can’t stand out from commenting the idea of Nurturing the dream. The fact you really inspire to action is powerful. There is so much we have to learn every day. It’s never ending learning. Waay more

  • I so love this idea of seeing your dream as an infant and nurturing it. It seems to bring joy and fun into the process and take out some of the stress. Isn’t interesting how a small mind shift like this can make such a huge difference in the quality of our life?

  • This is a wonderful way of looking at dreams. Dreams are like babies indeed. Also, dreams have life, in a way. Like a plant that will wither and die if you don’t give it the nutrition it needs.

  • I haven’t thought about dreams or goals like this before, definately a very interesting concept I will have to try. Any way to get from thinking to action is good in my opinion. It goes nicely with the way I try to approaching doing something everyday that get me closer to my goals. A baby certainly needs to be taken care of every day.

  • Nice post, Betsy! And really an interesting approach to realizing our dreams. Thanks for it!
    Besides, I totally agree with you that we should work on our dreams, not just wait when they come true.

  • Love it Betsy. I too had the belief that said, “when x happens then I will be happy.” I had to stop that because I would be waiting for a long time in many instances.

    Obviously for my blog I have a vision and goals that I have not reached yet. Instead of feeling like I failed I prefer to believe that I am still on the journey there.

    Take care.

    • Hi, Justin. We’re all still on the journey, aren’t we? And learning to appreciate that is the first step in being happy. There is no end except…well, the end!

      One thought that might help you: when was the last time you thought “when this happens I’ll be happy” and then it happened and you replaced it with another goal? We all do this – think of how many of us just longed to get out of high school or get a driver’s license! We keep moving the goal posts as we go through life, which is why you can never count on a specific event or possession to make you happy. You have to cultivate the feeling yourself every single day. Good luck!

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