What do you truly want for your life? What do you dream of? Do you have a dream? Of course you do. You have something that you know will make the world right, and that will make the world the way it is meant to be for you. You have many things you want for your life in many areas.

When you take those wishes, those things you think might be nice, and you clarify them, you make them into intentions. To do that, you must decide exactly what you want to create. You have to go from the point of “it might be nice” to the point of “this is what I intend to do.” That creates an intention. You take your wish, your purpose, your values, the things that mean something to you, and put them into concrete form. You put them into a form in which they can be manifested in your life. You imagine how your purpose or your value will look if it is expressed in your life. It can be a material thing, or a situation, or just a feeling you want to have, or a value you want to live with. Whatever form it takes, creating an intention means coming up with a specific expression of what means most to you.

The intention itself, however, is not enough. To give that intention real power, so that it will indeed happen for you, you have to connect it with your expectations. That is a powerful combination. Because what you expect to happen is going to happen. You are constantly in the process of creating your reality, all around you in your life, based on your expectations.

So when you connect your intention -- your desire to do something -- with an expectation, it will absolutely happen. That intention will be manifest in your life.

So how do you do that? How do you connect your intention to your expectations? You can do it through a powerful facility that you already have. It’s something you use every day, and you can take conscious control of this power. It is the power of visualization. Although technically visualization refers only to the sense of sight, we’re speaking of it in broader terms here that include all your senses. It is the process of experiencing in your mind the full and rich sensory experience of the manifestation of your intentions. It’s not just seeing things in your mind, but also hearing, feeling, touching, smelling and tasting the fulfillment of your intentions in your imagination. It is feeling the presence in all your senses, and feeling how it will feel when your intentions are realized.

This process of visualization is powerful in itself, and you can make it many times more powerful by repeating it over and over again in your mind. The way to do that, is by creating stories for yourself of how your life will be when your intentions are realized.

The best way to explain the process is with an example. Let’s say that I have the dream of owning a lakeside vacation home. The first step is to make that dream into a definite intention, by stating it in a positive manner in the present tense. That begins the process of installing it as an expectation. So, instead of saying something like “I hope someday I can get a lake house” I would say “I own a vacation home on the lake.” Also, it is important to include in your intention some of the meaningful benefits of manifesting it. For me, one benefit of owning a lake house is that it will be a place where my college-age and young adult children will want to come, a place where our family can get together. It will also be a place to relax, to get away from the pressures of everyday life, to be comfortable and enjoy a view of the lake. On top of that, it will be a place where we can entertain friends and other family members. So, with all those things in mind, the intention would be something like this: “I own a comfortable, spacious vacation home on a beautiful lake where our children, other family members and friends love to come, and where we enjoy relaxing together.”

Now in this example you might notice that I have not stated which lake the house is on, or what the house looks like or how many bedrooms it has, or what kind of amenities it has. That’s because, in the case of this particular example, those things are not the motivating factors. For me, in this example, the important thing is to have a lake house that will be a place where my family and friends enjoy gathering and relaxing. For someone else, the exact location may indeed be the most important factor, so in that case the location would be stated in the intention. When stating your intention, then, it’s best to include specifics about the criteria that are important to you, and then leave the rest open-ended. That’s because you don’t know in advance exactly how your intention will be realized. More often than not, it will surprise you in the way it comes about. So it’s good to leave your options open for the things that don’t really matter one way or another, while at the same time being firmly committed to the manifestation of the things that do really matter.

So, now that I have a statement of intention the next step is to connect it to my expectations. The intention by itself is not enough. I hear myself saying, “I own a vacation home at the lake” but I don’t really believe it. What I need now is to connect it with an expectation. The way to do that is through visualization. And one of the most powerful forms of visualization is a story. And remember, this kind of visualization is concerned with more than just the visual sense. It is best when it employs a variety of senses in rich, meaningful and memorable ways. So what I’m going to do is to use the power of a story to lock my intention into my expectations. But I’m not just going to use one story. I’m going to greatly expand on the power by creating several different stories about various scenarios that I envision at my future vacation home on the lake.

Now this is beginning to really sound like a lot of fun, so let’s get started. First, I must come up with a specific scenario that will play out when my intention is realized, and make that scenario into a story, complete with plenty of details that appeal to the senses. For my intention of owning a vacation home on the lake, my first choice is to create a story about waking up on a Saturday morning in the summer.

I open my eyes. Bright sunlight fills the room. Even though it is already hot outside, the bedroom is nice and cool. The sheets and mattress feel very comfortable against my skin, and I realize I’ve just had a great night’s sleep. Sunlight is sparkling on the ceiling, a reflection off the waves on the surface of the lake that’s right next to the house. I hear a jet ski go by in the distance, and a dog barking outside. Then I notice the aroma of waffles cooking, no doubt being made by my younger daughter. I smell coffee and bacon, too. I reach over and feel my small dog, who is also sleeping in the bed. But my wife is not there, so I know she’s already awake and downstairs helping with breakfast. Then I hear the motor of my boat firing up, and the gurgling sound as the boat is slowly backed out of the slip. I sit up, look out the window, and see my oldest daughter and several of her friends casting off for an early morning waterskiing and wakeboarding run. So I get up out of bed, put on my swimsuit and a t-shirt, and go downstairs. As I walk into the breakfast room, my younger daughter is just putting a freshly-cooked Belgian waffle on my plate. She puts a little butter on it, and sets it on the table with a small ceramic pitcher of hot, real maple syrup, and a glass of fresh orange juice. As I pour the syrup on the waffle, the butter melts. I take a bite and it is perfect.

There you have it. That’s one of my visualizations for the intention of owning a vacation home at the lake. Notice that it is filled with sensory richness -- sights, sounds, aromas, touch and taste are all included. Also, the story makes several references to being with family members, since spending time with my family is one of the main reasons I have chosen the intention of owning a vacation home at the lake. It’s not a complicated story. It is really more of a pleasant vignette. Nonetheless, it is rich in sensory references. Plus, it is personally meaningful and easy to remember. Because it is so easy to remember, it is something I can call up in my mind at a moment’s notice, and that’s important. After all, the more often I tell this story to myself, the more power I give to the manifestation of my intention.

Having a couple more stories about the same intention will also serve to add immense power and momentum to bring that intention into reality. So, I have created a story about grilling salmon for a group of friends on a crisp, cool, clear autumn evening at the lake house, and another story about being alone at the lake house on a windy, early spring day and working all day on my next book. The point is to create stories that will bring the intention to life in my mind from several different perspectives, and carry that intention beyond my doubts into a place of positive expectation.

Now, it’s your turn. Think of a dream that you have for your life. It could be anything, as long as it is authentically yours. Take the first step, and state that dream as a positive, present-tense intention. Then, create three stories, rich in sensory detail and personal meaning, that take place in the realm of your intention. If you have trouble coming up with those stories, or if you feel that you’re not creative enough to imagine such stories, consider that you tell yourself stories about your past all the time. Think for a moment about that. There are experiences in your past that you remember fondly, and maybe sometimes you get together with old friends and re-live those memories. When you do, a part of you feels like you’re there. You remember the way it looked. You remember the way it sounded. You remember the way the air felt, and the aromas that were present. You remember the camaraderie of your friends. You remember how good you felt while experiencing it.

And the thing is, you can be just as engaged and enthusiastic about some positive scenario that you envision in the future as you can be about the good things that have happened in your past. To create stories about your intentions, you simply “remember” what has not yet happened with the same richness and meaning as you remember what you’ve already experienced. You absolutely have the capability of creating wonderfully rich and inspiring stories about what you intend to create for your life. In fact, you’ll find it to be a very enjoyable exercise and really a whole lot of fun.

After you create your stories, replay them over and over again in your mind. That will transform your intention into a clear and powerful expectation. And once you do that, the magic begins. Because once you truly expect your intention, the energy of your life will move you in the direction of fulfilling that intention. All the little things you do each day will move you in that direction. And that’s important, because there are so very many thoughts and actions you have each day that you can’t possibly control them all. However, when you have a powerful, positive expectation, then the expectation itself takes control and leads you in the direction you expect to go. Over time, as you maintain that expectation, you will naturally work to achieve it, even without thinking about it. When you’re driven by positive expectation, you don’t have to try or struggle or force yourself to take positive, creative actions. Those productive actions will easily flow from you to create the fulfillment of whatever you intend and expect.

In this way, you can go from dream to intention to expectation to reality. You take your dream, crystallize it into an intention, and then use stories to transform that intention into an expectation that has no doubt whatsoever. As you go about living your life, the expectation becomes real. And suddenly, you are living your dream.

Author's Bio: 

Since 1995 Ralph Marston has written and published The Daily Motivator website, offering brief, positive reminders of life’s best possibilities to readers all over the world. He is also the author of three books, including his most recently published book, The Power of Ten Billion Dreams.