I used to keep telling myself I wanted to write a book, start a business, live in a warmer climate, lose 30 pounds, get fitter etc. Periodically, I did take action to work toward those goals, but like many of us, the urgency of my desires faded and they took a back seat to my life.
Which is sad.
When we keep coming back to wanting to do the same things, it reveals the fact that those goals or dreams mean something to us. It means they’re part of us in some way, or that deep down, we feel drawn to them.
Your desires/dreams are a clear sign of who you really are.
To clarify here, I’m not talking about goals we know we should go after, or that we feel we must do; uuggh!
I’m not talking about your To Do list or things like:
- Getting finances in order
- Organizing your paperwork
- Learning a new skill
- Decluttering your basement
I’m talking about goals that would deeply satisfy you, make you feel good about yourself, and lead to you having a big smile on your face when you’re 90 years old and looking back on your life.
Only you know what those dreams or goals are. If one doesn’t come to mind at the moment, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the things that keep coming up that feel like deep desires to you?
- What is something you’ve been talking about for years that you want to do, but you haven’t done it yet?
- What are the things that light you up when you do them or think about doing them?
- At the end of your life, will there be anything you regret not doing?
For me, I’ve always wanted to write a book. In the last few years, as I crept past the age of 50, it really hit me that I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a teenager.
That means that for the last 40 years, I’ve NOT been working toward a deep desire and dream of mine. Until now.
I’ve finally achieved that dream. I’ve written a practical book to help women find more calm in their life and that will help them identify and reduce much of the stress in their life. It’s finally finished and edited. Now, I have to work at the next stage, which is getting it out into the world, so those that need it can find it!
Update: It’s out in the world!
Writing the book/guide didn’t happen overnight, and it’s completion is based on many varied attempts along the way. However, once I realized how long I’d wanted this, and once I recognized that I needed to nurture that desire so I didn’t lose me, I was in.
I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to accomplish something that’s been a burning desire for 40 years!
Back to you…
What is one thing that you want to do or accomplish? What is one goal or dream that’s tied closely to your heart and soul? One thing.
So, now what can you do with that precious desire/dream of yours? Wait… let’s take it one step further before we move on.
Say your dream out loud to yourself. In the car, at home, in the washroom. Wherever.
“My dream is….”
If you can’t figure it out right now, I’d encourage you to journal or talk out your ideas with someone you trust. Dig deep and find it. It’s in there somewhere.
If you’re aware of your dream, or at least have an inkling of what your dream might be connected to (art, travel, etc.), then you’ve got 3 choices when it comes to what’s next.
- Do nothing and don’t go after your dream/goal.
- Make attempts to go after your dream/goal.
- Go after your dream/goal, no matter what.
Choice #1-Do nothing and don’t go after your goal/dream.
If you have a desire that you’ve already confirmed lies deep within you, burning for attention and recognition, you might still choose to NOT go after your dream.
You might feel you could never accomplish it. For whatever reason or excuse you give, you just don’t think it’s possible. Only you can really know if this is really true.
Here are some common reasons/excuses people give for not going after their dreams:
- It’s too late.
- I don’t have the money.
- I don’t have enough time.
- I’m too busy.
- It’s just not the right time.
- I’m not smart/expert/talented enough.
- I don’t have enough education/credibility.
- My spouse/family think I’m incapable of doing it or that it’s a stupid idea.
- Nobody else gets it/understands my dream.
- I don’t have enough support.
- I’ve already chosen a path; I can’t add more/make a change.
- I tried it before, and it didn’t work/failed.
- I’m carrying issues from my past/childhood.
- Life is fine right now.
- I don’t deserve it.
- I have to focus on my family.
- I don’t know where to begin.
- I’m too introverted/shy.
- I doubt my ability to do it.
- I’m afraid of failing.
- I’m not motivated.
- I’m too distracted.
- I’m not ready.
- I’m too old.
- I’m too young.
- I’m too tired.
- I’m too fat.
- I’m too sick.
There might be a genuine reason for you in that list, but before you decide to NOT go after your dream/goal, ask yourself if you’re willing to give up on your dream.
Before you choose to NOT pursue your dream. I urge you to reconsider because if you squash the burning desire inside you, you are killing a part of yourself. If you kill a part of yourself, you’re not fully living your life, and you may end up like many people who have a regret of not living a life true to themselves (#1 regret in people from the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware).
One final thought. There may be a legitimate reason you do not go after your dream. Only you know if that’s the right decision for you, and you can be proud for making a decision that fits you best.
Choice #2 Make attempts to go after your goal.
If you’ve made this choice, you should pat yourself on the back.
Because it takes courage to go after what you want. Whatever your dream is, it’s likely not something easy, or you would’ve done it by now.
If you’ve decided to make attempts, that’s terrific because you’ve decided to not give up on your dream. Whether you accomplish your goal in the long run, or not, you’ll be able to look back at your life and be able to say that you made attempts.
Even working toward something and not achieving it can be satisfying and a learning experience that helps us grow as a person or that opens paths/doors we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.
A few tips while you make your attempts at going after your dream:
- Avoid overwhelm
- Avoid perfectionist thinking
- Start small
- Work backwards
- Make a plan
- Work on it every day (or regularly)
- Take baby steps
- Nurture your dream by finding others with your dream
- Nurture your dream by finding related books/videos to inspire you
- Don’t give up because you don’t know how to do something; Google is your friend
- Be resourceful and build your resilience
Choice #3: Go after your goal, no matter what!
Congratulations! I’m excited for you.
If you’ve made the decision to go after your dream, it might be because of one or more of these reasons:
- You realize that you’ve put your dreams aside because of family or others’ opinions, and it’s time to do what’s right for you.
- You recognize that your dream is central to who you are, and that damn it, you are worth going after your dream.
- You’ve had a health crisis (that’s what kicked my ass in gear) or an illness/death in the family, which has made you recognize that life is short.
- You’ve had an epiphany that you’re the only one who can make you happy.
- You know now that it just doesn’t matter what other people think.
- You realize you’ve lost yourself over the years, and reconnecting with the passion inside you feels amazing.
- You crave something that is just yours.
- You want to be happy.
Before you dive in to charging after your dream, let me warn you about a few things that could throw you off course or make you think you can’t pursue your dream after all.
- You will have highs and lows. One minute you’ll feel so on top of the world and that you got this! The next minute, you’ll doubt yourself or face an obstacle; both can squash a dream if you allow it. Expect the ups and downs and ride the waves to your dream. Don’t let the challenges throw you off course.
- Keep your dream front and center. Even if you don’t work on it every day, keep your dream alive. Find or make signs, posters, a vision board, reminders on your phone, etc. Keep a dream journal.
- Don’t let the busyness of life or other people’s opinions push your dream to the side. Remind yourself that even if your dream seems weird or unlikely to others, it’s central to who you are, and you will choose to keep it close to your heart.
- You CAN do this.
- You are strong.
- It’s a journey/process.
- It will take time.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- You are worth it.
Whether you made a decision today, or you need to take more time to explore and reflect, I hope you will not let your dream die.
I hope you will love yourself in the best way possible by lighting the spark of your dream and fanning its flames.
Live your true life,
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