Congratulations- you’ve decided that you’re going to start chasing your dreams and live the life you really want to live! It’s a seminal time in your life and you’ll want to do it right. There will be obstacles along the away, some of which will be self-imposed. Take it from someone who has been there, done that--here are six must-do’s that can help you get out of your own way.
1) Get your head on right. Let’s face it, we all have our baggage. Waiting for the perfect time is nothing but a self-defeating behavior. If you’re going to start this journey on the right foot, then your head must be in the right place. You must believe, at least a little, that your goals can be accomplished. You must have hope that if you dedicate yourself and put in the work every day, that helpful things and supportive people will cross your path. That requires an open mind. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car if your brain was impacted and thoughts blurred. The same applies here. Get your head on right before you start and you’ll obliterate a major obstacle from the start.
2) Break it down. A great way to quickly quell your pursuit is to think “big picture” all the time. There is a time and a place for that. There is a time and place to take bites. If you want to be an author and sell a million books but have not penned a word of your manuscript, that goal is going to seem impossibly overwhelming. You’ve now put Mt Everest in your way. Who wants to begin a life changing journey facing such an exhaustive and monumental climb? You’ll talk yourself out of it and your dreams will be ripped away by the icy winds. Make it easier on yourself. Breaking it into smaller pieces makes it completely manageable and will keep your excitement and enthusiasm up! How can you do that? Make a set of short term goals, give yourself an end date within a week or two and then do the work. Small, actionable steps will help you get started and construct a foundation of confidence and momentum. These have to be done before you can sell your book anyway. The point here is—don’t do yourself in by thinking thoughts that are so far from your current reality that they seem insurmountable. A slight tweak in your thought process can lead to gigantic gains.
3) Take time to reflect and celebrate. When undertaking such essential endeavors, it is much easier and enjoyable to walk with little resistance. If you’re like me, you’ve been beating yourself up for holding yourself back for so long that all you want to do now is race to get to your end goal. I admire the tenacity and sense of urgency. Be sure you take time to celebrate your successes every week. When you reflect on the steps you’ve taken, you’ll see the progress made. Be proud of that and remember nothing is too small to acknowledge. If you’ve been consistent and worked toward your goal every day, celebrate it, regardless of how far you think you’ve moved the needle.
4) Ask yourself this one question every day. “What is one step I can take today to get closer to my goals?” Sometimes, even when we’re structured and diligent in our dream chasing, we can let things stray off course. Asking yourself this question brings clarity and inspires action. It makes you take another look at your plans for the day. It has helped me on a few occasions to identify a bigger priority, change direction and slay a dragon. I also like to ask myself this question after I am satisfied with the progress I’ve made at the end of the day. Getting a nudge to get something else done gets you to your goal faster. Bottom line--it’s a good habit to get into.
5) Don’t just accept change. Befriend it. When you make the sincere decision to chase your dreams with all you have, things will change. You’ll manage your time more wisely. You’ll cut out the time and energy zapping activities that don’t serve your purpose. Most importantly, you’ll spend more time doing things you love. Ultimately when you get to that place of freedom, it will also be a big change from the life you are living now. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Making more money, having more freedom, increased personal and professional fulfillment, achieving goals that once seemed way out of reach—all of these are change. Change is good.
6) Hope to Fail- Please, please, please--fail. Then make mistakes and fail again. In failing we learn better ways to do things. Sometimes, we learn that we’re doing things that aren’t congruent with our calling. But we don’t know that, or we don’t muster up the courage to shift direction until we have no other choice. Making mistakes and failing speeds up both processes. If you are failing then you are doing something outside of your comfort zone (if it was comfortable, you wouldn’t fail, right?). Change the perception and meaning of that word internally and look forward to increasing your knowledge, wisdom and efficiency through failure.
Taking these six actions when I started pursuing my dreams has made a profound difference in my life. I had started and stopped so many times prior that it became evident I desperately needed to add structure and discipline. You’ll find as you reach more goals and milestones that you’ll add other helpful actions to your routine. In the meantime, this will get you off to a flying start and deter you from engaging in self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. The next step, starting, is entirely up to you. What is one step you can take today to get closer to your goals?