Have you read part one of this two-part series? Go ahead and read it if you haven’t – I’ll be waiting right here!
Answering the questions I posed last week would have helped you identify your current “big dreams.” These aren’t the next logical steps if you continue the way you are, but are the things that make your heart sing. There is something deeply satisfying about having a dream list that is close to your heart because it helps you peel back the layers and discover what you really want in your life.
Bring out your paper now and read what you wrote down. Slowly. Listen to your feelings as you reach each sentence. If you feel excited, feel your heart fluttering, you’re on the right track. The things that leave you wondering why you wrote what you wrote may not be what you really want to do, but what you think you should do. Cross those off right away.
If you’re truthful with yourself, you’ve had those things on your to-do list since a while and have gotten nowhere with them. You also use that list to beat yourself up about being an under-achiever. So, do yourself a favour and just. let. them. go. really. You’ll feel better. I promise. Unless you’ve written something like take (insert health condition here) medication on time everyday and are about to cross that off. Come on! You should know better, right?
Anyhoo! Now that you’ve got your dream list ready, here’s what you gotta do.
Go through each section and for each, create one or two goals that really compel and excite you when you think about them from the material you wrote.
Then, write one goal at the top of a page, with a separate page for each goal. Set a timer for two minutes and write down why you want to achieve this goal.
Once you’ve done that, create a compelling argument to yourself on why you must do achieve this goal. If you can’t create a compelling argument that makes you ache to achieve the goal, you may need to choose a different one. After all, if you can’t convince yourself in an argument, you won’t have the drive to complete the goal!
For each goal, write down three small steps you can take now that will help you achieve your goals. Initially, these will typically be “discovery” steps that will help you get more information about how to go about achieving your goal. If one of your goals is to learn a language or photography, one of your first steps might involve identifying classes that you can enrol for. Make sure that you aren’t setting yourself a huge target, take baby steps.
The key is to commit to something that you really, really want to do. Even if you can spend just one day a month working on that goal, it will change how you think and dramatically improve your life. Promise.
As you finish a step, cross it off your list. Doesn’t it make you feel great? For every step you cross off, add a new one. Rinse and repeat until you (gasp!) are well on your way to achieving your goal! Crossing off and adding new to-dos helps you keep your momentum going and gives you confidence in your own ability to achieve your dreams.
But what if the number of goals you’ve set yourself has you in overwhelm mode? Prioritize. How? Look at each goal and each argument, read it out loud if you need to, with feeling, and ask yourself if not achieving any of these would leave you with a hole in your heart or filled with regrets. The ones that will are the ones that you should pick up on priority. Easy-peasy!
Another thing that can lead to a slight sense of deflation is the knowledge that it may take you years to achieve some of your goals. But it is important to understand and accept this, and to press on anyway. After all, it’s the journey that matters. And just think of how proud you’ll feel every time you work towards it, and when you finally achieve it!
Also, if possible, enlist the help of family or friends to hold you accountable, someone with whom you can check in say once a month. Your accountability group will be your personal cheer leaders, help you brainstorm if you come up against a wall, give you a little (or a big) push if you find yourself getting complacent, and will totally rock your world when you achieve your dream!
There you have it – the blueprint to (finding and) achieving your most authentic dreams.