Become A Dreamer Again
Have you ever felt that your childhood dreams are buried under a lot of how you should approach life, how you should fit in? That others talked you out of your dreams and made you believe that you can’t make them come true anyway? That you shouldn’t waste your time to strive for them?
As long as I can remember being an adult, I didn’t allow myself to dream because I thought it was a waste of time, and it’d hurt too much because I believed I can’t make my dream come true.
I stayed where I was and allowed the voices in my head, the voices of my past, to make me powerless and small.
And one day, I realized that I cage myself with the way I think about myself. That I keep myself small and not being good enough. I didn’t even try to make my dreams come true. I gave up before I even tried.
Dreaming is just the first step of making Dreams come true
That was the moment when I started to dream again. I began to feel back into my childhood when I truly believed that dreams can come true. A time when I believed when I just could reach the clouds I could walk on them, that I could fly, that I could be anyone I want to be. And I felt a strength and power coming back into my life.
I started to believe in my own abilities, and instead of telling myself, you can’t do it, I asked myself what I need to do. What skills do I have to learn, and what actions do I need to take?
And my dreams started to become goals; they began to become achievable and realistic.
I literally knew that I could do it. I learned to shut down my inner voices and started to believe in my own power. I began to believe in myself.
Inspiring Others To Dream
However, I experienced how difficult it is to find the strength to let the old beliefs behind. I know that getting out of the comfort zone of the known is damn hard. It is challenging, and it often sucks. No one will take the struggle away from committing yourself to your dreams and make them work, but I know you don’t need to figure it all by yourself.
That’s why I started to believe in others, too because sometimes it needs someone else to believe in you before you will do it yourselves.
But for me believing is not enough, offering a helping hand is even more satisfying. So here we go, I’ll share with you some ways to work toward living your very best life by refusing to settle for less. There are several steps you’ll need to take to reach your destination. I’ll break them down, so the process is less overwhelming. By the end, you’ll feel confident you have what it takes to improve the quality of your life and to reach for more.
So, let’s get ready for an adventure where you learn the steps for creating your best life. Each person’s journey will be different. Here is your roadmap to begin yours!
Step 1 – Take Stock and Figure Out What You Want Out of Life
I’m so excited to start this journey with you! The first step to living your dreams is taking stock of where you are now and figuring out where you want to eventually be. The idea of it can seem overwhelming, but just know that there is no one way to go through this process. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The important part is that you walk away with an improved knowledge of yourself, your values, your purpose, and your goals.
I’ll share with you tips for discovering these things. It’s actually quite exciting and empowering to do such an assessment and start envisioning the kind of life you want to live. So, get ready to take the first steps toward creating your best life and achieving your dreams.
Assess Your Current Situation
Take an honest look at where you currently are in your life. Honest doesn’t necessarily mean critical. Try to be gentle with yourself throughout this process. It’s not meant to cause you to feel inadequate or unsuccessful in any way.
This exercise should provide you with insights into your strengths and what you’d like to change.
Take some time to sit down and think about what is working and what you’re happy with. What are your assets? What particular strengths do you bring to the table? What part of your life brings you the most joy?
Now it’s time to look at what could be better about your current situation. Name some aspects that are causing you difficulty, stress, or unhappiness. In what ways could you improve? What are some things you’d like to change? Go ahead and also think of your hopes, wishes, and dreams. Write them down. What do you want more of in your life?
You may be surprised at the insight you walk away with after completing this activity.
Narrow It Down
You may have come away from the above assessment with a great deal of information, and that’s great. Sometimes, though, the insight you have may be too vague or simply too much to take on all at once, and you need to narrow it down so that you don’t become overwhelmed down the road and give up.
Sometimes we add a goal to our list that doesn’t truly resonate with us or one that won’t necessarily help us move in the direction we want to go. That’s because these goals may come from outside influences or fit a narrative we no longer subscribe to. This is where you need to do a little more soul searching.
Try to focus on the changes that are most likely to be attainable and have the most impact. This will give you confidence as you begin to check accomplishments off your list and add new ones. Each small change adds up and contributes to the success of your larger dreams.
A way to narrow your goals down is to look at your reasons for wanting to achieve a goal.
- Do your goals align with your values and with where you want to go in your life?
- Do they add to the ways in which you want to live each day?
- Do they complement your overall vision for the future?
Be honest with yourself during this step of the process. Try not to allow fear or insecurity to stop you. Take a moment to honestly assess the issue and decide what may be causing you uncertainty. Then, work to figure out whether you can overcome the problem or make sense to simply scrap that goal in favor of another.
This process will prepare you for the next step, making a plan for executing your goals in each area of your life. This is the fun part, where you get to implement your ideas and embark on the path to making real and lasting change.
Step 2 – Come Up with a Plan for Each Area of Your Life
Now it’s time to take the insight you’ve gained and bring it into life by making a plan. Goal-setting, surprisingly, is a complex process and takes a great deal of strategy if you want to increase your chances of success.
Merely saying that you’d like to make changes isn’t enough. You’ll need a detailed road map to help you maintain momentum as you work toward your dreams.
A simple framework for creating such strategic goals is SMART goal-setting. Take a look at how it works:
Set SMART Goals
Setting SMART goals is a process for goal setting that allows you to make a more straightforward, more detailed plan with time constraints. This strategy lets you use your resources more wisely and helps you to monitor your activities to stay on track and maintain momentum. It’s actually a very simple process that pays off in big rewards.
SMART stands for:
When you create a goal, you must be sure to make it as specific as possible. Vague statements are hard to stick with and usually end up being wishes and unfulfilled dreams.
Instead, be very detailed regarding what you hope to accomplish and why it’s important to you. Add any additional information you can think of, such as who you may need help from, where most of your activity will take place, and what types of resources you’ll need to complete the goal. Picture it vividly.
Your goal should also be measurable so that you can track your progress and make adjustments as necessary. It helps you to stay motivated and allowing you to celebrate small wins along the way. You can also easily make adjustments if you find your goal going off-course.
Is your goal realistic? Making sure what you want is achievable is crucial to your success. Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself and reach for big things. Just ask yourself questions such as how you will make it happen and take time to assess the resources you have to put toward your goal.
Setting goals that are relevant is a bit less straightforward than some of the other aspects of SMART goal-setting. A relevant goal is meaningful to you, and that coordinates with other aspects of your life. Take time to determine whether this is really something you want to devote your time and energy to. Consider how it will contribute to your overall life satisfaction. If it feels right, go with it.
Finally, be sure you have an end date in mind for your goal. Otherwise, you won’t have a definite target to work toward, and you could find yourself sputtering out.
Creating time-bound goals lets you know when you’ve achieved success. It keeps you on track and prevents you from walking away as quickly when life gets in the way. You’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and will feel more motivated to keep going when you have a deadline in mind.
Hopefully, you feel more confident about the idea of setting big goals and following them through now that you understand SMART goals.
Step 3 – Small Actions and Tweaks Add Up to Big Change
This next step will show you how taking small daily actions can make reaching your dreams so much easier. You won’t be as overwhelmed when you break your big goals down into smaller chunks. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how quickly these baby steps add up to significant results.
Your massive life goals need to be broken down into smaller chunks. There are several reasons why this is so necessary and beneficial. First, it makes the process seem less intimidating. It also allows you to make progress that builds upon itself, increasing your confidence, motivation, and the chance of success.
Chunking can be done in various ways. Some people like to start from the end goal and work backward by writing down the steps they’ll need to achieve along the way in reverse order. This makes it easier for many to see the big picture and determine what steps need to be taken to achieve it.
You might also want to break down your goals in terms of time. How long will it take you to complete your goal? How long do you need to work on a task each day, week, or month to reach your objective?
Another approach is to quantify your goals. How many things will you need to do regularly if you hope to become proficient at something or obtain a particular result?
The actionable steps approach chunking or breaking down goals is a favorite of mine. It involves developing a list of actions or steps you can take to move you closer to reaching your goal. The idea is that small actions build on each other to lead to significant results, and it really does work.
Start by thinking of the bigger actions you can take on a yearly basis to help you reach your dreams. This is similar to working backward. It’s easier to begin with, yearly action steps and then break them down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Be sure to consider all of your life areas you’d like to improve and include a yearly objective that can help you reach that dream.
For example, you might consider what type of big fitness goal you hope to attain, such as running a 5K or becoming proficient at a new sport. Think big and branch out into various parts of your life. These are steps toward bigger goals like getting more physically fit and making more money by climbing the career ladder.
Now that you’ve chosen some yearly goals, you can more readily break those down into monthly to-do’s. What things can you do in a month that can help you to meet your goal? For instance, when it comes to that big goal of getting fit and running a 5K, you can create an objective of improving your stamina over the next month by setting a specific goal of increasing the duration and distance you’re able to run.
Your weekly to-dos are even smaller steps you can take based on the monthly and yearly goals you’ve set. These are things that can be accomplished in 7 days at a time, such as going to the gym three times to work on cardio to train for your 5K.
Here’s where you get down to the nitty-gritty and where you can start to really build some momentum. These daily tasks are small and actionable, but they lead to big results and a real sense of accomplishment. Dedicate at least one task daily toward a larger goal you’ve set. This might be something as small as choosing a high-protein lunch instead of indulging in pizza and cake for the office party.
The main objective here is to break large goals into more manageable chunks that are meaningful and relevant to the bigger dream. It’s wise to add these activities to your calendar when possible so that you’re more apt to commit to them. This process can seem foreign at first, but you will start to gain momentum and increase your confidence and motivation with each completed action. Start to put these tips in motion and see for yourself.
Step 4 – What’s Working and What Isn’t
You’re on your way toward strategically pursuing the dreams you have for yourself. I hope you’re excited! You have a lot of tools at your disposal for making big life changes.
To stay on track, though, you must learn to monitor your progress to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Just because you may find yourself going off course doesn’t mean you’re not doing well. We can never foresee the trajectory of the pursuit of our goals when we begin. It’s common to discover you may need to tweak things a bit, and that’s okay. Let’s look at some ways you can monitor your progress and make changes so you stay on top of your goals with the best chance of success.
Note Your Progress
To know how you’re doing, you absolutely must keep some type of record of your progress in every goal you’re working toward. This can be done in a spreadsheet, through an app, or with a simple chart, you create with pen and paper. Use whatever method you prefer.
Determine a timeframe to check-in that makes sense. This could be different for every goal. Just be sure to follow through and measure your progress at each determined period. Depending on your goal, you might need to create your own rating system to record how well you’re doing. For example, a ten-point scale can work quite well for specific goals in which you’d give yourself a 9 or 10 if you feel you’re doing well.
Just be sure you’re consistent in your rating system and in your check-in frequency. This is key to maintaining successful progress monitoring and developing an accurate picture of your performance.
Be Aware of Patterns
You also want to jot down any patterns you see developing about your successes and your setbacks. If you skipped some training for your 5K goal, make a note. On the other hand, if a good week of good runs leads to better times, write that down. Keeping track of these patterns will let you make adjustments later on.
If you’re feeling adventurous, it can be useful to note as many details as possible. This can include your mood or any significant life events that are going on during the monitoring period. Doing so lets you know if something is a pattern or a one-time thing. This makes a difference in any action you decide to take.
Celebrating your wins is a huge deal when it comes to successful goal setting. Acknowledgment that you’re doing well will raise your confidence level, and you’re more motivated to tackle the next objective. It’s exciting to note that success.
Finally, be sure to make tweaks and adjustments when needed. Having to change because your goal pursuit isn’t going as planned doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Bumps in the road are inevitable. They’re bound to happen.
So, don’t get down on yourself. Be honest with yourself and tweak things as needed.
Step 5 – Never Stop Improving to Make Your Dreams Come Reality
Once you’ve achieved your big goals, you may wonder how to continue. In fact, there may be a period of letdown where you feel lost without having something to strive for. That’s to be expected, and it’s okay to allow yourself to handle that.
It’s also great if you choose to take some time to bask in your accomplishment. Enjoy the moment!
What you likely want to avoid, however, is falling into complacency. It can be relatively easy to let yourself rest on your laurels and to backslide into old habits.
Now that you’ve achieved some significant accomplishments and know how that feels, you’ll probably want to keep up that momentum and move onto bigger and bolder things.
Reflect on What You’ve Learned
Before moving on to look for new heights, reflect upon what you’ve learned from your experience. This knowledge will help you to conquer future goals with more ease.
The process of uncovering your truth, determining what you want to change in your life, and acknowledging your strengths is one that can be incredibly eye-opening.
You’ve probably learned a great deal about yourself, your capabilities, and your character. That’s some pretty important stuff. You can pass more confidently through the world when you have an awareness and understanding of what lies within you. Use that insight as you move forward.
If you feel like you’ve accomplished what you need to in one area of your life, that doesn’t mean you have to be finished. There are still new things to learn and discover. Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t.
Also, take time to examine the reasons why you may not have gone after a particular desire. Is it because of fear or insecurity? That’s a big one, and you’ve already proven you can beat it by accomplishing all you have so far. So, just go for it. Maybe you’ve been afraid of what society or your inner circle will think of you if you go after something outside the social norm. So what? Take the courage you’ve gained from your recent accomplishments and funnel it into crashing through the barriers in your way.
Creating a new identity for yourself can be empowering and exciting. Forge new roads. The possibilities are practically endless, as long as you keep your mind open.
Go for Bigger
Finally, it just makes sense to look for bigger challenges to conquer once you’ve achieved the dreams you’ve set out for yourself. You can almost always do more.
Do you have a bucket list? If so, that can be a great source of inspiration for your next big, lofty goal. If not, now’s the perfect time to create one. A bucket list is simply a list of the grand scale things you’d like to do before you die. It can include items from all aspects of your life. The point, though, is to make the goals significant and far-reaching.
If you’re feeling stuck, do some research to look for inspiration. Read articles about people doing extraordinary things. Look to the people around you who inspire you every day. Ask questions. Read biographies. Open your mind to discovering what others are doing and how you can gain inspiration and ideas from their stories. Then take the time to create a goal-setting strategy that is uniquely relevant to you and your life.
You got the tools, you’ve done it before; you can do it again on an even grander scale. Keep moving forward. Strive for more. You’re in charge of your own life and what you choose to strive for. Enjoy the ride. Be gentle with yourself. And always keep going.