Many of us have hopes and dreams that we make part of our New Years resolutions. Now, have you also set yourself up for success or failure in reaching your goals? Often, we have dreams that we are passionate about but we abandon them, squelch them, or put them off to some distant tomorrow. Why is that and what can you do about unlocking the keys to make your dreams or goals happen?
We might say: “Well now is not the time.” Or, “I used to want to do this or that, but it is not possible, or at least – not right now.” We make choices all the time, either consciously or unconsciously. Most of us have been trained to put off our innermost desires until we grow up, or until we get out of school, or until we have our careers set, or until we retire. But, what about today? Tomorrow may never come. Are you willing to take the risk, to be vulnerable enough to seize the moment?
Life Gets In the Way
Sometimes we see too many obstacles, hurdles or a wall that we see no way around, over or through. There may be very good reasons – only you can judge. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 41% of Americans make New Years resolutions, but just 9% of people achieve their goals. But, what if there were ways to improve tremendously the odds of realizing your dream?
I detest waste of any kind! Probably it is the Scottish in me. One of the things that really infuriates me is when I see people wasting their lives. Why does a healthy and intelligent man waste his life away on a menial job in the day time and computer games at night? Why does a retired lady eat and drink herself into a place where she can no longer enjoy a walk through the park or a shopping excursion because she is huffing and puffing? It is far easier to see someone else wasting their life than to see myself.
I have been doing some self-examination lately. And I will be sharing in this blog some of the discoveries that I am making. Having been a student of John Assaraf and his NeuroGym for the last two years, I have proven to myself that when I stay with the program of “innercises” that he lays out, that I am happier, more positive, more energetic and focused. But, I get to a point where I just quit doing it.
Why do I sabotage myself like that?
Because of a simple fear of failure. I want to deny it, but the truth of it is staring back at me. In my writing, in my dancing — I have tiptoed around the tulips. I never realized before what a wuss I could be! I just don’t like to put myself out there, to admit to being vulnerable. I would rather look in the mirror and see myself as a lion instead of as a meek kitten.
Five Keys to Unlock the Life of Your Dreams
KEY #1 is — Look at yourself in the mirror and examine your fear.
By the grace of God, it so happened that I have a fear that is greater than the fear of failure. A recent health issue scared me into dealing with the question that goes to the heart of living the life of our dreams and that is:
If you were going to die tomorrow or next month or your life was dramatically altered by a debilitating illness, would you be leading your life any differently today?
My answer was a resounding YES. I never want to be on my death-bed, but some day each of us will be. When that does happen, I do not want to have regrets for the opportunities that I passed up. If you have a chance to follow a dream, don’t keep putting it off.
Along these lines, I was recently introduced to a concept called “value based living.” Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way that you lead your life. According to Polly Campbell in her thoughtful book, Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People, “When you’re willing to discover and live from your deepest values, life not only becomes a more fulfilling and passionate adventure, but it also becomes easier.”
So, I asked myself, can you honestly say that you have been living your highest values? If what we do every day is determined by our highest values, then we can be happy and satisfied that we are living the life of our dreams!
KEY #2 is — Determine what are your highest values.
To do this exercise, take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. Then write a list of the top values that come into your mind. You may come up with six to ten things that are important in your life. Then, go back and prioritize your top three. For instance, my top three are: God, Health, and Family. The website, MindTools has an article, “What are Your Values?” that is worth reading to help you perform this exercise.
Martin Luther King’s famous quote “I have a dream” is a great example for us. In the illustration above, King specifically chose to follow his dream using one of the values he considered highest – love. This way, he was successful at leading a peaceful revolution of change without violence.
When you make a to-do list for tomorrow, you need to be sure to address the items on that list that relate to your top values. And, do those things first, before other things get in the way. For a long time I have prayed often throughout the day as if I was standing on God’s shoulder and He is listening to my every concern. But, now I set aside time even before my feet hit the floor in the morning to pray, to be grateful, to ask for help, to clear my mind by meditation. This way I can best use the precious time with which He has gifting me. Too often, we take our goals and try to squeeze them in at the end of the day “if we have time” — that never happens.
KEY #2.5 is — make a to-do list for every day and review it to prioritize your highest values.
Next, we need to address our beliefs and see how they line up with our values. I am sure this is where I have messed up quite a bit. It is all fine and dandy to have lofty goals based on our values. But if we don’t believe in our hearts that we can achieve them, if we can’t visualize them, then they are not going to happen.
Every day we make choices. We can trade the precious time of our lives for what we think we have to do or we can trade it for what we love to do!
Wouldn’t it be nice if these two things were the same? Enormous stress and poor health are the result of many people’s values and beliefs being out of sync. It is the reason why so many people make only half-hearted attempts to achieve their goals, or why they pick the wrong goals in the first place. You need to believe that you can achieve your goals and dreams. Believe in yourself.
God has a plan for every one of us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. What is His plan for you? Have you been given talents you are not using? If you have the dream, it is coming from somewhere. Recognize and believe you can succeed.
KEY #3 is — Find ways to create the beliefs in yourself that you need to support your values.
Finding ways to do this can be a major hurdle. It takes thought and planning to get yourself in the right, positive frame of mind to do what you need to do with any consistency.
KEY #4 is — Setup your habits to line you with your beliefs.
For instance, if your health is one of your top values, what can you do each day to improve your health? And, exactly what does improving your health look like? Visualize! If you get off track, jump right back on.
I hope to talk more about this in the next blog, but
Some ideas to set yourself up for success in achieving the life of your dreams involve:
- Positive affirmations (self talk) — ways to fight the negative voices in your head that cause you to give up.
- Commit yourself — write down specific steps that would take you in the direction of achieving even the most wild of your aspirations
- Tell someone who will hold you accountable. Get yourself an accountability partner. For instance, if you want to lose weight, decide how much and by when you will achieve your goal. Then tell someone who will help you watch what you eat. Ideally, find someone to share the journey with you.
- Treat yourself to inspirational, uplifting music. Make your own musical playlist. This will help you escape negative thinking, bad news on TV, and get you pumped to achieve your dreams.
Time is precious, much more precious than money.
KEY #5 is – Learn to say no to commitments that are not in line with your values
So, do those things that are in line with your highest values first. At the end of the day you will have the sense of satisfaction that your priorities are in order. You will have unlocked the keys and be on your way to a more satisfying life – the life of your dreams.
I need your feedback! Would any of you be interested in participating in a closed Facebook page where we could talk and support each other in the journey for the life of our dreams? If so, you can go to the closed Facebook page by clicking – Living Our Dreams.
Until next time, here is one of the inspirational songs on my own playlist for your listening pleasure –
Louie Armstrong in “What a Wonderful World”
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