There are five steps to making your dreams come true. First, just play with your idea. Second, let it sit for a while. Third, take that seed of an idea out of the marinade and see how you feel about it. Fourth, get down to business… what do you need to actually make this dream a reality? What resources, in terms of time, money, help, can you bring on to help you? Fifth, come up with an Action Plan.
Steps one through three are more mindset and motivation oriented, whereas steps four and five are about action.
These two sides of the coin are crucial; you need both. In the case of dreaming big and reaching amazing goals, you have to have confidence, know what you want, and believe in the possibility of actually achieving your goals. Then, you have to take action. Just believing isn’t enough; you have to marry belief with action.
Some people might have trouble with the belief part, while others, like the reader above, struggle with action.
Here are some tips and strategies that might help you get past your challenges with either side of the dream/goal coin.
What do you do if the mindset and belief piece is too scary?
Create and repeat affirmations. Retrain and rewire your brain to believe the good stuff. Remember Julia Roberts’s line in Pretty Woman? “The bad stuff is easier to believe.” Overwhelm the negative stories with positive ones!
Remember that you’ve had success before. And you will again. Remind yourself by a daily gratitude journal or a regular ritual where you write down all that you’ve accomplished. Mark and I do this every quarter, and each time we’ve done it, we have more and more to write… because we’re retraining our brains to look for the successes.
What is the reality of the fear? For most of us, what we fear is in the future… someone will say this, someone will be mad at that… what if this doesn’t work? And so on. You could even write down the worst thing that could happen. Then, what you’ll probably find is that 1) it’s not as bad as you imagined (with no real information), and 2) you start coming up with your plan if Worst Case Scenario does indeed occur. Now, you’ve diffused the fear with planning.
Stay in the present. What is the reality of the present moment? More than likely, you don’t have nasty people calling you on the phone, and you don’t have people screaming at you in email. Breathe in what is going on in the present moment.
Now, what do you do if the action steps are too scary?
Get all the mind crap out of your head and down on paper. When all the to-do’s and concepts and possibilities and fears are jockeying for space along with the grocery list, ideas for dinner, and Jimmy’s rehearsal schedule, no wonder actions seem overwhelming.
Break down the actions into as small steps as possible. It’s awfully hard to wrap your head around a big project or goal. But it’s much easier if you look at one action… write the chapter outline of the book. Jot down what you want participants to get out of your new program. Write the words “Workshop Exercise” on a document.
Take one tiny step. Just one, and it can be the tiniest, itty bittiest step you can imagine.
Try to make progress on (not finish!) your goals every day. Once you give yourself permission to just make progress and not complete, it’s much easier to take action. “All I have to do is ____” is a pretty powerful statement.
Make taking action as easy as possible. If that next step is a hard one, it’s less likely that you’re actually going to take it. Set yourself up for easy. Take the picture that goes along with your blog post, and then when you go to write the blog post, you already have the picture for it. The next step feels a little easier.
The truth is that reaching our dreams and goals isn’t easier than doing nothing. But doing nothing doesn’t get us nearly as far as pursuing our dreams.