I’m here to (lovingly) call you forward. Here’s what I think:
You already have the knowledge.
You already have the capacity.
You already have the discipline.
Maybe not getting what you desire has less to do with these things and more to do with how willing you actually are to state what you desire and take real actions to get there. Let’s be honest, it’s scary to declare to the world what we want, because it can leave us feeling somewhat naked and exposed, publicly open to being witnessed in our disappointment if we don’t get there.
That is truly frightening. It’s normal, in fact human, to be scared by this.
And, it’s also dreadfully unfortunate that the world doesn’t get to see your magic if you don’t find a way to stake your dreams and goals and start moving toward them. So what to do? For many, it starts with allowing desire to be there. If we don’t allow ourselves to have these desires, we most likely won’t ever get to enjoy having them. We must be prepared to put good on the line for the sake of great.
So here is your invitation: dare to dream your wildest dreams! And do what you need to do to start making them a reality.
It might not happen overnight, but you do get to begin it today. Below we look at some (unconventional) advice to help you get started and help deal with some of those blocks.
Before we get too deep, a point that we shouldn’t gloss over is that you must be specific when setting goals. State your desires simply and clearly, that is part 1). And for bonus points, state your feeling state in present tense once you have accomplished your goal, that’s part 2).
Here’s an example to illustrate.
Pay off $50k in debt and earn $100k in one year.
I finally feel like I can breathe! My head is above water when it comes to my finances. I am so proud of myself and all the work I have done. I get excited about learning about money, saving money and making money. I am enjoying the flow of money in and out of my life. I feel balanced and healthy. I feel safe. I feel confident. I feel abundant.
Notice how it’s not just about the money? It’s the bigger picture - the vision.
Probably you’ve had this goal for a while. Maybe months, maybe years. However long it’s been around, take some time now to reflect on what stopped you moving forward toward this goal in the past year.
What were the restrictions - time? Money? Energy? Motivation? Things beyond your control? Get honest with yourself for a few minutes and acknowledge what’s been in the way. Also acknowledge if there were ways that you could have taken more responsibility, and what got in the way of doing that (including your own mindset).
Now, don’t linger here - let’s move on!
Work on the why
Time to get a bit deeper in the why. Why do you want to achieve your goal? Why do you have this desire? Do you fully understand all of the ways having reached this goal will impact your life? The life of others? I’d suggest there is still some additional leverage to exploit beyond the feeling state you explained above, so let’s dig deeper.
Write down 100 reasons why you should achieve this goal.
Yes, one hundred. 1-0-0. 99 +1.
Don’t stop until you’re complete, unless it’s to take a few breaths or take a 5 minute power walk around the block to get some more inspiration.
Think long term, short term, think about practical benefits, emotional benefits, spiritual benefits. Think about the other areas of your life which will be impacted by having achieved this goal.
Sometimes the big goal can be overwhelming to look at.
Imagine your goal is a hamburger. Many people try to stuff the whole metaphorical burger in their mouth and wonder why it doesn’t work out so well - can’t chew it, can’t swallow it, can’t close the mouth - and it ends up falling out and making a big mess. To reach your dreams, take it one small bite at a time. But first, see the burger, appreciate its eye-tantalising (vegan and gluten-free?) deliciousness before you pick it up. Smell it. Examine it more closely. Imagine what it will taste like. Decide how you will pick it up, and where you’ll take the first bite. And then begin. Bite by bite. Don’t let it get too cold!
The bites of the burger are the tiny habits you put in place - daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly - to ensure you keep making progress. They should be aligned with the bigger goal, but broken down into smaller chunks. It might be helpful to draw out the master plan first.
By setting and keeping smaller goals and promises to yourself over a shorter period of time, and making them easy to achieve, you will build your skills in self-efficacy, which is the belief that you are able to execute the necessary actions in service of a goal. Hence - start with tiny habits.
A fun way to build out these smaller goals is to link your tiny habits to different dimensions of your life so that everywhere you look, every action you take, can be aligned with the future you are building.
I like to consider eight dimensions of life, as listed below. Let me give examples of possible tiny habits related to our money goal example to help land this concept.
Physical - switch out a paid fitness class for an at home class each week, or have an outdoor exercise date with a friend
Social - invite friends to dinner instead of going out each time
Emotional - celebrate your small wins along the way
Intellectual - work on building a side business or additional service that can generate some extra earnings for you by dedicating 1 hour per week
Environmental - declutter your physical and digital environment regularly
Spiritual - create a gratitude practice so each time money comes into your account you thank it for coming in and how it will help you in your life
Financial - set a 30 minute money-date with yourself each week to review your finances - check bank balances, credit cards, review spending habits and make tweaks to your plan
How might the list of habits look if your goal was to write a book? To build a course? To start a new business? To drop weight? To attract your ideal partner? Think outside the box!
Your board of directors
Who is on your support team? Who can you call on to keep you on track, or remind you how great you’re doing when things get tough.
If you think about yourself as a company or some kind of business venture for just a moment, one that required a corporate governance structure to make sure all stakeholders were taken care of, who would be the members? Think about people in your private life, your professional life, family members who you go to for support, good friends, people you pay for help or support (like a therapist, a coach or a personal trainer).
You might also include people you rely on spiritually, even though they aren’t physically in your life. An example of this for me is Ram Dass. When I think of him and reflect on his wisdom, I feel almost immediately more calm and centred. Someone who informs my physical health decisions is nutritional biochemist and published author Dr Libby Weaver. I’ve spent enough time with the content from these people that it’s almost as if I know them! I have a very good idea how they’d advise me if things went a bit off-course.
You can be abstract with your board of directors, but do try to come up with at least five people who you can rely on or turn to when things get tough and you need advice. Some say that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So think carefully.
If you find this a tough exercise, then it might be time to look for some external support. There is absolutely no shame in paying someone to be there for you. The way we live in this modern world is a far cry from the tight communities we used to participate in even 50 years ago. It is no longer common to have families living in close quarters or tight bonds with religious organisations, both of which inherently provided a great deal of emotional and spiritual support. So in the absence of the tribal elder or the medicine (wo)man, who will be supporting you in this way?
If you’re ready to commit to receiving support from someone external and impartial to your life, you can check out my article on choosing the right coach <<here>>.
It’s normal to experience fears and reservations in setting big goals. And, from the body perspective, know that there’s no difference between anxiety and excitement. Both raise the heart rate, speed up breathing, can create butterflies in the stomach and make you want to spring into action. The difference is in how we label things. So why not start talking about your goals as something exciting rather than something fearful?
Celebrating you for daring to go after your dreams. As Goete said…
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.