What a whimsical sounding phrase. A phrase backed by the thousands of possibilities that could occur if we all stopped wishing for things to happen and just started doing them ourselves. It seems like such a daunting task, to actually go ahead and do the things we’ve been putting off, or been too afraid to try for. I used to fall victim to this trap all the time, and the only way to break out of it is to start.
I was the type of person to always want things that seemed out of reach. Huge goals that people would probably say are more along the dream line. I had no problem doing things for other people, or doing things because I was told to at work, but those things didn’t directly pull me out of the wishing phase.
Somehow, along the line, despite mass encouragement from our family and friends, we can lose sight of our ability to make our own dreams and wishes reality. We doubt ourselves, and tell ourselves that it’s not possible. We simply can’t do it. Or the timing isn’t right. Or our finances aren’t completely in order. Or mercury is in retrograde. Our cat is sick. It’s not the right season. Maybe next week though!
I promise you I tried to sell myself on the same load of garbage listed above. I was really too afraid to make the leap and be honest with myself. Did I honestly want that new job? Did I honestly want to make a new fitness goal? Did I honestly want to start a blog so badly it hurt? Yes to all of those. I honestly did, and I was overshadowed by my own doubts and lacklustre excuses.
When we’re children, we really do not understand limitations well. We think we can fly, we can scale the mountain, we WILL be king of the world. And then somewhere in the transition from child to adult, we lose that feeling, and stop believing in ourselves. Not detrimentally, we still function perfectly well and go on to complete our own string of accomplishments. We go about our lives and sort some of our hopes and dreams into areas of our brain where we essentially send them to die.
I’m telling you it doesn’t have to be like this. I’m telling you there is so much untapped potential inside of you it’s almost scary. The things you are capable of are astonishing, you just have to believe in yourself for all of five minutes.
So when I say start that business, save up for that item you’ve been dreaming of, start a blog, lose fifty pounds, start writing that book, plan that trip. I mean it. I can hear the outcry from your end. Shall we revisit the list of excuses from above or shall I spare us both? You can accomplish what you set your mind to, you just have to make it a reality, and stop wishing for it to happen.
Lets break it down into bite-sized pieces that we can swallow. Say you want to take the leap and save up for something big and important to you (let’s say a boat). Of course, if you’re among the averaged income like myself, you would politely say ‘that’s not feasible at this time, but I definitely always have wanted a boat’. Okay, so you’ve always wanted the boat. You’ve wished for this boat, but you can’t seem to fathom paying X amount of dollars for said boat. Well, what if you did something crazy and started putting $50 aside a week. Just tuck it into savings. That’s crazy right? What is $50 dollars going to buy you? The life jacket? Well what if you kept putting aside $50 a week, and just kept doing it. At the end of the year, that’s $2600. So what does that get you, you ask? Well, you would be $2600 closer to getting a boat than if you had just sat around and wished for it.
Okay, maybe you don’t want a boat. Maybe you want to write a book so badly it’s all you can think about? So write the book! You may say something like ‘no one will want to read it’ or ‘I can’t write a whole book that’s insane’. Okay, well what if you sat down one afternoon and did an outline. Just an outline. Okay, and then what if you advanced to sitting down and writing a couple of pages. Then maybe a chapter. Then keep writing chapters. Then before you know it, you may be closer to a whole book than you were when you were just dreaming about it!
I’m not here to yell at you and stand behind you as you funnel loose change into savings or crack a whip while you stress to write a chapter. I’m telling you the key to getting things done and end the wanting, wishing and dreaming of them to just magically happen, is to start doing things that will get you closer to your dream.
If you need another way of looking at it, let’s think of it as working towards a goal. A goal is simply a series of smaller tasks and steps we take to complete a bigger task. You cannot simply sit here and wish for the goal to happen (if you can, please contact me and share your gifts). You have to take the first step and start the series of tasks. You have to move from wishing to doing in order to make things happen. You need to get out of your own head and just start the first task.
Now I want you to sit and think of a large goal you have for yourself and what would have happened if you started working towards it a month ago. What about six months ago? What about a year ago? The more time you sit and think about starting, or wanting to start, or dreaming of the outcome, you miss out on valuable time you can be using to implement your goal.
I hope by now I’ve sparked a little inkling of inspiration for you to go ahead and start working on your goal. How did I get in the mindset you may ask? First I had to realize all of the above. I had to come to the harsh realization that days were going by and I was not making any headway by staying in my own head and wishing for things to happen. Then I sat down with my goal and mapped it out. How was I going to get towards my goal? What steps did I need to take? (This is an ever-changing process, our plan evolves as we work towards our goal). I made a PLAN. I made to-do lists. I told myself that if I wanted to reach my goal, then xyz needed to be complete. And then, I didn’t give myself the option to sit back and let another day go by.
The last one was the most important. I have struggled with procrastination and putting things off for almost my whole life. Procrastination works against you when you’re attempting to achieve a goal. This is a process of mind over matter. You have to go ahead and do the thing, regardless of how much you want to or not.* You have to put in the effort every day. You have to complete the tasks. Your mind can be the biggest barrier when it tries to bargain with you to get out of a task (trust me, I know this all too well). You cannot let your mind start bargaining. Just do the task.
*This point being said, it is important to take rest periods and give yourself down time from working on your goals. You will need to pace yourself in accordance with your own schedule, limitations, finances and well-being. For example, on days I don’t feel like working on my goal at all, I pick one small task to work on so I at least get something done.
If you’re like me and like (love) lists, here’s how you can easily start getting in the right mindset:
- Establish your goal (what is it that you have been dreaming of and desire more than life itself?)
- Realize your goal will not happen magically and you need to start now.
- Make a plan (I love SMART goals! Map out your goal into measurable tasks and make a list of these tasks)
- Make a daily to-do list and incorporate your measurable tasks into this to do list, as well as supporting tasks (what will help you achieve your measurable tasks? What will help facilitate this process? This includes planning the rest of your life and scheduling rest periods).
- Re-assess your plan weekly (is the plan working in a timely manner? Is something not working? Is something working so well and your plan is taking a new direction?
- Remember: there will be days where motivation lies at the bottom of an abyss and nothing in the world will make you want to continue this goal. Quitting = failing, anything else is trial and error. You will honestly kick yourself later if you quit, because when you do go to pick it back up you’ll realize how much further ahead you could have been.
I wish I could have taken my own advice sooner. The sooner you realize your goal should have been started yesterday, the easier it will be to get the fire lighted underneath you to get going! Do not let yourself talk yourself out of not wanting something because it seems hard. The things that are most valuable to us are the things that don’t come easy. I’m challenging you today to take a goal you’ve been non-stop dreaming about, and take the first step into making it happen.
Did you find this helpful? Do you have any personal stories related to this concept? Let me know in the comments!