Something I often struggle with is keeping the dream alive. I’m great at the dreaming part but it’s not too far after I have the stroke of inspiration that my dream withers like plants on my kitchen window sill. Why is that? How can I be filled with such magic and ambition and then it falls flat?
The last year I’ve really been made aware of this flaw in myself. I get an idea, I hit the ground running, it’s all I can think about for a few months, and then I just drop it. I’ve done this with so many things. As the pile of broken dreams begins to get larger and larger my ego begins to get smaller and smaller questioning if I’ll ever accomplish anything unique that I set out to do. I add in the word unique there because I’m good at accomplishing normal things such as; progressing in my job, taking huge projects through to the finish line, and setting difficult health and personal goals. I’m finding that the trouble comes when it’s something a little more far out there. Something where I’m trying to change my lifestyle and it’s going to take at least a year to get there.
In the past few years I’ve pursued being an aerialist, being a yoga teacher, writing a book and starting my own virtual assistant business. Maybe these dreams were shoved to the side because they weren’t really what I wanted. Maybe they were tossed out because I didn’t have the discipline to achieve them.
I’m learning more about myself each day as I question my dedication to my dreams. For me, I’ve come to recognize that the problem occurs when I get bored. If I’m not seeing results or progress, I’ve pretty much already thrown in the towel. This is a huge red flag for this current dream of setting up our life for fulltime RV living. How could I set up the planning and preparation phase to be fulfilling enough that I stay engaged for over a year?
Keeping a dream alive is not easy. It takes daily work and belief that this is going to happen. Below are some of the steps that I’ve implemented to keep me dedicated to pursue my dream.
- I created a vision board. Well, I actually created three. I need that dream front and center. All of them embody what my future life looks like; what trailer we have, how our days are spent, views of places on our bucket list, nights around a campfire, working remotely, adventuring and road-tripping. One of the vision boards is plastered all over my master bedroom mirror, one is in my journal in a “to-go” format, and one is on the ceiling in my bedroom. Ya know, so I can stare at it as I fall asleep. Each time I see one of my boards my brain immediately goes to my dream and what it feels like. Bombarding your brain with these feelings and images helps set you up for success and sends a message to the universe that this is your life.
- I created a timeline. This is likely the Virgo in me but I have a timeline for the next 12 months detailing what needs to be accomplished when. This is the progress part that I talked about. I need daily, weekly, monthly goals. It’s just how I operate. If I were to tell myself, “you need to accomplish X within one year”, it wouldn’t happen. That’s too far out and I don’t have check-in points along the way to ensure that I’m moving forward. I need to break it down into 100 little steps so that each week I see progress. Each week I have something to celebrate and I’m clear on the next step going forward.
- Consistency! Achieving a dream is kind of like working out. Say that you are working out 5 days a week. You’ve got a great schedule. You’re seeing results – life is good. Then, this little door opens and it says, “don’t workout today, you’ve got to take the kids here, you’ve got to do this, you just don’t have time to workout”. So you skip a day. No big deal, right? Well, then the next day you suddenly need to work late and if you do that AND workout, you’ll be home late for dinner. So, you skip the workout. Suddenly, you are off your schedule and what started as a one-day break in your routine has snowballed into paying for a gym membership that you never use. I’m sure you’re asking how this can relate to achieving dreams? If you are not making progress everyday it’s easy to forget it. It’s easy to focus on the real life in front of you and say, “I’ll write the book tomorrow” or “I’ll focus on the timeline next week”. I’m a firm believer that daily progress is essential. I make a choice each day that ties to my dream and I mentally note it and celebrate it. It can be as small as choosing not to buy my kid a $1 toy at Target because that’s money that we can use to pay off debt. The important part is that I recognize WHY I make the decision. Is it because they already have a million toys? No. It’s because I’m on a mission to save money so we can travel the US in an RV. Be consistent in your dedication to your dream. Make a choice daily, take a step daily that gets you closer to it.
- Find ways to hold yourself accountable. This one could tie back to the timeline. I find that it helps keep me moving forward and on schedule, however, a back-up plan is always good. For accountability I’ve done a few things.
I have an accountability group. Each week we post our goals for the next 7 days and then report back a week later. You don’t want to be the one saying you didn’t accomplish anything. I’ve found this method really helpful because I’m always wanting to share remarkable progress. It’s also nice to have a group of great minds to be able to express challenges with. We troubleshoot, we cheer each other on, and we achieve great things. Find others who are chasing a dream or a big goal and partner up.
I have a life coach. I’ve used a life coach a few times before and I’ve seen amazing results each time. A life coach helps to call you out on your excuses and limiting beliefs, but at the same time gives you permission to experience life and its challenges. I am so grateful to my life coach who is continually pushing me beyond my comfort zone and holding me accountable to the goals that I set.
I think I’ve found a pretty good plan to keep this dream on track! No wilting on the window sill this time. Identifying where the wheels usually come off is the first step in identifying how to keep your dream on track. Hopefully you’ll find some of these examples helpful. It’s taken me years of failure to learn how I tick and discover what motivates me and what drains the life from my dreams.