Have You Lost Touch w/ Your Dreams? 3 Steps to ReconnectingDec 14, 2021
I’ve noticed that a common theme has emerged among many of the people I’ve been talking with recently (too many people in my mind!) The theme?
Many people don’t know what their dreams are and they are at a complete loss as to how to figure them out.
I’m not just talking about your run of the mill New Year’s resolutions, like losing 10 pounds or finishing a knitting project. I’m talking about the BIG goals and dreams. The big picture kind of goals and dreams, complete with an internal knowing that it’s the right direction for you. The kind that excite and energize a person!
Aside from being surprised by the number of people who are struggling with this, it’s also come as a surprise that it’s impacting people across all sorts of circumstances - freshly retired, happy in their career, married and single, kids and no kids, just graduated, divorcing, you name it.
There is a clear theme and it’s very concerning to me.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the pursuit of a number of goals and dreams. It can be incredibly difficult to make plans, or even envision the future, when we have been dealing with so much uncertainty for so long. And it’s frustrating, and sometimes downright disheartening, when we make plans, but have to delay or change them altogether. Over time, this can really take the wind out of our sails. (Another common theme that’s become obvious!)
However, what’s been striking to me is that this disconnection from one’s dreams is something that started even before the pandemic.
It’s not that there was any life event that threw them off course, but rather it was being caught up in the daily grind that chipped away at their dreams over time. Their attention shifted to trying to get through the day, the week, the month, which led to getting stuck in the cycle of their everyday routine and their dreams simply faded away. They were surviving, but not thriving.
Why is it so important to have dreams?
Maybe you’re thinking “Who cares? Why do I need big dreams anyways?” After all, we do have to survive. Well, one of the most important reasons is that dreams help give our lives purpose, meaning and focus.
Our dreams are the North Star, guiding us in the direction of our destiny.
As Bronnie Ware shares in her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, one of the top regrets is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” There is so much more to life than simply working to survive. We were born to thrive and thriving happens when we take action in the pursuit of our dreams.
Another regret she found was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Oftentimes, though, we may find that it’s much easier to stay in the comfort zone of following the lead of others and going through the motions, not creating goals but rather fantasizing. In the High Performance Coaching world we call this living a “Caged” or “Comfortable” life.
Having goals and dreams that are based on what we truly want demands that we take actions outside of our comfort zone. This is bound to make us feel uncomfortable, anxious, nervous, fearful, and a whole host of other things, but this is how we make progress towards what we want so that we, too, don’t end up with regrets. And as we cross the threshold of our comfort zone, and begin to learn and grow and build momentum, we shift into living a “Charged” life.
I know that your dreams haven’t gone anywhere. They’ve just been covered up for a while by habits, routine, fears, and so much uncertainty. And when it comes to goals and dreams, the “perfect time” to start simply does not exist.
The truth is that it's ALWAYS a good time to begin dreaming - and to TAKE ACTION towards those dreams. It’s up to you to change the “not now” into “now.”
So let’s go! Grab a journal and let’s dig into some ideas to figure out what your big dreams are, and what you can do to get started...regardless of what’s going on in life.
STEP 1: Brainstorming Goals & Dreams
Grab a journal and do a brainstorm/brain dump session. Write down everything that comes to mind. This is all about what YOU want. There are no right or wrong answers. Let go of your expectations. Let go of your fears. Let go of what you think other people may think about you. Just let your imagination go and see what pops up.
Perhaps your big dreams are more specific, like wanting to be a nurse or traveling to Morocco or learning to juggle. Or maybe your big dreams are a bit more general, like wanting to feel a sense of freedom or to help people, or knowing we want to start our own business but not being clear what kind of business yet.
It’s important to remember dreams are personal. Sometimes we’re born with dreams, and sometimes we discover them along the way or through lots of reflection. Everyone has their own process, so honor your inner guide - and have fun with this!
Whether you’ve lost track of what your dreams are, or it’s time to check in to confirm you’re still headed in the right direction, here are some questions to ponder:
- What do you want your days to look like?
- Who do you admire? Who do you envy? (These are big clues to what you might want.)
- How can you make the world better? What do you want your impact on the world to be?
- What can you talk about for hours? What do you daydream about?
- What do you not want in your life? And what would you like to replace it with?
- What do your friends always come to you for advice on or help with? Is there a theme, like planning, travel or money advice, or general encouragement?
- What have you always always really enjoyed doing? What are you doing when you lose track of time?
STEP 2: Clear the Clutter!
The same way we can lose our keys in a cluttered space, we can also lose track of our dreams and the actions we need to take towards them in the many forms of clutter that we let invade our lives and suck our time. There’s no doubt about it. Where your attention goes, your energy flows. We MUST clear the clutter from our lives in order to create space devoted to the pursuit of our goals and dreams.
Explore the following to see where you may need to do some decluttering in your life:
- Where are you putting your attention? How often do you find yourself daydreaming or distracted from what you are supposed to be focusing on? What is pulling your attention away from your task?
- Do you find yourself stuck ruminating about a drama that’s going on in your life? Are you repeating the same dramatic story with everyone you talk with?
- Are you caught up in an unhealthy relationship or cycle? Is there someone in your life who leaves you feeling run over when you’re done talking with them?
- Is your home or office a mess? Does the idea of walking into your home cause you stress because of the reminder of how much needs to be done?
- Is your calendar overstuffed? Are your work projects on unrealistic or unreasonable timelines? Are you committing to too many things that take your time and energy that would serve you better being spent on taking action towards your dreams?
- Do you regularly find yourself sacrificing your exercise, food prep, and other health and self-care activities because of other people’s demands for your time or to work, attend events, or even just hang out and do nothing?
STEP 3: Take Action Now
Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever get done without taking action. Even if you don’t have the exact vision and all of the steps outlined yet, it’s better to start moving forward than just stay in the same place. Identify a couple steps you can get you moving. What's one action you can take today to begin your journey?
Hire a professional: You’ve already identified some of the clutter that’s bogging you down in your home. Consider investing in hiring a handyman, house cleaner or professional organizer to clear the clutter for you. They will get it taken care of faster than you will and will free up your time and energy so you can focus on your big dreams and goals.
Set intentions: Set an intention for every day. Do this as part of your evening routine or first thing in the morning. Get clear on what you want to accomplish during the day, making sure that that includes at least one thing towards your goals.
Find accountability: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - find someone to hold you accountable! It’s so easy to get sucked back into our habits. Find an accountability partner, a coach or a group coaching program. We all need this kind of support!
Learn something new: Any dream or goal we pursue is going to require that we learn new things. Consider building time into your daily schedule devoted to learning something that will support you. If you’re not sure what to learn first, ask others who have done similar things what they wish they would have known when they started out.
Check-in regularly: What you want will evolve as you evolve. You will develop new interests over time, and you will learn and experience things as you pursue your goals and dreams. It is entirely okay to stop pursuing a goal if your interests change. There is no reason to continue pursuing something you’re no longer interested in - it’s a waste of your resources! Move on to the next goal.
You deserve to have dreams and to pursue them. I know that it can feel overwhelming, and even scary, but you’ve got this! Get that momentum going by taking action today and before you know it, instead of “I wish I had…” you’ll be saying “I can’t believe I did that!”
Another action you can take towards figuring out your goals and dreams is to join the Create Your Vision for 2022 & Beyond workshop Thursday, December 30 at 7:00pm CT. Grab a friend, sibling, parent, coworker and sign up! This is 100% free and meant to help you carve out time in your busy schedule to make time to dream!
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