We all have things we want for ourselves and our lives. Maybe you want certain things for your health, maybe you want certain career related success, maybe you want to save enough money to buy a car or house, or get your teeth fixed, or to travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Maybe you want to have a loving relationship. Like most people, you probably have some things that you feel would make your life better than it is right now. And it may seem like some of the things are very far away and hard to reach. But remember, every journey starts with a single step!
There are a few ways to get to where you want to be in your life. And it won’t all happen over night. But even if it is a long journey, you will feel much more excited and happy if you start moving towards your dreams. Just making some progress makes you feel so much happier, and shows you that you are not just a victim of the tides of life, being tossed this way and that without any say, but that you actually have much control and power.
Don’t compare yourself to where others are or to where you are not.
This is the first step. It is easy to feel discouraged when you first realize what it is you want, can see you are nowhere near achieving your goals yet, and maybe there are even other people who seem to be effortlessly where you want to be. But the thing is, everyone’s path is different, and there is no reason you can’t reach your dreams and goals, in time, if you decide you want to. For example, I want to create adult coloring books and I want to be really successful with it. But, I have just started playing with this idea. How am I going to go from nothing, starting from scratch, never publishing a book, never attempting anything like this before, to having high-selling coloring books on the market? Not to mention, have you seen Joanna Basford’s amazing coloring books like the Secret Garden, Lost Ocean, and Enchanted Forest? Those books are gorgeous! And she has sold over a million copies of her books. How could I ever aspire to be where she is? There is someone already where I want to be and I am starting from nothing. Is there any hope for me? Should I even bother? The answer is of course, YES! I may not be successful at this yet, and there may be others at the top of what I want to achieve already, but if I take the steps, one after the other, toward my goal, surely I can create my own successful coloring books. And my designs are unique to me, I might even provide something that some people like even more than what is already on the market. I have begun taking steps now, I have been researching the coloring book market and the steps I will need to take to create a coloring book, I will also need to do some more research on marketing and publishing, and I have already drawn several pictures for the books, many of which have received a lot of praise from my community already in the short time I have been working on them. It is entirely possible, if I continue taking all of the necessary steps, that I can be successful with my coloring books in the ways that I want to be. So don’t let where you aren’t yet, or where other’s already are, discourage you from attempting to make your dream a reality.
Take steps towards your happiness
This is the second step. Once you have identified what it is that you want to accomplish, begin taking steps toward it. Even teeny tiny steps are great and add up to reaching your goal over time. I believe some of the best feelings you can have can be achieved by deciding what you want to work towards and taking steps toward it. You can set dreams in any area of of your life. For example, my boyfriend and I really want to save up and buy a piece of land somewhere beautiful where we can raise a family, enjoy nature, and I can teach classes on our property. Well, I am currently building up my blog, working on my coloring book project, gardening, working on other creative projects, and researching and learning, but not making any money. My boyfriend is working and supporting us, but not making very much money either. So we are strapped for cash and living pretty frugally. To us, it seems like saving $300,000 for our dream property will take a million years! But, we both really want this and so we have created a special savings account. Every time that we have the ability to deposit an extra dollar we do. We have only a tiny tiny amount saved towards it so far, but even watching that amount grow is really exciting. We can see ourselves moving towards our big dream for our lives. Ever time we add to our house fund is really exciting! And even if it isn’t much yet, it is definitely more than nothing. If we keep adding ever chance we get eventually in a few years down the line, or even a decade, we will have a down payment. If we don’t first figure out what we want, and then make steps toward it, then we won’t ever achieve our goal. We have to take action, however small, and then we are always moving a little bit closer to our dreams. And there is definitely a sense of excitement and pride that comes out of working and making your dreams become reality.
Congratulate yourself on your small accomplishments
So you set a goal and you begin to take steps towards it, even though it’s still a long way off and others have already acheived it. But then, after taking steps for a while and still feeling really far away from your goal and feeling like you should be closer, or maybe you even slip up and do something that brings you a little further away from your goal, your inner critic starts up. “You’ve been working towards this for weeks, or months, and you have hardly made any progress,” “You will never be like so and so like you want to be,” “You totally screwed up and went backwards, you’re never going to make it, you kinda suck.” “You are never going to achieve that, why are you even trying? You should just give up.” Well the thing is, in our modern society we are constantly told that we aren’t good enough. We don’t look good enough, we don’t make enough money, we don’t have enough friends, we don’t live up to how we should be, what is ideal. We are constantly told where we should be and we aren’t there so we feel like crap. And if you don’t want the things that society holds as ideal, you want other things, and you aren’t successful yet at those other things either, well then you are a failure either way. There is no winning if we focus on having to be some sort of huge success as described by society. Negativity everywhere. Never good enough. Well, IT ISN’T TRUE! We ARE good enough. And when we have dreams and goals that we take steps towards, well, we ARE successful! Just because we aren’t yet to where we want to be doesn’t mean we aren’t successful. We need to stop focusing on what we aren’t yet, what we haven’t achieved, and instead focus on what we have done, on our successes, even if they are just little successes. For example, since I have met my current boyfriend I have gained about 26 pounds! And just a few months before I met him I also re-injured my knee. Because I had injured my knee I wasn’t able to run anymore or do the long hikes I enjoyed. And because my boyfriend and I love enjoying delicious food together and going beer tasting on the weekends I’ve been consuming a lot more calories. Then we moved to Washington for my wilderness schooling, and it was cold and rainy for most of the year and I was used to constant warm sunny San Diego weather, so I liked hiding indoors a lot of the time when I wasn’t outside at school. So, with the combo of much less physical activity and the increased calorie intake, it was bound to happen. Now, I don’t believe that anyone’s physique determines their value or anything like that. But for me, I don’t like the shape I am in. I am the heaviest I’ve ever been and the least active. I want to get in better shape. I set the goal to lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks, and then I will probably lose another 5 or so pounds after that. My goal isn’t to get back to where I was before but to be in even better health than before the weight gain. So my plan is to not lose all of the weight but to lose some weight and build more muscle, and be more active. I want to be stronger, I want to like the way I look, for no reason other than so I like how I look, and I want to be able to do long backpacking and hiking trips. Anyway, my goal of losing 10 pounds in 5 weeks… Well, I had lost about 4 pounds in 2 weeks, so I was right on target, but then something happened. We have guests in town! And with guests comes celebrating, eating, drinking, and having less time for exercise! I have been doing really well watching how many calories I consume, cutting back on alcohol, and have been exercising pretty much every day. The steps I was taking worked. But after some hanging out and celebrating over the weekend I went up a pound. So, now I only lost one pound last week instead of the 2 I was shooting for. At first I felt sad, I have been working really hard for the last two weeks to achieve my goal and have been doing a fantastic job, but it seemed like it was easily wiped out with 2 evenings of being a little less careful and just enjoying myself. However, as my boyfriend said, if I am only a pound or 2 from my goal at the date I wanted to achieve my goal by, well then it is still a success. The point is, yes, sometimes their are setbacks, and sometimes things will take a little longer than expected or intended, but that is no reason to get down on yourself. Instead, focus on the positive. I am really proud of myself that for 12 of the last 14 days I have been dedicated and successful achieving my goals, and I have made some progress already in that short time. I am proud I have drank way less beer than normal. I am proud I have only had a tiny bit of chocolate as a little treat rather than as much as I feel like. I am proud that I have exercised almost everyday. And not only have I exercised almost everyday, after the first week I actually ramped it up and started walking twice as far as before. And while I have been walking I have been listening to educational podcasts to help me grow my blog and business. And when it came to celebration time, well I didn’t stress out and not enjoy myself, I just relaxed and enjoyed myself. And I chose the chicken salad over the burgers. I’ve definitely made great progress and I am proud of all of the steps I’ve taken to achieve the 3 pounds I have lost so far. And I am inspired to keep up with the exercise this afternoon, and continuing to watch my calories. I am proud of myself for all of the little steps I take every day toward the life I want to live. And in taking steps daily I am living the life I want to live now. It feels so much better to focus on our achievements rather than what we haven’t accomplished yet or ways we have messed up.
What are some of the goals you have for yourself and your life? What are some tiny steps you can take today towards your dreams? Go out there and start making some progress, you’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your accomplishments! 🙂
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