If you were to approach most people and ask what specific action would bring them closer to their goals, my sense is most would have a ready answer.
The steps required to make our dreams a reality are not such a mystery. We already know what we need to do. The question is doing it. What’s difficult is the process of starting. Looking at the tasks laid out in detail in our planners, and instead of pausing or freezing or waiting to be “ready,” moving ourselves in a tangible way along the path we’ve imagined. Why are we so averse to taking the steps necessary — even when we’ve laid them out for ourselves?
For one, there’s fear. We are afraid of what happens if we take the leap, with the obvious possible outcome being that we could fail. And what then?
This is a dirty trick our minds play on us: convincing us it’s safer to hold out the possibility of that dream, without ever taking the risk to actually go for it.
The other factor is our poor memory. And I don’t mean for facts or specifics, but our memory for the experiences that pushed us to create that dream, to begin with. If we remembered all the times we took a leap of faith and risked possible failure, at nearly every point along the way we had to go out on a limb. We have to remember why and how we started to keep going, walking or crawling.
When you’re planning for the next weeks, remember that so much of planning is being bold enough to make legible to ourselves the process that will lead us to our dreams.
Break down that process. Get real with yourself about it. What will happen if you fail? What will happen if you don’t try on the projects that are most important to you? In all probability, not trying is going to look like a worse prospect than having a go at it. Take your shot.
The answer to so much of our struggles with the future — and fear — is presence. Just show up for yourself. And part of showing up in a real way will be making that plan that includes your projects of highest personal priority, not just the projects ruled by OPP, as Charlie says, or “other people’s priorities.”
Many insights we publish concern the deep, inner work necessary to do the outer work. Here are specific tips from each of the blog posts of the last month — to help you remember why you started, and where it is you want to be going.
- Belonging Not Burnout — You are your best resource. Burned out you won’t be able to do half of what you, wielding self-compassion, intuition, and proper boundaries, can. Be certain to schedule in recovery blocks, while penciling in everything you want done.
- Are You Honoring Your Seasonal Energy? — Failing to honor your current season won’t get you to the future any faster. The success of your future self, in the midst of a summer’s day, won’t make you more worthy of respect. Make plans with the confidence of this future self, but feel into the season you’re in, and who you are already.
- How a Timer Helps You Practice Better Boundaries — Whatever tool you need to strengthen your boundaries, that’s as much what needs doing as the work itself. Whether that’s a timer or the soon-to-be-released Momentum, our productivity and scheduling app.
- Become a Stronger Leader by Embracing Your Contradictions – Your trajectory may be a story of contradictions. But give yourself credit for being able to move through messy territory. Which of your plans may be contradictory — but needs to exist anyway?
- How a Conversation with Your Past Self Shows Your Growth in the Gap — Take a moment to look back over your shoulder at where you’ve been. This is where clarity starts. And clarity is what you need to know where to get started and start again afresh.
- What a Traumatic Brain Injury Has Taught Me about Self-Compassion — Don’t base your planning on a perfect, idealized, hyperproductive version of yourself. Try planning by projecting a compassionate image of yourself that will allow you to thrive, and when necessary, move slowly forward on your projects.
- 10 Reasons You’re Procrastinating Right Now — Anticipate what’s going to throw you off track in your planning and execution, and find out how to avoid those pitfalls. It could be as simple as leaving breadcrumbs in your work. And schedule celebrations to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve already come.
Remembering why you started brings you the strength to keep moving towards your goals. Have a safe, productive, and courageous March — one in which you follow, unafraid, the dreams that began it all.