Posted Diana Patton on 1/24/2017 |Featured Columns & Series
How often do you dream of yourself in other places? It’s likely you've dreamed of yourself in another place recently with the beginning of this New Year. The holidays always provide a perfect time for our minds to slow down enough to get in touch with our true desires, which manifest themselves in our dreams.
I don’t care how old you are, most of us dream of bettering ourselves in some way. Whether it be by getting healthier, getting organized, traveling, learning and growing by reading more, learning to speak a second language, playing an instrument, learning a new hobby - we all have dreams.
The problem is that these dreams lead us to other places we likely have never been before.
If you are like most people, you can’t stop thinking about it. You try to convince yourself to let it go by saying, “Yeah, right, I don’t have time to do this,” or, “I cannot possibly fit another thing into my schedule,” or, “That’s for ‘those people,’” whoever those people are. We start exhibiting limiting beliefs, and as a result, we sabotage ourselves in our minds before we even get started.
Most people declared a dream recently in the form of a New Year’s resolution but that dream will merely remain a fantasy or a make-believe place until you begin to visualize yourself living out your dream. You have to pick up that project and see yourself finishing it. You have to see yourself sitting down and playing that instrument or having a conversation with someone in that different language. Start reading about or associating yourself with others who have completed the dream you are trying to attain. You have to see it in your mind first and believe you can do it.
Now, ink it. Don’t just think it. You must ink it. When you write down your dreams, you have a goal. A goal is merely a dream written on paper.
Now it’s time to aim. Get specific. Get focused. Do your research. What will it take? What tools and materials do you need? How much time will it take? What people, places, and things will you need to cut from your life (either temporarily or permanently) to attain this dream? This will require you to get real with yourself.
Now it’s time for the work ethic. The elbow grease. Are you ready? It will be challenging. To get somewhere you’ve never been, you have to be willing to put the work in.
Include God in on your planning. Pray. Ask Him to show up in your daily routine so that you are aware of his presence telling you to stop, move forward, re-engineer, or slow down.
Let’s be real. Your biggest enemy will be yourself, your own limiting beliefs. Whatever you believe is what will be.
I can think of many times in my life where my dreams were realized through following the steps I’ve given you here, like finishing law school after my brother committed suicide, or peeling myself off the ground after flunking the bar exam the first time and passing the second time around.
But what sticks out in my mind the most is when I first started to think about writing a book. It was 2005 and I can remember saying to myself, “Seriously, that’s the craziest thing ever. Who will ever read that book? That makes no sense whatsoever. Besides, I don’t want anyone knowing my personal business.” And guess what? It never made sense. Every time I started, I stopped. What stopped me? My thoughts.
The dream of writing a book was always there. Through the years, I would look at other authors and secretly say to myself, “Wow, they wrote a book, I wish I was them.” Hilarious, right? Once I got real with myself, I started to have these crazy conversations with myself and God like, “What do you mean you wish you were them? You just have to believe you can do this. Stop dreaming about it and do it. Quit worrying about what other people may think. Set a plan of action and cut the negative stuff."
There you have it. March 15, 2016. I realized my dream and published my first book.
How about you? Are you realizing your dreams?
Are you stunting your growth by shunning your dreams? If you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolutions, or even if you need encouragement to push forward, ask yourself:
- Is your vision clear?
- Did you write it down?
- Where are you aiming?
- Where is your focus?
- Did you cut out people, places, and things?
- What is the daily plan?
- Are you putting the work in?
- Do you need accountability?
Whatever you believe is what will be!