Going After Your Dream Life.
There is so much created on this subject, and I don’t believe that anything takes the place of setting specific goals and having the discipline to take consistent action towards them. But what if you don’t quite know what those goals are, or you feel stuck even though you’re a passionate and intelligent person? Here are some tricks that help give me the clarity to be able to see that path rise before me and the inspiration and energy pursue it.
Be ravenous in enjoying the subjects and activities that interest you, even if you don’t know how they can turn into a career.
Whether it’s learning songwriting, going to pottery classes, listening to eBooks on finance, or taking a surf intensive, if it excites you, go for it! The more you spend your time doing things that make you come alive inside, the happier you’ll be, the more attractive you’ll be to others as you project this happiness, and the more opportunities will come your way. If you have a job that you don’t particularly love, you can give it your best anyway while you develop yourself in other areas. I stand by the saying that “how we do one thing is how we do everything.” Respect yourself and your work ethic by giving 100 percent to whatever you commit to doing. Soon enough, those things you love doing will morph from smoke in mirrors to concrete possibilities. Then you’ll be able to turn them into clear goals, make a decision to work towards them, and get started with concrete actions.
Surround yourself with positive, hardworking and loving people and listen to speakers and teachers who motivate you.
Avoid hanging out with people who complain often, talk cynically or choose self-destructive habits. Spend time with people who work on improving themselves, love life and both support and challenge you.
If you’re in the car, every once in a while listen to speakers who’ll pump you up on the way to work. Tony Robbins, anyone?
Meditation, Visualization and Journaling
Meditation settles the static in the mind so that new and better ideas can come through. Visualization makes your dreams more palpable as you engage your senses with your imagination, and it opens you up to new details that you might not have thought about before. Journaling helps you riff off of initial ideas to flesh out your wishes, and transferring your intentions from your mind to the page is a physical step towards action and gaining momentum.
If it helps you, play with creating your own affirmations for how you want to feel about yourself and for attracting abundance into your life. Buy some magazines, cut your favorite words and images out of them and post a vision board on your fridge. Conversely, one of my favorite writers, Mark Manson, makes a really great point about the dangers of focusing on what you want to achieve or acquire, because it keeps your awareness on your lack of those things: “The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s own negative experience is itself a positive experience…the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.” I love this! It’s true — people who love and accept themselves don’t need to repeat affirmations in front of the mirror stating that they love themselves. But, at the same time — I’ll speak for myself — it helped me to fake it till I made it. I wrote down the affirmations, lit candles, stood in front of the mirror, the whole shebang…until one day, I didn’t need them anymore. Same with the vision boards…I don’t think my clipped pictures were going to make my dreams materialize by being one of the first things I saw in the morning, but in the moment, when I was in a really bummed-out mood, cutting out those pictures and seeing what I wanted to move towards delighted and soothed me. Eventually, I transitioned from the experience of wanting those things to make me happy to the experience of feeling happy and satisfied in my present situation with a much more relaxed and detached attitude towards them. So, I say keep both things in mind. Balance holding a vision of your goals with celebrating your triumphs (big and small) with pride and gratitude.
Along those lines of reconciling both perspectives, this is a technique that I learned from from fellow meditation and wellness teacher Cassandra Bodzak:
1. Write down 3 things that you would like to bring into your life.
2. Make a list of 44 WINS. What are you proud of? What wonderful things happened in your life this year, this week, today? This raises your awareness to one of presence, gratitude, confidence and contentment, which is much more likely to attract the things you want than a state of lack, inadequacy or dissatisfaction.
3. Visualize your three goals every day. Take a few minutes when you wake up and when you go to bed to imagine how you look, feel, interact and live as someone who already has what you’re imagining.
4. Write down three things you can do immediately to move towards your goals.
Be committed to the energy/feeling of your dreams even if you don’t know the logistics of how to make them happen. Pick a few details from your visualizations (hair color, type of comforter, morning routine) to use as anchors that you can implement right now to remind you of your goals.
Learn to receive
When going after what you want, it’s easy to get caught up in the well-intentioned pattern of getting, hustling and doing without balancing those active states with getting better at receiving. There’s a great book called The Power of Receiving, by Amanda Owen. Combining both effort with receptivity sets the stage to reap the harvest of your ambition by becoming open to things that are naturally meant to come in rather than getting burned out swimming upstream.
Check in with your belief systems about money. Do you have a positive relationship with it? I know that I struggled with the conflict of wanting financial security but also having a visceral discomfort around money not seeming like a noble desire. If you relate, remember that if you are a good person, money can help you more easily achieve your purpose and potential of personal development and helping others and the world.
Onward and upward!
As you charge forward towards your dreams with both effort and surrender, honor your transformation by processing significant past experiences (without rushing, numbing or distracting) and learning from them. Then, let them go to create space for new things that are in the most harmonious alignment with your highest self. And for goodness sake, have fun!
Originally published at www.desireelanz.com on January 3, 2017.