It doesn't matter what age you are or what you've done up to this point in your life, it's still possible to live the life you want to live. Unfortunately, I come across many people whose vocabulary is so filled with the word "but" that they talk themselves out of the slightest possibility of living in a way that will make them truly happy.
Last night I was speaking with a woman who is compassionate, devoted, and caring. She lives her life in service to her child and her husband, who works in another state since he can't find work closer to home. They see each other on weekends. Her days are spent working at a job that's just a job to bring money in. When she gets home, she helps her son with his homework, makes dinner, and then plays with him for a while. After that, it's time for bed. She's exhausted. She wakes up in the middle of the night and can't fall back to sleep for hours. There is no time for herself. There is no relief from the monotony. There is anxiety over the situation, and I suspect that is what wakes her up at night. Hardly living the dream.
I asked her what she would like to be doing and what her life would look like if she could pick anything. She replied that she and her husband would like to move to the Southwest, but funds are low. She hasn't had time to herself since her son was born, but her time needs to be devoted to him - they grow up so fast. When I suggested she and her husband start looking for work in her favorite state in the Southwest, she responded, "But I don't have the Internet at home, so I can't look for a job. And jobs are scarce, although I did hear that there are increasing opportunities where we want to go. But it would be hard to move right now."
In less than 5 minutes, there were four "buts!" Do that to yourself all day, and you can see how fast exhaustion will set in, how anxiety-filled you would be, and how helpless you'd feel. She had become comfortable in her discomfort. The resistance was overwhelming her, she had no energy to take on the changes that needed to be made, and she saw no way to move past it. She had lost herself as a result of devoting her entire being to her husband and son and while there is deep love for them, she was not happy with the situation.
Here is the truth:
1. Putting yourself first allows you to be at your best to take care of loved ones and everything else that's on your plate.
2. Resisting change depletes your energy, because all of your energy is being used to fight against yourself.
3. Deciding that you really want things to change is the first step in getting what you want.
4. Those who identify specific goals are 50 percent closer to achieving them.
So how do we begin to work toward living the dream?
1. Determine specifically what it is you want and why. Write it down. Example: "I want my husband and I to get jobs that will pay for our relocation expense in Phoenix, Arizona by June of 2023. I want this so that my family and I can move to a warmer climate and live together." This strategy helps you get clear on what you want and what's motivating the desire.
2. Slice the tasks to attain your goal into smaller, specific pieces. Example: (A) Search for jobs in Phoenix, AZ; (B) Reach out to your local contacts and see if anyone knows about work in that area or people to connect with; (C) Research schools in that area; (D) Research housing and cost of living; (E) Determine how much money you need to save for the move and down payment on a house; (F) Set aside a specified amount from your paychecks to begin building toward the needed sum, etc. This step helps you deal with overwhelm and creates manageable pieces that are more likely to be accomplished.
3. Keep your eye on the goal. Do one thing each day that will get you closer to it. Example: Each day spend 20 minutes on the Internet applying for jobs in Phoenix. It's easy to get distracted and keeping your goal top of mind helps you maintain the excitement and energy around the tasks on your list.
4. Address the fear of change by focusing on how it will feel like to attain the specified goal. Replace the worry that it can't be done by opening your heart to the joy you'll feel when the goal manifests. Example: I'll be incredibly happy when my husband and I can see each other each night and raise our child together in a comfortable environment. Getting out of your head and opening to your emotional motivator allows you to feel the difference between being afraid to take action and really wanting to achieve what you set your heart on.
5. Release all negative thoughts and beliefs that hold you back from getting what you want. Create a shift by finding alternatives. Example: [Blocking] I don't have Internet access at home, so I can't search for a job in Phoenix. [Opening] I can ask my friend or relative if I can stop by to use their computer for 20 minutes each day OR go to the library and use theirs. It's easy to make excuses why something can't work. It allows you to stay right where you are. Every time you hear yourself going into the negative self-talk mode, counter it with an alternative thought in the opposite direction. This way, you'll create the habit of thinking in positive, optimistic terms.
6. Setting goals gives you something to look forward to. Continuing to settle for less than what you really want will only serve to foster depression and anxiety. It's so much more rewarding to live with hope and excitement.
Goal setting is essential to achieving anything in life. By specifying a goal and the steps needed to get there provides clarity. When you can see the path clearly, it's much easier to take action knowing what needs to be done. Cut the steps into small pieces to make them easier to complete and do one of them each day. Chip away at the goal rather than becoming overwhelmed at the size of the overall vision, and you'll be surprised at how much closer you get to living your dream, one day at a time.
There are times when help is needed to set goals and create an effective action plan. Life Path coaching is a way to accomplish more in less time than treading the path alone.
© Diane Wing, all rights reserved