Last night, I was cleaning out the old files in my computer and found a list of goals I made for myself 10 years ago when I was living in Vancouver, BC. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had accomplished two of my three long-term goals.
One of those goals was to have two children, which I haven’t fully accomplished yet, but that little baby is growing everyday. He’ll be earth-side in just a few weeks. I’m counting that goal as in the works. Another goal was to have a feeling of balance between my work life, home life, etc. I feel that I do have that- with attention and re-adjustment on an ongoing basis.
The goal I didn’t accomplish is one that, I honestly don’t think I really wanted to achieve. I wanted to run a retreat center even though I never felt the appeal to work in the hospitality industry. The goal arose when I was living in Vancouver and the only way I saw to be able to afford the acreage and ambiance I wanted in that region was to run a center and have the events pay for me to live there. Studio apartments in Vancouver were selling for mid $300,000s. My dream for acreage easily put my budget at $1.5 million, not something that educators or organic gardeners typically earn.
So I crafted a goal that would allow me to have my bigger dream- a space where nature was nurtured and people were empowered.
Since then, not only has my dream changed, but my beliefs about going for your dreams have changed. At the time, I was content to dream safe, reasonable dreams. Now, I dream bigger. I encourage you to do the same. Let’s dream bigger. Not because bigger is better.
Let’s dream bigger because what we currently believe we can do is probably smaller than what you are actually capable of. So few of us truly see our own magnificence and potential. Let’s expand our ideas of what we can be.
We Need Bigger Dreams. You Can Dream Bigger Dreams.
The thing is, if we choose small dreams and work towards those, sure, we’ll probably achieve them. But was all the work and effort worth it?
We were born with a gift. You have a mind, heart, and skills in your stewardship. Were these given to you just so you could achieve something that feels just OK? I believe that the world has enough people living existences that exude mediocrity. I’m not saying you need to be featured at the Smithsonian or start the next hottest microbrewery, but can you let your deepest desires feel the light of day, just a little?
Look, my dreams are not that epic or grand. Except for being a best-selling author and inspiring you and many others, my dreams are pretty simple. A cozy, sunny home with a yard brimming with edibles, flowers, birds, and insects. That’s all.
Many of us settle for dreams that seem doable. Dreams where we can see the steps we’ll take to get there. Dreams that make sense.
Unlike completing college, your biggest dreams are not going to follow a step-by-step protocol. It’s going to bob and weave. Stall and restart.
The reason I want you to envision something bigger that makes you feel a little woozy when you think of achieving it, is simple. If it’s not a dream that makes you a little woozy, I’m not sure you’ll stick with it when you have the setback that you weren’t expecting that makes it all seem impossible now.
You’re going to have setbacks. Have you ever seen any success story that didn’t have a moment when it felt like it wasn’t going to happen? There’s a good chance something will come up at some point as a barrier to your dream. I’m betting that your habits and systems that you have instilled to get you that far and your woozy-headed passion for this thing will propel you out of the doldrums and back into working towards that goal.
Within my dream for the center, was the vision for how I would serve people. I still feel a deep calling for inspiring and empowering people to experience happier, brighter, more fulfilled lives and to live in harmony with nature.
This is Reboot Time
Many people consider August and the ‘back to school days’ as their second reboot of the year. They look back at their New Year’s resolutions they never did anything about. And they take a second attempt at it. After all, we’ve still got 5 more months of the year to accomplish what we want.
For me, mid-year goals are more appealing than New Year’s resolutions because I am so spent from the festivities, planning, cooking, and eating that happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that by the time its all over, I’d just like to relax into the quiet time of the dark of winter and not start vigorously working on achieving my next accomplishment.
This is an excellent time of year to take a chance. Imagine what you want to look back on next summer and to see what you have accomplished.
Take this a few days to periodically ask yourself these questions:
What else do I want to start working on this year?
What is a stretch for me?
What would make me really happy once I do it?
Give yourself the luxury of taking some time now to reflect on what you want to move forward into for the rest of the year. Take a couple of weeks to mull over this. See what keeps on recurring in your mind as something you yearn for.
The great part about deciding on a project or goal for now through the end of the year, is that every time you hear the back to school ads and hubbub from Aug-Sept, it can be a little mental reminder that you are ‘going back to school’ on learning how to achieve this goal that you want. The onslaught of advertising can be a motivating trigger to keep us directed on what we want to focus on.
Every year I have garden goals- and by this time in the year if they aren’t progressing, its time for me to shift to brainstorming on other goals. I have to work with the rhythms of nature and because of the day length, frost-free days and the time that plants take to mature, there are few new garden projects to start in late summer. Which means that my Dec-June are always very focused on garden goals. Then, I take July-Nov to focus on my other goals.
I personally don’t think it matters if your goals are grandiose or common. I do want it to be something that is a bit of stretch for you, but more important than that, is that it’s something that you have been w
anting to do, but haven’t done.
How to Start Working on Your Goal
Take fifteen minutes. One of my favorite creativity authors, Sam Bennett, is a blend of reason and artistic whimsy, has a book called Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day. Similarly, SARK speaks about micro-movements and how instead of looking at the big goals as these looming massive mountains to conquer, we break them into mini, bite-sized pieces that are doable.
For example, I want to be a best-selling author. I have 2 manuscripts almost ready for submission. For one manuscript, I have no agent in mind of where to begin pitching this book. But I have reached out to 2 writer acquaintances to ask about querying an agent. This was my first micro-movement. Next week, I plan to take 15 minutes of researching agents who are accepting clients.
It took me several months to get started on the first manuscript, because I kept on mulling over these distracting excuses,
“A book is soooo long.
There are so many words I need to type.
What if it’s not amazing?
What if I’m actually a bad writer with good ideas and that’s all I’ll ever be? Blah, blah, blah.”
The fears, questions, and insecurities could have gone on forever. But I decided I wanted to know if I had it in me to actually try at being an author. This desire became stronger than the fear. I wanted to try being an author more than I was scared at the possibility of failing at doing it (or failing at never trying).
After I made the decision, I was still daunted by the word count required in a novel. I had to come up with a strategy to keep myself motivated over what might be many months of work (make that years of work in hindsight).
Ultimately I set aside two mornings a week where I had two hours to write. I decided that on my two writing days, I would aim for 1000 words a day. If I reached my goal that day, that was good! If I only reached 400 words, well that was what I did and that was good enough for that day. To write a 90,000 word book, you can’t let the thousands of words unwritten shrink you back into your smaller self. You have to think, “OK, that’s 90 days of 1000 words.” Well, it took me 1.5 years to get to my manuscript word goal, but now that I have done it, it doesn’t scare me like it did before.
I want you to take a week to start gently asking yourself, what goal would I like to work on for the rest of the year. What is something that I’ve felt a desire to do that I don’t want to wait until someday to accomplish? Write me and let me know what it is.
And let’s use all the Back-to-School ads and chatter as a personal reminder. Everytime you hear one, you can pause and remember what your new goal is. You can take a moment to think about what is your next step that only takes 15 minutes that moves you closer to that goal.
I’m excited for what the rest of this year will bring for you. Be in touch and let me know how it’s going!