Holding yourself back

I think one of the most common things that holds us back and stops us achieving our goals/aspirations is not focusing on the long term.

You’re so focused on every little thing that you have to do right now that you’re missing the bigger picture.

It might seem like it takes a lot of effort to be the type of person that is committed and disciplined, the type of person that you want to be.

But you have to start small. However, that doesn’t mean you should forget the bigger picture.

It’s really just a case of doing things now that you know will benefit you later.

Instead we often end up making excuses because it turns out what we want might actually require more effort than we’re willing to give.

Remembering the dream

Sometimes the life paths we choose end up getting distorted by distractions and we end up making choices to reach goals that we don’t even really aspire to.

You might find that in order to move forwards, you actually need to go back and figure out what you really wanted in the first place.

Many times we end up sacrificing our aspirations because we’re too focused on other peoples opinions. We’re so focused on what everyone else is doing that we fall into thinking our dreams are not enough or it no longer feels possible.

But I think it’s important to remember the dream that you had. When you take the time to think about what you really want, you can start shifting your focus to what actually matters.

Which dreams are worth pursuing?

When you’re creating your dream life, you might think of things such as where you’ll live, what sort of home you’d like, how you’ll earn an income, how you’ll spend your free time and so on. But when there is equal appeal for conflicting choices, how do you decide?

Essentially it requires you to let some dreams go, perhaps not permanently but at least for a little while. But even when you know that is what needs to be done, you still have to choose what to put first. It could be the choice between living in apartment right in the heart of a the city and a cottage in the countryside.

Whatever choice you make you have to also remember that you might not get to go back and do the other thing in the way that you originally wanted. For example, if you choose the apartment in the city you may end up with a terraced house in the suburbs later on rather than the country cottage.

Most of the time when it comes to the dream life, I focus on the fantasy or romanticising the possibilities of life. I do that because it’s fun and I think it’s vital to engage with those ways of thinking. However, it’s important to be practical too. It’s not possible to do everything so you do have to choose. You have to decide which dreams are worth pursing.

The ‘wrong choice’ could be the best choice

When it comes to making decisions you might find yourself paralysed, stagnant and making no progress in life because you’re scared of making the wrong choice.

Weeks, months or even years can go by and when you look back on your life you’ll find that very little has changed. It could be about work, friends, family, romantic relationships, your home, how you spend your time, that thing you didn’t start or your appearance.

Perhaps you’re worried that leaving a job and trying something new will be something you’ll regret and so you stay in your current job even though you’re unhappy. You’re worried that leaving might be the wrong choice.

Maybe what you do next won’t work out so you’ll have to go back to a similar role that you used to work in, maybe your new career path pays less or maybe something else unideal will happen.

However, I think that if you yearn for change then maybe making the ‘wrong choice’ is the best choice. Mistakes and failures are opportunities for learning and growth. But taking the chance to try something new may also lead to greater happiness and fulfillment which I think is enough to make the risk worth while.

Accepting where you’re at

Where you are right now might not be where you wish you were.

But it’s important to accept it.

You may have a detailed dream life that feels a million miles from you’re current life. And so you focus on the future to distract yourself from your current circumstances.

Perhaps there are feelings of embarrassment, shame, low self-esteem, not feeling good enough or fear associated with where your life is at. By choosing not to accept the present you amplify all those feelings which of course makes you feel worse.

Instead of trying to distance yourself from your current life, try to accept it. It’s okay to not be where you want to be in life.

That doesn’t mean you don’t make an effort to change things and work towards where you want to be. It just means that you don’t bypass the present.

Just be happy

You convince yourself that you have to work hard, overcome struggle and become something else in order to ‘make it’. Then once you make it you’ll be happy.

Perhaps it would be considered childish or silly but what if you could just enjoy life, right now.

Is it possible that you can be joyful without overcoming great hurdles or becoming successful in the eyes of the world.

It’s not that you should have no dreams or aspirations in life because those things are great. The issue is that we place our happiness in those things, in money, a big house and luxury items. We put conditions on our happiness.

We aspire to be happy instead of just being happy.

What’s the point in having a dream life?

We often end up pushing what we really want to the side in favour of something considered more realistic.

The point in having a dream life is being able to acknowledge and accept that where you are may not be where you want to be, then finding ways to bridge that gap.

It’s not about telling yourself, I’ll be happy when…

It’s not about spending all day fantasizing about the life you want as a form of escapism from your real life where you’re miserable.

It’s not about pining after a life where you’re rich and famous.

Often when we make plans for the future we come up with things like stable job, nice house, a few holidays a year and be comfortable financially.

That’s not a dream, that’s something we say because we’re scared of uncertainty. However, it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with that life or that you wouldn’t be happy living it.

But try digging a little deeper, get lost in thought and see what comes up. Slowly, overtime your daydreams will come together to form a dream life and it’ll be full and specific.

Once you have that, the next step is bringing it to life which first requires you to believe it’s possible.

Knowing when to pivot

There is a popular saying goes something like ‘insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results’.

But what’s worth understanding is that sometimes you need to do the same thing over and over again.

Take meditation for example, it’s very rare that you get it the first time. It could take ten times, that doesnt mean you should stop.

Or, maybe you’re an artist taking your work to galleries, or a writer pitching to publications. Just because things don’t work out the first or 15th time, doesn’t mean you should stop. But, of course if you’re doing something that costs money don’t go broke trying to make things work.

I think it’s good to have the determination to keep going even when things aren’t working out.

But it’s also important to know when to pivot. The end goal doesn’t need to change but maybe your approach should.

On finally becoming a writer

I’ve always held writing to a high esteem, to such a high esteem that I always considered it to be out of my reach.

It’s undeniable that in the 9+ years I’ve been sharing my writing online, I’ve improved quite a lot. Yet, I always told myself that I could never be a proper writer.

But over the past year or after reading articles online, I’ve thought to myself, I could write something like that or even that’s similar to something I’ve already written. Suddenly writing no longer feels so out of reach.

And it’s not that I now plan to quite my job and become a writer, I think it’s more than fair to say I already am one.

Room for flexibility

When you know what you want it’s easy to end up being closed off to all else. After all, you don’t want to get swept up in something that will veer you off path.

But as much as it’s important to know what you want, it’s also important to allow some room for flexibility. Often the things we want come packaged differently to how we expect.

And so if you’re too rigid, you might end up missing out on the very thing you’ve been striving for.