You can go from making grand plans one day to forgetting why you wanted to change your life the next.
It can be hard to shake the unhelpful habits that bind you to your past self. Even though you know they don’t benefit you and that you should change them, you can’t.
And it’s not that you haven’t tried, you just haven’t been able to make any real long term change.
Maybe somedays you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother trying to change at all.
But change takes time and if you really want it, the effort it takes will always be worth it.
Setting goal or making plans for the coming year might seem like a waste of time. We’re in a period of great uncertainty and many of us may have already experienced a long list of things we planned to do in 2020 remain undone.
However, I think a lot of people did much more than they thought they would but in different ways. There was less focus on social activities, in person events and travel but perhaps more emphasis on wellbeing and personal growth.
Maybe this year you started a business, started a project, volunteered, overcame unexpected challenges, read some interesting books, discovered new interests, learned a new skill, developed your confidence, started a new job, got a promotion, visited a new city, bought a house, made new friends, tried some new recipes or figured out what you really want to do with your life.
Some of the things you did this year might seem small or meaningless but you still did them. It’s easy to forget afternoons spent catching up with your favourite people in a cafe, solo dance parties and endless laughter with siblings when you’re focusing on all the concerts you booked that got cancelled or all the places you never got to travel to.
And so for 2021, don’t be afraid to make plans or set intentions for the kind of year you want to have.
The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to at least check-in, recalibrate and ensure that the life you’re living is leading you in the direction that you want to go in.
As someone that has never written for a publication or written a book, I have a hard time calling myself a writer.
I’ve always thought that having my words published in a newspaper, magazine, website or a book etc. would be the validation that I need to claim the label of writer, yet they are not things I actively pursue.
I think this is because when you do something for the love of it, trying to make it anything more is scary. There is also the fear of not being good enough, of my writing not being good enough for someone else to want to share it with a wider audience.
And part of having fear and being scared has resulted in me not putting myself in a position to receive feedback.
So overtime I have come to realise that the issue is not that I can’t call myself a writer, it’s that I didn’t meet the criteria of what I thought a writer should be. But further to that I am not yet the sort of writer that I aspire to be.
One of the things I enjoy writing about is the dream life.
But it’s more than just words it’s about the kind of life I aspire to. Whilst daydreaming one night I realised that I’ve never really shared my dream life in great detail.
One of the main reasons is, there is not one set type of life that I want. Instead I am open to a variety of different scenarios. But another reason is, it can be scary to share your aspirations. As soon as you consider it questions like ‘what will people say if things don’t work out?’ start popping up.
However I’m learning that, it’s good to talk about what you want. It doesn’t need to be on a blog or social media, it could be with friends or family instead. I think sometimes with daydreams because it is something we create in our minds, we end up convincing ourselves that it can’t come true.
But the dream life is possible and I think simply talking about it can be one of the first steps to bringing it to life.
If someone asked you why you didn’t achive a particular goal it’s likely that not having the opportunitiy would be one of your reasons.
When you’re far from where you want to be it can be difficult to realise that you are capable of making things happen. And it’s not that you’re in control of everything but more that you don’t have to rely on external things all the time.
You can create your own opportunities.
I think that statement has been true for a long time but with Instagram, Youtube, Podcasts and really just the internet in general, that has chnaged.
The person that wanted to be a talk show host can gather a few friends and put something together for YouTube or the person who wants to be a stylist can share images of their work on Instagram.
But opportunities can be created offline too in your everyday life. They might not be so obvious but they’re there. Often it is just a case of being open enough.
When it comes to future plans we often forget the reason behind the paths we choose.
We know what we want, when we want it and what it will take but we forget the reason why we want it.
A common example is career paths. A person may want to become a nurse in the next 3 years after they complete studying which will require time, effort, patience and dedication.
The reason the person wants to pursue that particular path, may have once been clear but now is somewhat of a mystery.
It’s only until something happens that this person then remembers that it is because they want to help people. Or maybe, when they were younger a nurse took care of them and they decided that they wanted to be able to do that for other people.
If we now take it back to more general ‘future plans’, I think knowing why you want to do something is important. It could be travel plans, moving to a new country or trying a new activity. Sometimes even though we know what we want to do we get complacent and put things off . And so knowing what to do is often not enough for you to get things done.
However, knowing why you want to do something gives you a pretty good reason to do it.
Most people that you choose to have in your life are chosen because your lives or you as people align in some way.
It could be a similar taste in music, studying (or have studied) the same subjects, enjoying the same leisure activities, similar mindsets and worldviews or maybe you share the same aspirations.
Whatever it may be, when the base of your connection shifts it is likely that you may change your mind about having the person in your life.
Granted you will have built up a connection based on other things over time but when the core bits of you and a person no longer align, the relationship may no longer make sense.
This sort of thing quite commonly occurs once you begin to really figure out who you are and what you want in life. Perhaps the people you used to party with don’t really fit with the life you’re creating. Maybe your corporate aspirations clash with the aspirations of people around you to the point of causing disagreements.
Despite how it may feel, it’s a natural thing for relationships to change. It’s much better to allow things to be than to restrict your development or the development of someone else because you’d rather hold on to something that was never meant to last.
A dream life or even dream job doesn’t have to be a single fixed thing for your entire life.
The life you aspired to have at 15 years old is likely to change once you reach your mid-twenties, if not years before.
You might realise you’re no longer interested in the life you used to want. But perhaps you followed that path, had a great few years and have decided that you want to move on to another dream.
It can be challenging to move on from something you spent years working towards. If it didn’t work out you might feel like you failed and if it was going swimmingly, moving on might feel too risky.
However, sometimes when things are going well, we stick around for too long and end up unhappy. The reason behind this is, having a life of many dreams actualised is rarely encouraged. Instead we’re told to pick one thing and stick with it.
And so when we start to think about moving on to a new dream, we hesitate. We close ourselves off to the possibilities of life and settle for less.
But dreams aren’t rigid, restricted or confined. Don’t be afraid to dream a new dream.
Good news is worth celebrating.
When you set yourself big goals and have high aspirations it can sometimes feel like the little wins aren’t worth celebrating.
But when you get a some good news, why not celebrate.
You don’t have to go all out and do something grand. Perhaps you just eat your favourite desert or put on your favoriye music and have a solo dance party.
The purpose of celebrating is to acknowledge the good bits instead of letting them pass you buy. So often we’re just focused on the end goal that we ignore what it took to get there.
When thinking about what you want to do in the future, dream big.
You don’t have to be realistic and confine yourself to what you think is possible based on where you are in life right now.
In ten years time you’ll have more knowledge and experience so think of what is possible for future you.
It could be anything from writing a book, to owning a home in the countryside, visiting every country, moving a broad for a 6 months to a couple of years, starting a business, getting your products stocked in Selfridges or having a garden where you grow the majority of what you eat.
If those things don’t seem big enough to you then dream bigger. You don’t have to place limitations on what is possible for your life.