Change takes time

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.

Making plans for the new year

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.

Daydreams and the dream life

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.

Knowing why

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.

Hold yourself to it

When you tell yourself that you will do something, it’s quite easy to just not commit. Afterall, there is nobody else that knows and nobody to hold you to it.

On the other hand if you share your aims or goals with others, you have to be willing to accept being called out of if you don’t follow through with your words.

If you write a daily blog, you don’t have to declare that it’s a daily blog, you can simply hold yourself to it. Make a promise or commitment to yourself that you will publish one post, every single day.

But maybe you think it is better to tell people, maybe you need others to hold you to your words and struggle to do it yourself. I don’t think thats a bad thing and in some cases a group of people that hold each other accountable is a great thing.

However, when it comes to some things, you shouldn’t become reliant on other people reminding you of the commitments you made in order to get things done.

Moving towards future plans

When starting something new, whilst it’s great to have a long term strategy, it is also important to focus on the present.

The last thing thing you want to do is get overwhelmed or distracted with where you want to be in a few years time.

The long term strategy gives you something to focus on and can help you figure out what you need to be doing day to day in order to achieve the bigger goal.

But what can end up happening is that you’re so focused on the little things you’re doing each day that you aren’t actually moving any closer to your goal.

And so it’s important to ensure that you regularly check in to keep things moving forward.

Dream big

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.

Changing long-term plans

Most of us have some idea of where we’d like to be in 5, 10 maybe even 20 years time.

But sometimes the gap between now and then, is pretty hazy.

You know what you want but you’re not quite sure how you’ll get there.

And sometimes long-term plans change.

Maybe you happened to find something you care for more than what you’re currently trying to pursue. Maybe you realised that you don’t really want the thing you were working for. Or maybe you just feel like like doing something new.

For many people they actually end up having a better sense of direction when they change their plans. The gap becomes a little less hazy.

The reason for this is changing plans is a risk and they want it to be worth it.

The worst possible thing

What do you do when the worst possible thing happens.

And by worst possible thing I mean something unanticipated, something that you didn’t plan for that throws you off course.

The common and perhaps most easiest way to react is panic.

Like a sort of ‘Oh my goodness, what I am I gonna do, everything is going wrong, this has gotta be liek the worst possible thing, what am I gonna do now?’

Turns out the popular and easy reaction isn’t particularly helpful.

Instead my experience has taught me that the much more useful thing to is think. Go through the possible scenarios and come up with a solution. Once you’re able to remove some of uncertainty suddenly the worst possible thing isn’t so bad.

Granted you can’t control how things will turn out. However, what you can do is remind yourself that you are capable of overcoming the unexpected.

What do you want?

A seemingly simple four word question that is often almost impossible to answer.

Even when you know what you want you’re likely to find yourself making excuses for why it’s not possible for you or how it’s just a daydream.

But also I think it’s difficult to admit what you truly want when you know that you haven’t even tried to make it happen. If your wants don’t align with what you currently do or are currently working towards it highlights where you’ve fallen short.

Nobody wants to be reminded that they’re not where they want to be in life especially when you’re not even working towards what you want.

And so the lesson is to keep checking in with what you want in life. Once you have that figured out all you have to do is start bridging the gap.