Five Tips to Actually Freakin’ Make Your Dreams a Reality in 2016

Found on salsalabs.com

Found on salsalabs.com

This has been a crazy time for me.  I work retail and I basically just become an eating, sleeping, and retailing machine for the six weeks before Christmas.  Then life gets back to normal.  I’m not proud to have fallen off on my exercise and writing goals BUT I am proud of how excited I am to get back to them in the new year.  I’m gonna be all right — in fact, in 2016 I plan to be spectacular.

And I’d like you to be spectacular too.  You can do it.  Whatever your dream is you can make a big step forward this year.  It’s not easy.  If it were easy you’d already have done it.  But it SO possible, that’s why you’re smiling a little now, why you’re getting excited somewhere deep within your soul.  The truth as I know it is that there’s a thin line, a sliver of possibility between the mediocre everyday and impossibly extraordinary — a path you can walk and — to quote Henry David Thoreau — “Meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Found on startupvitamins.com

Found on startupvitamins.com

But if you want to change your life in a significant way, as I did last year when I went from a size 18 to a size 12 and as I hope to next year with my writing — you have to understand that you only have so much energy — mental and physical — and it’s precious.  As far as I can tell, your regular life takes up 80% of your energy (work, relationships, day-to-day chores) so your success depends on guarding and focusing the other 20% on your goal.

Succeed and you’ll feel like you’re tied to a rocket blasting into the stratosphere.  For these suggestions, I’m gonna to assume you already have a goal (click here if you need some planning inspiration) and just are looking for ways to move your dream into reality.

So here’s my five tips to actually freakin’ make your dreams a reality in 2016:

  1. See yourself as amazing.  Just recently I gave a friend the wonderful book, Now, Discover Your Strengths , which encourages people to worry less about their weaknesses and instead see the greatness in their innate abilities .  I know I’m awesome, but seeing myself as someone with strengths in Inclusion, Intellection, Input, Positivity, and Responsibility helps me focus on the things that set me apart and come easily to me.  I know you can do great things, and you just have to believe it too.  Look at your whole life, what you’ve done, what you’ve withstood, the kindness you’ve given others.  Part of the book’s power is that it points out the special talents that come easily for you are the first things you overlook while saying ‘Everyone thinks that way,’ or ‘It’s nothing special.’  But you are special, and you can absolutely nail this — just go read some inspiring quotes and believe in your potential.

    Found on fitgirlsdiary.com

    Found on fitgirlsdiary.com

  2. Don’t spend your energy on negative relationships.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I RUN, I don’t walk, I run from negative relationships.  It doesn’t matter if the person meant to hurt me with their words, or absence, or choices — if I feel bad after talking or thinking about them — I move on.  I’m not callous, and I don’t judge.  But I don’t believe I can ‘fix’ anyone who isn’t personally asking for help (or looking for it on my blog 😉 ) or change anyone’s personality.  And I’m almost sure you can’t swim to the island of your dreams with the 500lb yoke of a negative realationship around your neck.  Stop trying.  Step away.  Give up.  And remember —

    Found on fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net

    Found on fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net

  3. Realize that this is not a time for ‘normal’.  From now till whenever you achieve your goal, recognize that you may be giving up a lot of free time, limiting outings with friends, working extra hard etc.  And that’s okay — no one’s asking you to give up the things you enjoy forever.  I gave up sugar for five months so I could be the size I’d wanted to be for 15 years — and so I could be the healthiest possible going forward.  Five months is nothing in the scheme of things.

    Found on etsy.com

    Found on etsy.com

  4. Hard work is a form of magic.  By now I’ve come to see that gladly working hard is a rarity.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe parents punished you with work early on, maybe school made it boring and dumb and soul-sucking.  Maybe your peers taught you that only suckers go the extra mile.  Or maybe you think you’re smarter than the rest and are gonna find the ‘shortcut’ to success.  I really don’t know.  But man, you have got to work hard.  I wish I could wave a magic ward and make you love putting in the effort, because then you’d be so far ahead of the crowd.  Now, it’s never easy — and it’s only sometimes fun, but you get such amazing returns.  If you like working hard, that’s great — now just make sure you aim yourself toward things that matter (I’m still working on this myself).  If you don’t like work, try to work harder anyway — move faster, stay later, do the thing you’d rather not.  Because your dreams are possible but they are also on the other side of a lot of dedicated practice.  And as my sister Sarah, an artist, says, ‘I don’t think dreams ever come true with half-assed effort.’

    Found on quotesqr.com

    Found on quotesqr.com

  5. A good plan + hard work + time = success.  There’s really no secret to getting where you want.  You already know how to do this —
  • Set aside a couple of hours (hopefully somewhere alone and quiet) and write out your big goal.  Then break your goal into smaller monthly goals, then weekly goals.  If your goal requires several points (i.e. go to Ireland requires money, passports, time off etc) make sure each of these sub-goals gets broken down too.  Note: Actually writing them out is essential (don’t just think about them).
  •  Work hard.  Push yourself to do a bit more than you feel comfortable doing (i.e. 12 sit ups instead of 10).  Do something every day toward your goal.  Imagine you’re already world-class — how would you exercise, write, talk, dress, etc if you’d already achieved your goal?  Note: Doing a crummy job, I’ve learned, is just about as pointless as doing nothing.  Be all in.
  • Give it time.  Once you’re working hard at a good plan, stop second-guessing yourself!  You can refine a little from week to week, but for the most part just say to yourself, ‘I’ll see where I am in six months,’ because all good things take time.  Note: If you’re doing it right, your plan probably feel like it’s ruining your life almost immediately — for a time, things will get harder.  When this happens don’t change your plan — you are probably going full-steam in the right direction.  Give it six months. 😉
  • Prepare for success.  Dreams do come true.  And there’s no feeling like committing yourself to a big dream and then starting to reap the rewards.  For months last fall, everywhere I went friends commented on my great appearance and health — and I had the satisfaction of seeing a long-term dream come galloping — full-glory — into reality.

Let’s do it together in 2016.

 

 

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The Things That Make You Scared Are the Things That Make You Dream

― Ellen Johnson

Quote by Ellen Johnson

Since Black Friday, I have been working hard every day to launch myself forward toward the life of my dreams.  Exercising, yoga, and especially doing a lot of writing (it is my passion and life’s purpose after all!).

What I didn’t plan on, was how freaking scary it was going to be.

Found on loveandlaceblog.com

Found on loveandlaceblog.com

It’s scary.  It’s scary not to know how you’ll look in a year or where you’ll end up living or what job you’ll be doing.  Or who you’ll be with.

As soon as I realized I was creating all this forward momentum, I realized I needed a destination.  Boy, then did it hit the fan.

First a little background.  Ever since our parents broke up and then my Mother died (about ten years ago) by sister and I have sought stability.  Just making things calm, and safe, and comfortable for ourselves and each other.  And we’ve been spectacularly successful.  Now though, it’s a time of change.  And when I started thinking about my future, I realized I wasn’t sure what I really wanted.

Was I still a novelist foremost?  What about my inspirational and self help writing?  What about my unceasing love of TV and intrigue with the idea of writing teleplays?

Did I want to travel most?  Settle down in an amazing new place?  Or stay in Athens, GA?

Was I ready for a big new step if I fall in love?  Or did I just want to run around the world for a while and have adventures?

Clearly, for all I’d dreamed about my life after retail and working as a full time writer, when faced with the idea of it actually coming to pass, I simply had no idea.

Found on glogster.com

Fear is a natural response to the unknown.  But, we are not living in the wild.  There are no bears and wolves around (for most of us).  Fear should not be a red stop light, a firm ‘No!  Go back, you fool!’  Instead, it just tells you that you are stepping onto unknown ground.  For me, in the weeks since this started, there have been five main types of fear (see if you too recognize these as you step off the well-worn path toward the life you were destined for) —

Five Fears That Prove You’re Doing Something Right

  1. Fear of Failure.  Right off the bat, I thought “What if I set this big goal, tell people about it, and can’t do it?  What if I belly flop?  And most importantly, how will I stay positive if I’m a failure?  This is probably the fear that stops 90% of cool, amazing, incredible things from being made and stops more discoveries of best friends, soul mates, and mentors than any other.  But the truth is, even big failures don’t really get much traction — my Athens Writers Association had a reading once where almost no one showed up.  It wasn’t fun at the time, but we learned something about how to do it better, and it doesn’t mean much when held up against all our successes.  The best advice for this kind of fear is ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway.’  The only way to do anything worthwhile is to realize the price of failure is small, no one’s getting eaten, and the rest of the world isn’t really going to pay your one act that much mind.  What they’re responding to is that you’re living a life of action.  I fail in tons of ways all the time (eating habits, not being as perfectly kind as I could be, trying to cheat by counting reading ‘The Hobbit’ as ‘writing time’) and yet many people tell me I inspire them.  People will forget the minute and remember that you did something they were afraid to even try.

    Found on onelifewords.tumblr.com

  2. Fear of Success.  Now this one may seem silly on the surface, but it’s actually quite reasonable: our whole lives are constructed around things we know how to do, and to handle.  Think about it — you do what works.  You know how to drive but not a stick-shift, so your car’s automatic.  You don’t have to like your job, but you probably could do it with your eyes closed.  Even bad situations, like being in debt, you’re probably comfortable with.  You only change things that fall outside your comfort zone.  House’s drafty?  That’s fine.  Roof fallen in?  You’re gonna call someone (my roof is fine BTW 😉 ).  So when the idea of wild, mad success comes around (and that’s the kind that falls into your lap when you start living the life of your dreams), of course it’s scary.  You don’t know how to do that.  How would having a great husband or wife fit into your routine, your relationships with other friends, your alone time?  Would you like working at your dream company?  Would you be good enough?  If it all was going great, would something horrible happen?   I recently was reading part of my new novel Society & Civility to finish up my writing time late one night.  But then I still had a bit of time left and so opened up my teleplay from the summer, called Family Lines and about a family of demon hunters.  I’d only written 20 pages (for an hour long pilot) and had quit, thinking it wasn’t going well and I sucked.  But I reread those 20 pages that night and — they scared the crap out of me.  They were good, very good (in my approximation).  So what does that mean for my future?  The best way to dispel this fear is with feelings of gratitude and excitement: you are in this wonderful, unique spot to change your life and make the world a better place (following your dreams always makes the world a better place).  And the truth is, you can be comfortable in loving relationships, working your dream job, and having a life of adventures, or you can be comfortable with just what you’re doing, right now, for the rest of your life.  Your choice.

    Found on whisper.sh

  3. Fear of Looking a Fool /Upsetting People / Inconveniencing People.  I’m not cheating by rolling all of these fears into one, I recently felt them all from a single act.  I wrote to someone who’s an inspiration to me, someone I’d actually like to be friends with — and then I felt really uncomfortable.  I wanted to let them know their work inspired me, but did I go too far, sound over the top?  Did I scare them by being weird (I’m on a journey to be more open and honest and that seems to be a little unfiltered and frightening — at least to me)?  And worst of all did I seem unhingled?  A hanger-on?  A stalker? (I’ve been a stocker for years in big box stores, but that’s spelled a little differently).  In truth though, I am none of those fears, simply someone inspired, and whether or not they respond, they probably don’t think anything bad about me.  This fear is about staying small, nondescript, and not making waves.  Your friends, your family, strangers you accost on the internet — they all have a way they’re most more comfortable with you being and that is just how you are now.  If you get fit, what does that say about their lives?  You move across the country for that dream job, where does that leave Movie Night?  You express your feelings (for any one in any way) and suddenly they have a new issue: how to respond to you (and their day was already full up).  The only thing I can say here is, treat others how you would want to be treated.  Having my friend get fit would be great; having them say ‘You’d look so much better 20 pounds lighter’ would not.  Having someone write that I inspired them would be a boon to me; having a ‘fan’ say we must write a novel together, share a house (and more) would get a quick trip to my banned email list.  So don’t worry, just be daring and send some good into the world.
  4. Fear of Hard Work.  Now, I’ll expound all day and all night on the importance of working hard, but even I have my limits.  And that is what I’m trying to change.  I’ve been hitting this exercise/yoga/writing goal for weeks and that’s going okay, but the thought of digging back into editing my two new novels scares me (and writing for TV, well, we don’t even talk about that…).  This is related to fear #1 but a little different.  It’s knowing you can do something, but being unsure if you want to put into it the Herculean effort required.  I’ll never forget how when I started editing my first novel, I was convinced I was doing something wrong; the editing was making the book much better but it was too hard.  Surely I’d missed a step, or didn’t know a trick?  Truth is, everything you love was created with an inordinate amount of elbow grease.  You want to create something people love and will cherish?  That’s reason enough to work past this fear.

    quotes.lifehack.org

  5. Fear of Leaving People Behind.  As I mentioned in fear #2, this could be moving across the country, but I’m thinking more in an emotional sense.  I like the people I work with at my ‘regular’ job.  I love my friends.  I worship my sister.  And if I change, what happens to them?  Will they like who I become?  Will our paths diverge?  I feel that this period of growth will unsettle a few relationships (just as a child can feel ‘growing pains’ as their legs lengthen), but I also feel strongly that the best thing I can ever do for them, the kindest act I can bestow, is to become as wonderful and amazing and perfect a me as I can be.  I didn’t start this.  My friends and mentors inspired me to greatness, and I hope to inspire others.  Think of yourself as leading the charge into a wonderful new adventure.  I’m reluctant when plans suddenly change and my day is altered by a friend’s suggestion, but I’m always happy (after a bit of grumbling) to leap on board and then I have an amazing day, usually one of the best of the year .  Give your friends the same time to adjust and a chance to join in the fun.

In the end, it all means that, when you get serious about living your dreams, the world gets big and exciting fast.  I’ve only been at this for a few weeks and already it’s getting crazy.  What will a few more months bring?

The most exciting thing, the thing I wish I could transmute to you, is how fast you can start to change your life and that each challenge and fear can be met and mastered.

I don’t have all the answers yet.  Heck, I don’t even know most of the questions.  But I am so scared and so excited.

Because I’m living a life that matters.  And I’m getting braver every day.