Today is my birthday. It's also Make Your Dreams Come True Day according to all of the holiday and observation calendars online.
And I just couldn't resist that combination.
In fact, from now on, instead of dwelling on the whole “unlucky 13” part of my birthday, I'm now going to focus on the fact that I was born on a day meant to make your dreams come true, LOL! How's that for a reframe?
Since my birthday is close to the start of a new year, I get a double-whammy of looking back and evaluating my life and the past year, all at the same time.
Can I just tell you that my life is hardly where I thought it would be when I was this age?
And that's just a little hard sometimes. Not just for me. For all of us.
Rewind back…it's my last day of high school. Being the trendsetter I am, I had in all of my credits to graduate in the middle of my senior year. Instead of coming back after the new year began, I was starting at the local university. The last day before Christmas, I was all set to begin my journey in the “real world.”
But before I could go hop in my car and speed out of the school parking lot, I had one last thing to do: I had to go to the big purple rock just outside the football field. That is where we would be taking pictures for senior superlatives. And I had been nominated.
I didn't know there was such a thing when I started high school (we'll talk about my naivete another time). Through the years, I just buckled down and did what I did best- being a nerd!
And low, and behold, on that last day of high school, I was nominated to be most likely to succeed.
At the time, it felt like an honor. I had worked hard during my school years.
However, each year as I turn over the calendar and reflect back on what I've done and where I'm at, there's a small voice that whispers, “How are you succeeding, Tam? What would they think if they could see you now?”
That's when I go over the list of things in my mind that I haven't done. Each year, it feels like the list gets longer and longer.
“What would people think if they knew the girl who was most likely to succeed had driven the same vehicle for 17.5 years? What if they knew what was in my bank account? I bet they'd laugh then! Or what if they knew about all of the things I look around the yard and see unfinished. The back wall on my barn actually fell in last month. How am I successful when there's so much left for me to do in my life?”
Today, instead of dwelling on the list of unfinished things in my life and things that just probably aren't going to happen- I'm going to celebrate another year of opportunity before me to make dreams come true.
And to help me stay on track, I'm going to share the tips and tricks that have helped me to succeed this far. In spite of the fact that my life took a drastically different turn, it doesn't mean that I haven't done something right along the way.
(The same goes for you: just because you may not be exactly where you thought you'd be, or you may still have a list as long as your leg of things you want to do, it doesn't mean you haven't been successful so far.)
Here we go:
10 Ways to Make Your Dreams Come True
- Write it down- EVERYWHERE! Put post-it notes on your desk, in your planner, on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, over the washing machine, as the wallpaper to your phone and computer, on a coffee mug, as a calendar reminder that pops up every day from Google. Just put it where you can't escape seeing it.
- Tell two trusted and supportive friends. Not those friends who have a reason why you shouldn't do it. Not those who play devil's advocate. Not those who will run and tell everyone. Tell two friends who get you and what you're working towards. Entrusting someone who has their doubts will only cause you to doubt nd procrastinate things.
- Break it down into bite-sized tasks. Setting a goal and then never taking the time to make deadlines, steps, and timelines sets you up for staying in the same place. Get as specific as you need to take action. You can take a day and map out the entire dream from start to finish, or you can map out the first portion in great detail, and then schedule a day before that time is up to sit down and plan out the next phase. Failure is plan is planning to fail!
- Decide what tools you need to be successful. Do you need to read something online about how to do it? Do you need a support group to keep you accountable? Do you need to get in touch with people who are doing it right now? From information, to resources, to time, to support, to money- get clear on what you need so it will actually happen. Don't be afraid to invest in those things that will bring you closer to your dream. You won't regret it.
- Get clear on what you will stop doing, to make time for what you're working towards. In order to fit everything in your day, something will have to change from what you're doing now. Does that mean less sleep? (Hopefully not, since sleep is the building block of so many things. But if you've been depressed and napping a lot, then this may be a good place to start.) Does that mean watching less TV? Does that mean not working overtime? Does that mean halting your spinning class for six months? When you don't take the time to do this step, it leaves it up to you each and every day to find a way to fit it in, along with everything else you normally do. Guess what is likely to be forgotten? Choose your dream!
- Eliminate the nay-sayers. Who has time for negativity? I don't. I especially don't have time for such nonsense when I'm trying to reach a dream. The first time anyone sets out to do something new and improved, there are a lot of doubters around. Just think about the first person who ate what came out of a chicken's butt and said it was fabulous. Do you think anyone believed them? 🙂 So stick to your vision, even if it's never been done before.
- Recall your past successes. Nothing is too small to include on this list. When I announced that I would be leaving in my middle of my senior year, I was met with negativity and people telling me that I couldn't. I had already figured out how I was going to do it. And in spite of those who did everything they could to stop me, I did it anyway. I haven't looked back. Even high school was a long time ago and no one even cares about it now, I still recall the uphill battle I had on those hard days, and it helps to give me courage. So go make your list of successes, no matter or small or how long ago they were- they count!
- Restart as many times as it takes. No one sets out to accomplish something and does it on the first try. No one just magically makes a big change from the start. So when it gets hard, and you take a break- don't let it last. Don't quit. Restart over and over and over. That's how you'll get there.
- Take time away from thinking about it. Sometimes, you just need a break. Walk away. Do something else. And do it for a while. I'm not talking five minutes here. If you need a month off from this dream, then do it. The break can give you a new perspective on things. It may be just what you need to determine the missing piece.
- Build in time for other things. Take time to stay well-rounded. Only focusing on one thing can take a toll on you- and your success. Doing other things in your life will give you new insights on this dream. As you're weeding the flower bed, you'll have an insight about the time and seasons it takes for a flower to be as robust and lovely as it can be, the same as your dream. It doesn't happen overnight. You'll be amazed as your insights and renewed determination as you do some other projects in your life.
Remember: no one sets out on the path to reaching their dreams without having moments of doubt. That's a part of the process. It's what helps to build confidence so that when you get there, you can fully feel the achievement.
Pick just one of these 10 tips to start with, and the rest will follow!