I have good news and I have great news. Are you ready? I believe it is absolutely possible to achieve anything you really want and I know how to help you do it - you break down the steps you need to accomplish and then add them to your calendar. Yes, that really is the secret to the universe.
It sounds simple right? Identify the dream you want to reach out and grab, break it down into bite-size little pieces, and then poof you’re on the New York Time’s Best Seller List, getting married, losing the weight, graduating from law school, dropping a habit, or getting along with your father.
Of course, that means you have to want it bad enough to follow through and do the research, make the plan, follow the schedule, and be willing to revise and retry as often as necessary to make it happen.
The thing is, while it sounds great in theory - brains are funny things.
I’ve worked with a LOT of people who have told me they can’t possibly stick to a schedule. They come at me with all the reasons:
Honestly, the reason I’m given rarely matters.
I listen politely and think about all the ways the person is sabotaging themselves just because of the way they’re thinking.
Because, no matter how much of a free-spirited ADHD creative with a complicated life filled with children, a spouse, or pets you are - I know you can create a schedule and stick to it because you’re already following a routine.
The difference is, you haven’t recognized it.
You think you’re going where life takes you and at the mercy of the push and pull of demands from outside sources but you still have little routines sprinkled throughout the day that are anchoring your temporal existence.
It’s fine if right now you’re thinking, “Nuh-uh. You don’t know me. You don’t know my life. Don’t put me in a box!”
You’re completely right, I don’t know most of you personally and I don’t know the exact details of your life and I’d never try to put you into a box (or a corner, if you’re a Dirty Dancing fan).
But what I do know is how the human brain works and it is one efficient beast of a machine.
What do you do when you wake up? Check your phone to see if you missed a call, text, tweet, post, like, or DM? That’s what the majority of the western world does now. That’s a routine, my friend. That’s a habit. It’s controlling your life and putting you into a box and I bet you haven’t even made the conscious decision to give those minutes (or - if we’re being honest - hours each day) away.
Oh? That’s different? Alright. When was the last time you tried a new recipe? A new way to the grocery store? A new brand of cookies? Listened to a new genre of music? If you’re like most people the answer is not that often because you have your go-to recipes, autopilot route to the store/school/work, and favorite radio stations or playlists. Those are all routines you’re following.
See? I knew you could do it. You call it a habit and now that you’re recognizing the power you truly have to do repetitive things day after day - you just have to do it on purpose.
Wait. What?! You can live life on purpose? If you’re wondering if that’s a thing, I can promise you that it is. But it takes more than a little planning to make it happen.
This is especially true if it feels like an impossible dream.
Let’s say your goal is losing 50 pounds. If this seems totally doable to you, up the number or use a financial goal like making $250k in your business this year or if you’re just getting started, making enough to pay all of your bills and build up an emergency fund. Any goal is fine for the purposes of this experiment.
The first thing you have to do is examine the scope of the dream. Your brain will tell you that the year is already partially over, it’s impossible, and how much you need to lose each month to hit the number by December 31st. None of this is useful. You see, if you don’t believe it’s possible you’ll do one of two things - nothing or there will be a lot of frenetic activity that makes you look busy without accomplishing anything.
“Nothing” looks like eating exactly the same food, doing the same amount of physical activity, and keeping your brain out of anxiety and discomfort by not making it adopt new behaviors. That will make your brain very happy, by the way - it’s why you keep doing the thing you’ve always done. What creates anxiety and discomfort is doing something new.
Frenetic activity that looks like progress - but doesn’t result in weight loss - looks like researching for the “best” diet plan, creating a Pinterest board with recipes and meal plans, shopping for the best weight loss accessories, joining a gym that has daily classes - and then bringing home food that isn’t on the plan so you can have a cheat meal that turns into a day that winds up being a week and not going to the gym because you didn’t schedule it.
A better question to help you deconstruct the steps needed to reach your final goal would be, ‘What could I do every single day that would move me closer to my goal?” Yes, the key to becoming a scheduling ninja and toucher of dreams starts with forming better habits. Habits that support you in reaching your dream.
For the weight loss example: what if you became the person who walks 1k steps every day instead of 200 - even if it meant literally walking back and forth on your bedroom floor to make it happen. Maybe you’re the person who takes a three-mile walk every morning before breakfast or after work. Or, maybe you’re the person who journals every morning so you can work out your feelings on paper instead of at the drive-through. Those seem like little changes, right? Not worth doing? For sure not going in your calendar every day like a *real* appointment.
But what if you did treat the commitment to yourself like it was as important as any commitment you made to anyone else? What would be different?
You’d reach out and touch your dream because it would become a reality.
Unless what you’re dreaming about isn’t your purpose.
So many people - myself included - find themselves dreaming about becoming someone or doing something because they think it’s what someone else wants or expects of them or they think they SHOULD want it.
I’ve seen this happen when people choose who to date, who to marry, what career to go into, what clothes to wear, what weight to weigh, what flowers to buy for their home, what car to drive, and even what friends to have.
If the dream you’re chasing isn’t really something that’s in alignment with who you are at the core of your being - the silent place so many of us lose touch with - then chasing it isn’t going to feel good and touching it isn’t going to give us the result we’re expecting.
Also… if it’s not something you really want you might be self-sabotaging. While that would keep you from getting the person/life/thing you don’t want, it will also make you think you’re not good at setting yourself up for success. And that’s just silly. Of COURSE you can succeed.
That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to deconstruct your wishes or goals - to make sure the goals you have are representative of what you truly want so you can go out and do what it takes to reach them.
Of course, I have a song for you. This week’s episode is inspired by How Bad Do You Want it by Tim McGraw.
What does it take
To reach out and touch your dreams?
I always say
Are you hungry?
Are you thirsty?
Is it a fire that burns you up inside?
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming
With that one thing on your mind?
What is the one thing you want more than any other? What daily habit could you cultivate to get you closer to achieving it? What concrete steps can you plan out for the next week, month, or quarter that will catapult you closer to where you want to be?
Spend time with these questions and see what comes up. If you’re feeling frisky, hit me up on Instagram and share your answers with me.
Until next time, my wish for you is the wisdom to uncover what you truly want and the courage to pursue it with the passion and dedication necessary for achieving it.