As a chronic dreamer, I frequently find myself asking how I go from "dreaming" to actually "doing." Once I've set a goal, I wonder how I'll follow through when times inevitably get tough. Real fulfillment can come from setting and achieving seemingly impossible goals — from losing weight to climbing Mt. Everest. However, it's far too easy to give up on these dreams when the reward appears too distant or small compared to the challenge of the journey.
So how do we continue to follow through on our dreams when the present burden is overwhelming, and the urge to give up is overpowering? Here are a few simple things you can do to increase your opportunity to succeed.
1. Set smaller, incremental goals, and focus only on the current goal.
This requires us to live in the present, not thinking two or three steps ahead. The ultimate goal can appear overwhelming from the vantage point or a person first starting out. When I first committed to competing in triathlons, I couldn't imagine running into the open ocean and swimming for a mile or more amid the chaos of hundreds of other swimmers. I couldn't even swim a couple laps in the pool without becoming winded and panicked.
However, I set a goal to swim 500 yards without stopping. Once I accomplished that, I set a goal to swim in the open water with a swim club on the weekends. As I kept achieving these smaller goals, I was soon able to confidently complete the swim portion of a triathlon. The larger goal becomes much more manageable when it is broken apart into smaller, more easily achievable goals.
2. Time is only an obstacle if “I don’t have time” becomes your mantra.
Don't ever let time be an obstacle to living your dreams. "I don't have time" becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy when you continue to reinforce it. Instead, try asking yourself, "How do I make the time for this?" It's amazing where we can find time in our busy schedule to work toward our goals when the passion and drive are great enough. Can you wake up an hour earlier? Give up an hour of TV? Utilize your lunch break? Be creative with your time.
3. Get the word out.
Telling other people about what you're setting out to achieve is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable. I like to blog about my experiences honestly and tell as many people as possible about my goals. Others may choose social media or another outlet. This makes giving up more difficult, as there's now an audience with an interest in your success. The more people who know about it, the larger your potential support group is. During the more difficult times of the journey, they will be the people who lift you up and help you to push on. Additionally, you may be inspiring others through your actions. Achieving a goal has a much more meaningful impact when others have been inspired to achieve their goals.
4. Find a way to be of service.
The idea that others have benefited from your experience can be the most fulfilling aspect of your achievement. There are endless ways to be in service while working toward your own goals. One example is fundraising. There are many charities which offer fundraising opportunities that you can apply to your goal. You can also visit a charity's website to find out if they have their own program. You may find that they have a lot of resources and support available to help you succeed.
Setting out to achieve a seemingly impossible goal can be a discouraging experience, but it doesn't have to be. Challenges don't have to be a roadblock to success. By following these simple steps, you may find that following through on your goals becomes more of a certainty, and others will begin to benefit and become inspired by your actions. The outcome of your achievement can become a blessing to everyone.