Have you ever started enthusiastically working toward a goal, only to loose hope or motivation at the halfway mark? Or maybe you haven't even started, because you’ve simply been frozen by fear and self-doubt. Either way, you'll probably agree that achieving goals and dreams can be a bit of a tricky skill to master.
To help you make it to the finish line next time, here are five things you must know before going after your dreams.
1. You must claim you are worthy of your desires.
Maybe you’ve got a few big dreams or secret goals, but they seem a little far-fetched or at least somewhat out of reach. You question whether they could really happen to you, out of all the people in the world.
In these moments, I would urge you to ask yourself: Why not you?
Most of the successful, inspiring people in the world aren’t any better or worse than you — spiritually, everyone is equal and gifted in their own way — but they just had the courage and sense of self-worth to claim their greatness and go after what they wanted, without questioning their worthiness or entitlement.
So the next time you're experiencing doubts about going after what you really want, even though your life satisfaction will suffer if you remain stuck, affirm to yourself: I choose to be great. I have what it takes.
2. Know that happiness brings success.
If you’re like most people, you probably assume that you’ll finally get to experience true happiness and fulfillment when you achieve your goals and dreams. When you’re in your dream career (or even retired), wealthier, slimmer, married, more successful and surrounded by loving friends and family.
The truth is that life works the other way around. Success doesn't bring happiness; happiness brings success.
In other words, having a positive attitude and feeling good in the present moment greatly increases your chances of obtaining what you desire, because you’ll be more energized, motivated and inspired to make it happen.
You also won’t find yourself with an unhealthy attachment to the specific outcomes of your goal, because you don’t need life to unfold in a highly specific way to feel fulfilled. Your dreams are the icing on the cake of your life — they aren't the only thing you live for.
So I recommend that you put "be present and enjoy the day" at the very top of your to-do list.
3. Commit wholeheartedly.
They say that 99% commitment is hell, but 100% commitment is heaven.
When you're almost, but not quite, committed to your goal, and you leave a tiny space inside of your heart and mind for doubt, fear and indecision to creep in, you feel torn and full of angst.
Whereas when you commit yourself fully to a new dream or goal, whether it's a relationship, career change, project, healthier lifestyle or simply practicing mindfulness daily, life becomes easier. You don’t have to think about it all the time.
Your decisions are pre-made in advance of your day. You simply do whatever you need to do to get yourself closer to your goal. You don't waste time and emotional energy second-guessing yourself, being tempted by poor choices, and becoming frozen by fear.
This doesn’t mean you can’t change course or let go of a goal if it turns out that it’s no longer the right fit for you. It just means that when you’re in, you’re in 100%.
4. Remember there is no such thing as failure.
Imagine for a moment that failure didn't exist, that there was no possible way you could fail at anything you tried, no matter how scary or new it was to you.
What would you do differently? How would you act? What would you immediately have the courage and motivation to work toward?
Now, I want you to continue to live in this world where failure doesn’t exist, by remembering this simple but powerful reframe: there is no failure, only feedback.
Every time you attempt something new, you learn from it. You grow your skills and confidence, you gain life experience, and you learn more about yourself. Even if the outcome isn’t an official success, you’ve won anyway. And your experience will get you closer to success in your next attempt.
5. Start wherever you are. (You have to be bad before you are good!)
Many of us put off starting a new hobby, passion project, career change or dream because we're secretly scared we'll be no good. We're worried we'll fail, or worse, we'll be totally ordinary.
The truth is, you probably will be bad, at least for a little while. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. By starting and accepting you’re not going to be perfect immediately, you give yourself the freedom and space to learn — and by learning, you become good, and then great, and then the best of the best.
So whatever it is that you're putting off, remember that if you just start today, you'll be one day closer to greatness.