A Motto for 2017: Achieve Your Dreams! Why Not?
I have big plans for 2017, and honestly friends, I hope you do as well! Perhaps you have hopes & dreams but aren’t sure where to start. Or perhaps your’re making progress but need a gentle kick-in-the-pants. In this post I’ll share a valuable lesson on goal accomplishment, which you can apply to my 2017 challenge. Take the next step to achieve your dreams! Why not? What have you got to lose?
My year in review: 2016
2016 was a year of tremendous change for me and my family. In general, any time a lot of change is encountered in a short period of time it has the potential to be stressful. In my case all of this change was part of my plan, and it aligned with my goals and dreams. Of course I was stressed at times, but overall these significant changes were very positive.
While I consider myself an optimist by nature, I admit there are plenty of times I feel stuck. In the early part of 2016, I was definitely feeling confused and unsure of what the future held. John and I were actively looking to make the move from Wisconsin to North Carolina, but my job situation wasn’t panning out. One of my lifelong goals is to start my own business. I contemplated embarking on this new adventure in conjunction with a move, but ultimately John and I are a little too risk-averse to pick up everything and relocate several states away without the promise of a steady income.
Alas, I did find a wonderful job in NC and we made the move in mid-March 2016. No longer tied to the computer doing job searches, suddenly I had a plethora of free time to focus on my personal goals.
From the outside looking in, I was doing everything right. As always, I had annual and monthly goals that I meticulously tracked. About 2 months after we moved, I hit a plateau and my “progress” started to become circular in nature. I’d fallen prey to the completing actions but not really accomplishing anything syndrome. I knew this, and yet I wasn’t sure how to end the cycle.
Seeking a coach
To help me “find my way” I did a little research on some local life coaches. I came across a woman whose online profile and website seemed like she could potentially help. She dubbed herself a Dream Coach, and I was in need of direction on my dreams. Typical of most coaches, she offered a free introductory session in which both parties talk about what they are looking for and methods used, and then mutually decide if they want to proceed with a coach-client relationship. It’s sort of like a blind date for your brain.
Why not? I thought…this can’t hurt anything. If I don’t get any help then it was only 45 minutes of my time. I’m sure there will be some benefit even if I don’t proceed with formal coaching. So I scheduled an appointment for early June.
In preparation for our first session my homework was to think about the three things at the top of my Dream List, and to contemplate what life would be like if I achieved those dreams, or if I never achieved those dreams.
Here’s my Dream List, in no particular order:
Start my own business.
Publish a book.
Start a family
The secret to goal accomplishment revealed
During our phone call, Ms. Dream Coach asked me about my Dream List. I listed each goal with a bit more detail. Then she asked which goal was most important.
“Uhhh…well, I consider them all equally important.” I stammered.
And then it was like a dam burst, and I couldn’t stop talking. [Caution: extreme run-on sentence ahead.] I rattled on about the little steps I’ve been doing for each goal, and how I keep making lists and trying to prioritize but each my dreams is equally important and I’m not sure which to focus first, and I’m getting older and wanting to marry John and have a baby but that’s sort of out of my control, and if I’m going to start one of the other two dreams, maybe I shouldn’t have a family because I wouldn’t have as much time or energy for all of it, and all my goals are important to me but I don’t know how to choose between them.
Ms. Dream Coach let me go for awhile. Then she said something that honestly changed my life.
“Angie, I really think you should be open to the possibility of pursuing more than one goal at the same time.”
Huh. It was like BAM! Achieve my dreams! Why not? Why not work on all my goals together? I don’t need to accomplish one before the other, I can do them AT THE SAME TIME!!!
My commitment: Achieve my dreams! Why not?
For whatever reason my brain never thought to take the leap and work on all of my dreams at once. I was so focused on coming up with “the right plan”, believing that success with one goal was necessary before knowing how to proceed with the next goal. I thought my dreams were competing for the top spot of my attention.I firmly believed that accomplishing one dream would knock out the other two, at least for a period of time.
But that isn’t how it has to be. I just had to reset my beliefs and ask myself…Why not?
My success story
In the remaining months of 2016 all three items on my dream list advanced! A single piece of advice given at just the right time, combined with reflection and a lot of hard work pushed me over the plateau I had been stuck on.
Here’s what I was able to accomplish after asking “Why not?”, and opening myself up to the possibility of multi-dream attainment!
- I started my blog insightlopedia.life at the end of June. While not technically a book, this is helping me to build writing skills and develop a readership.
- I formed my own LLC, which the blog is housed under. This also opens me up for the possibility of expansion and future endeavors, which I continue to pursue.
- John and I got married and we are expecting a baby boy. Yes, I fully realize these two events (especially the baby) were not really in my control. I’ve read many stories about couples trying for years to conceive, and it’s only when they give up and stop thinking about it that they’re able to have a baby. I truly believe that all the doubt and worry in my mind about my dream list and conflicting priorities had a negative impact on our ability to procreate. Only when did I let go of this inner conflict could my body be open to achieving this dream.
- I started writing my book. It will take some time – years most likely – to accomplish this dream, but I’ve made much more progress in the latter half of 2016 than before my “Why not?” revelation. I have a basic outline, and I continue to do research and document my notes and ideas.
The “Achieve your dreams! Why not?” philosophy
Ask yourself “Why not?” to help eliminate judgement, preconceived notions, stereotypes, “old-thinking” and lack of creativity. Open your mind to possibility. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it’s open.” – credited to both Frank Zappa and Albert Einstein
Reset your way of thinking by asking yourself:
Why not accomplish all my goals at once?
Why not do something different and more meaningful with my life?
Why not do this thing for me? (Know that it will also benefit those around you if it aligns with your values)
Why not forget all the reasons I haven’t accomplished this goal in the past?
Why not put invest a little time and effort into making my dreams come true?
Why not now?
Achieve your dreams! Why not?
The challenge: Why not let this be THE year?
I’m a huge fan of new year’s resolutions, obviously! My list of 2017 resolutions is color-coded, just like my weekly life-planning, and every goal aligns with one of my core values. While I do suggest creating annual goals/resolutions/dreams (whatever you love to call them), this challenge is simple. Here’s all you have to do, in 5 steps.
A motto for 2017: Achieve Your Dreams! Why not?
Think of a dream or goal you’ve been wanting to accomplish.
Next, think about a few roadblocks that have been standing in your way.
Then open yourself up to the possibility of overcoming the hurdles and meeting your goal. Ask yourself…why not?
Write down AND say out loud: “I’m going to [insert your goal here] in 2017.
Now go plan, act, reflect, and celebrate! You can do it! There is nothing stopping you but yourself.