“If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.”
— Anthony Robbins
Everyone has a dream they want to come true in life. Most people have that one thing they are deeply passionate about. Whatever that thing is, they think about it, talk about it, and some even step out and do it. But very many people get side-tracked with doing everything else but the one thing they were put on earth to do.
Indecision causes us to lose traction and momentum. We don’t know which direction to take so we stay stuck. And being indecisive leaves us settling for the opposite of everything we want. In a way, it’s a strange and unlikely form of self-sabotage. Let’s use a fictitious character, Jill, as an example. Here’s how it works:
Jill is a sales executive for Fortune 500 company. She is smart, ambitious, and hard working. Although she’s good at what she does, she only works her jo because of the financial security it provides. She works five days a week at 10 hours a day, many times longer than that. At the end of the day at work, she goes home and has to tend to her household and family and the lay down exhausted and try to get some sleep for the next day’s mad rush.
At the same time, Jill is passionate about writing. Since middle school, she’s enjoyed writing stories and poetry. Her goal is to write and publish several novels one day. Each day after work, she intends to write but struggles with focus. She settles into her routine with work and home but deep in her gut feels she should be doing more toward nurturing her passion.
Sound like anything you’re familiar with? This cycle makes sense. And ‘cycle’ is the perfect word to describe it. Many people face some of the exact same challenges in life. But it becomes a real problem when we allow our routine to be the focal point of the day. Sooner than we think, morning turns into afternoon and afternoon turns into evening and we’re wrapping up the rat race just to begin it all over again. We’re simply maintaining our living, not creating a life.
The two things you need to nurture your passions and make your dreams a reality are focus and clarity. No one really wants to break routine because after a while routine becomes the comfort zone. We just do it, not because we like it, but because we’ve been doing it for so longer that it’s easier to do. Change is a challenge and it takes a healthy dose of persistence, courage, and consistency to make it last.
Get clear about your goals. The more clarity you have about the goals you set for yourself, the easier it becomes to focus the best part of your time, energy, ability, and resources to those goals. Think about what it is that you want and then make the decision to change a negative behavior or overcome a certain obstacle.
Most people travel by GPS. GPS is simply a guide to get you from where you are to where you want to go. Your goals serve as your personal GPS. They are where you want to be at some point in the future. In order to get there, you have to get in the car, listen to what the GPS is saying, and make the effort to get down the road. Nothing happens unless you do the work to make it happen.
Write your goals down on your phone, on a computer, in a notebook, on the back of a napkin. Wherever you can find a good place to keep your goals where you’ll look at it every day — write it down there. Words are invisible. Words on paper or on a screen have a way of becoming alive. They serve as a motivating power that creates stamina and drive that will propel you forward.
Setting goals for yourself will create clarity in your mind about what is important to you. And what is important to you, you will ultimately give more of your time and energy too. Don’t try to change it all at once. It took a while to build your daily routine; it may take a while longer to break it. Create a plan of small steps you can take to reach your big goal. Every day you take one small step, accomplish one small thing on your list, it is an accomplish.
When you have clarity about your purpose, you don’t have to worry about making the time to do it. You don’t even have to worry about whether it is good enough or whether people will like it. None of that really matters. You just have to make your goals a priority in your life and then intentionally fix your mind to focus on this priorities until they are complete. And if that means saying no to your secure job, then a consideration of that direction might be worth it so you can say yes to indulging your passions.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
— Hans Hofmann