Why you aren’t pursuing your dream
Do you have a dream?
Our aspirational dreams are our souls trying to show us our life’s purpose.
How long have you cherished your dream without acting on it? Does it hide out in the back of your mind, because you feel it’s far-fetched and can probably not be achieved?
Are you avoiding it or procrastinating?
If so, why?
What’s Stopping You?
Procrastination – the habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task, despite its negative consequences. Procrastinators habitually put off or avoid tasks in favour of seeking distraction.
It’s interesting to note that ‘avoidance’ and ‘avoidant’ have different meanings. The term ‘avoidant’ usually refers to socially avoidant people, rather than people who avoid tasks.
But you may spot some overlap between the two behaviours.
Any type of avoidance is avoidance of an unwanted negative emotion.
If you avoid tasks or people, do you find that anxiety clusters up around multiple stimuli? When this happens, it can be described as generalised anxiety, which is an ongoing blurry feeling of anxiety, worry or restlessness that you can’t pinpoint a distinct cause of. This style of anxiety is a major cause of avoidance and procrastination.
Perfectionists tend to suffer from procrastination, as there is less loss of face in failing to start a task than in completing it to a lower standard than required.
However, think about that for a minute.
You can procrastinate your dreams indefinitely. That would be safe. But what if your dreams were there for a reason?
What if they are what you’re supposed to do with your life?
My Impossible Dream
Life Coaching was my impossible dream. I had a career in I.T., so it wasn’t an obvious leap. People who worked in I.T. before it went hipster were routinely locked in cellars and let out weekly to graze and receive new instructions. Ok that’s a joke, but many of us were not …ahem… extroverts. Somehow, I got started down the healing path anyway, learning Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Reiki and Kinesiology (the marriage of chiropractic and acupuncture). I loved working with clients and got great results, especially with the coaching aspect. I’d found a new passion.
Now, About Your Dream
So back to my point. You have a goal tucked away somewhere. Some vague and wonderful dream you’ve had for years, but never let yourself seriously entertain.
Please fill in your list of 20 perfectly rational reasons why not here:
Reason 1: e.g. you’re scared
Oops, I only left room for one reason! You’re scared. Let’s take that as read, then.
If you have a dream, does it feel compelling? Made just for you? A calling, even? If you’re reading this, I know you have conflict about it. Why is that?
Why are you not listening to the voice of your dream?
Never mind, let’s explore what you can do to give your dream a bit of air.
You don’t have to commit to your dream at once, but try journaling on it, to listen to your thoughts and hear both sides of the argument.
Meditation can be very fruitful – inviting the dream to be present, letting thoughts and images pass through your mind and simply observing. Going for a walk can serve the same purpose.
Doodle on ideas to give your dream life and see how that feels. Can you set up a bit of time to take a first step? What would that look like? Can you play with it? Don’t listen to the part of you that says you can’t.
Listen to your heart
Keep journaling, day after day for at least a week. Deeper thoughts will come and you may find the dream coming to life. Let all the negative self-talk come out as well as the positive. You will need to resolve all your reasons why you can’t proceed.
Know your WHY
WHY is what fuels you through the un-charted waters of realising a dream. A compelling reason gets your through the hard times, when your mind rebels.
Once you’ve done that, my friend, there is nothing stopping you finding a way to achieve your dream, other than procrastination.
YOU GOTTA JUMP
It’s your dream. You can just DECIDE and DO IT. It’s as simple as that.
You’re a big boy (or girl), just DECIDE and never question your decision. Don’t look back, go hard. Trust me you will figure out how to achieve it as you go. You don’t have to know now.
Fail Your Hardest
Many experiments and mistakes will be made – that’s the adventure of it. It’s a thrilling ride, to be actually LIVING your life, instead of waiting to see what happens to you next.
Once you start, cultivate persistence, commitment, discipline and constraint as your new best friends.
Fail your way to success
Let’s come back to procrastination. It’s a simple way for your subconscious mind to protect you from pursuing your big scary dream. You will need tools to stop the ambush.
PROCRASTINATION KILLER #1 – TWO MINUTES
Try the Two Minute Rule#1 to tackle a task you are procrastinating on:
If you are starting a new habit, it should initially take less than two minutes to do
This sparks an easy ‘gateway habit’ that you can increase gradually over time to build to the level you aspire to. On the basis that it’s easier to increase an existing habit than start a new one, start with a super-easy action you will have little resistance to and just keep increasing it.
PROCRASTINATION KILLER #2 – SCHEDULE BY RESULTS
Make an annual goal for your dream, then break it down to smaller goals. Plan what you will achieve in a year, a month, a week. Make an hourly schedule in advance for each week and put each RESULT you want to achieve in a timeslot. Don’t be tempted to schedule ACTIVITIES, only schedule RESULTS. Otherwise you will fritter away your time without arriving at results. Guaranteed.
To achieve results in a set period, you need to apply the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your time getting a draft result, then the last 20% of your time refining it. Perfectionism will not cut it.
Complete “B-“ work beats “perfect but unfinished” every time.
Stick to your schedule whether you feel like it or not. Just do it. Success builds confidence and breeds more success. The more you achieve, the more competent you will feel.
PROCRASTINATION KILLER #3 – BE YOUR DREAM SELF NOW
Each day, review WHY you’re doing this. Visualise yourself in the future when you have realised your dream – how you will look, where you will be, what you will be doing, thinking and feeling. Strengthen this visualisation by repeating it each day along with your WHY. Imagine how good you will feel. Anything you visualise and feel strongly positive about, your subconscious mind will try to realise for you.
PROCRASTINATION KILLER #4 – USE THE MODEL
If you’re new here, let me explain. The model is a self-coaching tool we use based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) – the scientifically proven best way to change mental habits and effect change. We use the model every day to root out unhelpful beliefs that impede our progress, then deliberately replace them with positive beliefs. There’s a formula for doing this – I can demonstrate The Model to you if you call me for a free consult.
#1 James Clear’s Atomic Habits
Photo by Unsplash