30 Dec 2014 10 Comments
Follow these three simple steps to make your dreams a reality.
People who know me know that once I commit to a goal, I accomplish it. I often hear “I wish I could do what you do,” whether it’s a career change, a body makeover, or planning to travel the world for a year. “How do you do it?” they ask. In this post, I’m going to share my top three secrets for accomplishing what I set out to achieve.
First, let me brag a little on some of the things I’ve achieved that seemed impossible at first:
- After a 28-year career as a hairstylist, I graduated with honors at the age of 44 with a BS in chemistry.
- While I was in my first year of graduate school and living on a student income, I quit school and bought a brick-and-mortar business, building and all.
- When I lost said business after seven years because of the economic crash, I had to file for bankruptcy. Talk about starting over! My life was a blank slate at the age of 53, which sounds fun, but it’s not. After taking a year off (living on unemployment), I decided to become an editor, having no idea what that even really meant. And in just three years, I have an editing business that provides exactly what I want: the freedom to take my work on the road and travel for a year.
Before I go any further, I want you to think about something you really want to do, something that seems impossible. Now ask yourself what is stopping you. It’s probably the usual: family commitments, job, not enough money, not the right time, I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m too tired, and on and on.
While all of the reasons you have for not doing what you truly want to do are real, I am here to tell you that you can remove virtually all obstacles when you really, really want something. But removing obstacles is another post. Here I want to share with you my top three secrets for reaching my goals:
1. Decide you’re doing it. Just. Decide.
Yep, for everything I’ve ever accomplished, I started by simply deciding that I was going to do it. I think this is the number one most overlooked and underrated step in achieving your goals. Once you decide, you’re on your way. (Commitment is built in to decision, by the way.) When I decided to become an editor, I had NO IDEA what to do. But because I had decided, I took the steps to research what it takes to become an editor. I also spoke to people who were already doing what I wanted to do. And I did that. Now, with my decision to travel the world for a year, I’m connecting with people who are already doing it. They are so willing to share how they’re doing it that I’m a little overwhelmed with the information I’m collecting!
2. Visualize yourself doing it.
That’s right, start vividly imagining yourself actually DOING what you want to do. What is the weather like? What are you wearing? What are you eating? Who is around you? Where are you? What do you hear? When I decided to become an editor, I pictured myself taking my laptop to coffee houses, parks, anywhere I could be outdoors sitting in the sun. I hadn’t realized then that I was also visualizing working while traveling. Now, as I prepare to travel around the world, I visualize myself in shorts and a t-shirt listening to the sparkly splash of a nearby waterfall as I feel the spray from the water tickling my face. I’m eating goat meat off of a banana-leaf plate. You get the idea. Visualize as clearly as you can exactly what you desire.
3. Take the first step, no matter how small.
What is one tiny thing you need to do to make your dream come true? When I decided to edit, I offered my services for free everywhere I saw the opportunity. I had no idea what I was doing, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I started telling everyone I was an editor long before I could actually claim to have the skills. I had decided, I was visualizing, and I was taking action. For my RTW journey, I immediately socked away the little bit of cash I had on hand. It wasn’t “extra” cash, either, but my bills were paid, and I had some money to set aside. I also immediately cut out discretionary spending. No more daily coffee out, no more new lipstick or going to the movies for now. It is far more important to me to set aside that money for my travels. I also started contacting people I knew who lived in various countries around the world, and asked others for their connections. I started an Evernote notebook. (Geez, I love that app.)
So, whatever your resolutions are for 2015, take just one thing you really, really want to do. And if you really, really desire that, try taking these three secrets to heart. And maybe, just maybe, you will find yourself joining up with me in Indonesia or New Zealand or Croatia or . . .
Happy New Year! Make at least ONE of your dreams come true in 2015!
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