The last post I published was August 31 of 2017. I had enjoyed a couple of months of writing regularly and receiving awesome feedback from you. So why did I stop?
Probably for the same reasons I’ve begun countless tasks or started reaching toward numerous goals only to see them diminish, first in my mind, then altogether—chronic quitting.
It’s embarrassing, really. So many endeavors begun, dreams sought after, lies told (to myself). “I’ll go back to school for this—but do I really want to do that?” “So I’ll get certified in this” (but then never use the certification). “I’m passionate about this—but do I really want to spend the time, money, and energy right now?” “I would love to do this—but…”
From social work, to psychology degree, to teaching certificate, to professional writer, to MBA, and on to the next dream. But…But I haven’t actually accomplished any of my previous dreams. “Quitter”. It’s worse than cursing at our house, but we do both. Well, I do both. I quit and I curse, like a sailor. It’s got to stop, the quitting I mean (but for real, I have a 6-month-old; the cursing has got to stop too).
Let’s get back on track, and maybe I’ll actually finish this post. How many dreams have you given up on? How many tasks have you begun only to give up before you could enjoy the results? I know I’m not the only person here with this problem. And I don’t know why or how it started. But.
But I’m going to put myself to the test. I’m going to set an example. I’m going to finish the things I’ve started. I’m going to pick a dream and make it come true, God-willing. If you’re struggling with mind-over-matter (’cause let’s be honest with ourselves—that’s exactly what this is), journey with me to dreams-come-true. We’ll start small, and here’s how:
1. List out all the things you’ve wanted to accomplish but didn’t. Then list the reasons for failing to accomplish them (I know it’s a little depressing, but stick with me). Sometimes we have valid reasons for not accomplishing our goals, like lack of finances at the time or impromptu pregnancies. Other times we have lame excuses: “I’m too tired;” “It’s too cold or too hot to work out;” “The dog will just smell bad again in a day or two;” “I’m not smart enough;” “I’m too old to go back to school;” “No one reads my blogs but Aunt Betty;” It’s a long, sad list. Either way, it never hurts to re-evaluate your position and your attitude towards your dreams (or simple tasks).
2. Recreate your list of things you want to accomplish. List the reasons for wanting to achieve those goals. They can be as simple as cleaning the bathroom (which I finally did today) and as great as getting that degree (or greater). There’s no limit here. Writing down your goals is a powerful step towards accomplishing them. And understanding what drives your desire for reaching those goals is momentum. Need an example? I’ve begun (more than once) to achieve a Master’s in Business Administration degree. I thought it would make me more employable, smarter, more sophisticated, and potentially wealthier one day. I’ve quit each time, for various reasons, and I’ve concluded that being a wealthy business woman is not reason enough for me to attain that goal. That’s where I am today, anyway. I may re-evaluate this goal at a later time. That’s up to me. My new list includes working towards minimalistic living because I truly believe that modern 1st world living is too complicated, too expensive, and unhealthy for the soul; and writing for fun rather than for profit (though profit would be gravy) because writing for others to read is therapeutic and holds me accountable. You see? If you don’t understand why you want something, how can you expect yourself to be motivated enough to see it through?
3. Pick one item on your list that you can commit to achieving. It’s probably best to choose the simplest or most short-term goal, to get started. I’ll start with finishing thank you notes for the baby showers 7-8 months ago. Whoops. In my defense, my son came 6 days early (which was a blessing for my little body and his) and most of my thank you notes were written but lacked addresses and stamps. Then parenthood and going back to work took up much of my time and energy. They still do, but I owe it to myself to finish a simple task. And I owe a thank you note to those who invested in my little family.
4. Achieve it. Whatever it takes, accomplish that goal as soon as you possibly can. Set a deadline, make a plan, put it on all of your calendars, write it down on sticky notes and place them EVERYWHERE if you have to. Achieve it. Even as I’m typing I’m reminding myself to pick up stamps after I pick up my son from day care.
5. Cross it off your list. Do a little dance. Embrace yourself. You accomplished a goal. You finished a task. YOU made a dream come true. YOU didn’t quit.
6. Repeat. My advice is to stick to one goal at a time. I like to think I’m a multitasker as much as the next person, but it takes twice as long for me to finish a task when I’m juggling too much at once. There’s something to be said about specialization.
Don’t wait. You’ve got time to read this post, so I know you’ve got time to make your list. Use your phone if that’s easier for you. But get started as soon as possible. Don’t lose momentum. You deserve to reach your goals just like anyone else. Just like you want your kids to reach theirs (if you don’t have kids, pretend).
Inspired by Girl, wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis