You’re sitting in the crystal clear waters of Fiji, a tropical smoothie in hand, basking in the glow of the South Pacific Ocean sun. You watch the surfers cascading gracefully toward the shore. This goal was well worth it; you feel as if you’ve reached paradise.
Many of us have dream goals. We talk about them in passing or joke about them. Most of the time, we don’t take them seriously even though the dream is still in our hearts.
When I published my first book, many people asked me how I did it. Getting a book published had been my lifelong dream; and I had been working on it for years. At the end of 2013, something shifted and I was able to finish writing the book in three short months. I self-published first and by June 2014 had a book contract with a major publisher. As you may imagine, writing a book and getting it published is no easy feat. This process taught me how to realize a lifelong goal.
With a little guidance, you can pursue your dreams. Follow these tips to get started.
Make a Commitment
Many people don’t achieve their lifelong dreams because they aren’t truly committed to seeing it happen. They get too busy and postpone making an effort. Suddenly, years have passed.
If you’re steadfast in your commitment to your dream goal, you have the inner workings to make it happen.
Start by writing down the reasons you want your lifelong dream goal to happen:
- What would it do for you?
- How would it make you feel?
- Who would it impact?
- Why are you committed to making it happen?
Set a Date
If you don’t get it on the calendar, it’s not likely to happen. Most things we do in life are set in time. I have a close friend who lives 15 minutes from me. While we love each other, we both have busy lives. Over the years, we’ve come to realize that if we don’t have a coffee date on the calendar, several months can pass before we get together. Your dream goal is no different.
When I got serious about finishing my book, I gave myself three months. By the time it came around to editing, it took me nearly four. Still, that was faster and more efficient than the four years of sporadic work that preceded my commitment to achieve this goal.
I had no pressure to finish … until I set a date.
Break Your Goal Down
I learned this method from author, Tony Robbins. A lifelong dream goal is no small affair. One reason you may have never followed through with your lifelong dream goal is that it appears too big.
Break it down into smaller pieces. In the case of a monetary goal, you may need to save in small increments. Or if your goal is to start a business, you may need to work in the evenings to start. In my case, I made a commitment to write five pages per day. When you make it manageable, it doesn’t seem so daunting.
Make a Daily Contribution
Every day counts. You can work towards your goal every day, even if it’s a seemingly small task. You can make a phone call, do some research, read a book that supports your goal, talk to an expert, visualize, and meditate. Set aside 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour daily and dedicate that time to your dream goal. It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up over time.
Have an Accountability Buddy
Tell a person, who supports and believes in you, about your dream goal. Share your plan and ask him or her to check in and hold you accountable. You can also volunteer that you will call him or her weekly to give an update on your progress. When I was writing, I would tell my accountability buddy, “Hey, I wrote five pages today.” Or on less productive days, “Oh, I only got a page written. But that’s OK, I’ll write nine pages tomorrow.” It helped that I told another person, who cheered me on when things got tough.
Don’t Mind the Setbacks
Life ebbs and flows. You’re guaranteed to have setbacks in pursuit of your lifelong dream. Be prepared to have them and know you will overcome them. I like to look at setbacks as a rerouting process. Have you ever been led close to your destination by a GPS, only to find out the road was closed? Maybe you were forced take a different route, but in taking it you discovered a really beautiful, hidden park or unique restaurant.
A setback might also take you in a more efficient direction. Embrace setbacks and look for the opportunity.
Surrender to the Divine
There is a principle in the eight limbs of yoga written by Patanjali called Ishvara Pranidhana, or surrender to a higher source. Surrender implies that you don’t control the Universe. When you allow the Universe to handle the details, things often fall into place.
Before I got my book contract, I had decided to attend Book Expo America to try and find book distributers for my self-published book. Getting a book contract at that time wasn’t even on my radar. I simply wanted to sell books. A publicist I was working with counseled me on whom to talk to at the convention. After a long conversation, he finally said, “Michelle, just go and be open to what God will do.” While I believed what he said, I thought it odd that a publicist would say that to me. I surrendered and met my future editor at that convention. When you surrender, you also open yourself up to infinite possibilities.
Keep your lifelong dream goal at the forefront of your mind by infusing it into everything you do. Put up pictures, have inspirational quotes surrounding you, and believe that you can make your goal a reality.