Incredulously, I responded, “Of course I do! Who wouldn’t?” Seemed like a silly question to me—until I let it really sink in.
Eddie and I have been talking about going to Italy for over a decade and yet here we sit without having traveled further than Saint Barth’s and Vancouver together. We can’t blame our financial situation or time— we just flat out haven’t made it happen.
One could argue that perhaps we don’t really want to go, or else we would have made it a priority. However, that’s not it at all. Eddie and I, like many of you, are just guilty of getting so caught up in life that we forget to live.
Days come and go. We shove in a bunch of must-dos, a few wants-tos, and time just passes by. We talk and even daydream of our future. But, then our future becomes the present, and we are still having the same conversations.
There are so many different reasons why we get stuck: fear, worry, guilt, not knowing where to start, being stuck in robot mode or even being too comfortable to change.
I laughed with my hubby last night about our decade-long Italy vacation postponement, and we concluded that we are so blessed in our life that we don’t always have the motivation to make change. However, we’re not getting any younger and our bucket list isn’t getting any shorter, so we’d better get to it.
If you too are tired of talking about a goal and want to get on with it already, here are my five steps to help you change your future TODAY:
Assess your time and efforts. You are making your future TODAY with your thoughts and actions. It wasn’t until I asked myself one simple question, “What am I thinking about and spending my time on each day?” that I realized it was time to make some changes. If my thoughts and my actions over the last seven days are a predictor of my future, I can honestly say that I would be nowhere closer to my goals a year from now. So, I urge you to get real with yourself about how you are spending your time and identify things that are contrary to your goals.
Do something right now. Stop reading this blog post and go do something to get inertia on your side and move you toward the future you want. It can be as small as declaring your weight-loss goal to your family, throwing away all that junk from your pantry, making a list of five steps you will take to reach your goal, researching yoga studios in your area, writing a journal entry on why the goal is important or researching the best places to stay at your dream vacation location. [I’m serious…go do it and come back once you have taken a step.]
Give that goal a small slice of your time— every day. We are a product of what we do daily, not what we do every once in a while. I know how difficult it is to find time, as none of us seem to have a surplus of it. However, begin by carving out just 15 minutes each day for your new goal. That could mean 15 minutes of a brisk walk, meditation, clearing clutter, reaching out to friends, practicing Italian, etc. It doesn’t matter what the task is or whether it is the “perfect” next step. Just keep your energy moving toward the goal, and you will be amazed how quickly you get on a roll.
Eliminate timewasters and supersize that slice of time for your goal. I urge you to stay “awake” throughout your day, and stop timewasters in their tracks. This could be negative people holding you back (i.e., the whiny coworker that diminishes your energy), or bad habits keeping you stuck (i.e., putting “it” off until Monday) or inefficiencies wasting your time (i.e., obsessively checking social media accounts). When you are aware, you will find time where you least expect it.
Start developing milestones with dates. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of giving your goal effort or thought daily, start establishing some milestones with deadlines. I don’t always recommend doing this in the very early stages of goal pursuit, because often times not knowing exactly what to do and where to go becomes a barrier for getting started. That is certainly the case for me— in fact, my hubby often calls me “Mrs. Analysis Paralysis.” What I have learned is that the longer I spend working on a goal, the clearer the path to success becomes.
Push Toward Your Best
We all have attributes that make us special, but those things can be quieted by the noise of life. So, in prioritizing your time, do yourself (and the rest of the world) a favor by giving yourself room to groom and grow what makes you great. Keep pushing— your best is waiting.