A lot of people have an idea in their head of what they’d like to do. This can be a bigger life goal, a particular trip they have in mind or an experience they’ve been dreaming about for a long time. A lot of people will never get past the point of dreaming about what they want to experience in their lives. What causes people to leave their dreams as dreams is the anxious thoughts and limiting beliefs that set in when you get a big idea of something that you want to do. It can feel liberating at first to get this longing for something or an idea of how you want to radically change something, but all too often after that moment of clarity comes a whole load of self-doubt and the chances are you get so caught up in believing you can’t do something, that you don’t even try. Having a life which feels more fulfilled to you and allows you to fully go after what it is that you want doesn’t have to be this painful experience, it also doesn’t have to be complicated. Nine times out of ten, we overthink things and take the path of greatest resistance to what it is we are trying to achieve. The practical steps below are the steps that I’ve weaved into my life and are my go to’s every time I get an idea for something big I want to do. These steps allow me to get out of my own way and help me to live fully the experiences and life I want for myself.
Get intentional on what it is that you want
By being intentional about what it is that you want, and making a plan towards it, you are much more likely to turn that thought into something really tangible in your life. Sit down with a pen and paper and start to ponder over the idea ‘if I wasn’t afraid, what would I do?’. At this point, let your decision making be guided by curiosity and not by fear or the constraints of your current reality. Write down what comes up. It could be a mountain you’ve always wanted to climb, but never thought you’d be able to. It could be cutting the hours down of your job to allow you to travel more. Take as much time as you need over this, that could even be a few weeks or days, but really start to flesh out the idea of what it is that you’d like to make happen in your life. Once you’ve got your list you can start getting practical about moving towards your dream experience by asking yourself these questions and writing down your answers:
Why do I want to do this? How will this improve my life?
Is there anything around my ideas that I’m afraid of?
What are the potential steps I’ll need to take to get me towards my goal?
Many people don’t allow themselves to reach their goal because their thoughts get in the way, they think that something is too hard, or they have no idea how to get there. If you have an intentional idea of what it is you want to do, you can start looking at what actionable steps you can take to turn your goal into something practical you can work towards. Working towards a goal will take patience but keeping your why in mind will help you stay on track. If your goal is to go on a big trek, for example, you can start to think about who you might need to speak to? Is there some resistance here, and would taking a course help? Do I need a qualification? Do you know anyone who has done it before? Will you need a guide/coach/trainer? Do you need to work on your fitness in order to be able to complete it, for example? We go into a lot more detail about the questions you might need to ask yourself in order to break down a big trip and plan an adventure in our blog posthere. Once you break something down into actionable steps and concentrate on the here and now, seeing them as building blocks to a bigger picture, you’ve managed to turn your dream into a plan that is rapidly becoming a reality.
Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right
Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I would love to do (insert challenging/fun thing) but I couldn’t do it’? Often when we have thoughts like that, it’s because something else is going on. I’ve noticed a thousand times on hikes when I’ve felt tired and told myself ‘I can’t do this’ that I’ve felt more tired than I did before. The world’s top athletes when interviewed will put a huge percentage of their success down to their mindset. Whether you believe something is possible for you or not, you are right. The difference is that when you believe something isn’t possible for you, you’re looking at things from a very limited perspective. If your self-talk is a negative one, this is going to determine your actions, or most likely, lack of action. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you can’t have what it is that you want, or that it’s too hard for you, the chances are you’ll find a million and one reasons why it won’t work out for you and that you can’t do it. When you tell yourself something over and over again, it becomes a belief, so why not make it a positive one?
The first thing is to become really aware that these negative thoughts are happening, and once you’re aware of them, it’s about replacing those thoughts with a more positive version which sees you on your way to continuing to move towards your goal and dreams. When you hear these thoughts come up, ask yourself the following questions, and if you need to, write down the answers:
What does the version of me who already has what I want, believe?
How do they act?
What do I need to let go of to step into that version of me?
Once you’ve asked yourself those questions, start acting in integrity with that version of you and see how things start to change for you.
Don’t let other people derail you
When you decide to do something that is perhaps a little different from the norm and you spend any length of time talking about it, there’s a chance you’ll run into someone who doesn’t agree with it or doesn’t believe it is possible. This can feel really disheartening when it’s somebody close to you but try to remember that people make their judgements based on what they think of their ability to do something. Without realising it, when you start telling somebody about something you’re planning to do, they start imagining themselves doing it, and if they don’t think they’d be able to, they will often tell you of the reasons you shouldn’t do this. Try not to get annoyed if this is the case as the chances are that the person you’re speaking to just wants you to be safe. Thank them for their view point, but remember that isn’tyourviewpoint. I’ve known many of my favourite mentors, people in business and adventurers thrive even when people have told them that what they want to do isn’t possible. If you’re finding that the people around you aren’t backing your plans, think about if there is any way that you can find people who have shared or common goals. Since getting into adventure and running a business around it, I’ve developed many friendships with people who are adventure and business minded as well and find it really helps me to stay focused on what it is I’m working towards. Social media can also be a great place to develop new friendships with like-minded people, I joined a huge Facebook community specifically for female hikers last year and the connections I have made and the positivity I see in my feed of other people doing what I do on a daily basis has completely normalised it for me.
You’ll find what you’re looking for
It’s really easy to find evidence to back you, whether looking for evidence you can do something or evidence that you can’t. You’ll always be able to find a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t, or can’t do something, but what if you spent that time taking in stories of people who’ve achieved what it is that you want to do? If you want to climb a mountain, look for stories of people who’ve done it. If you want to start a travel photography business, look for evidence of other people who’ve done it. If there is a particular place you’re saving up to visit, surround yourself with videos on YouTube of the place and make seeing positive stories become your normal. People who are successful in their pursuits have the belief that if something is possible for others, it is possible for them too, and that there is space for them to also do this.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these practical tips to help you bring your goals and dreams into reality and see what is possible for you.