Are you disappointed, discouraged and discontented with your present level of success? Are you secretly dissatisfied with your present situation? Do you want more abundance, inner peace, joy or happiness? Do you want improved health, a lighter body, or an end to a food obsession or addiction?
Yes, you can have what you want! Of course, you can. Yet accomplishing your dreams and creating change can be an involved and ongoing process. Despite this fact, at certain times in our lives, we dare to dream of a bigger life. Courageously we bring an inner desire up into our conscious awareness and feel the magnificence of a greater life. Excitement begins to bubble, and our hearts open as we anticipate new possibilities. Using all our available skills and tools, we set forth in the achievement of this new dream. Things move forward, and then one day the inevitable occurs: our bubble bursts. Reality hits us between the eyes and tells us we cannot have what we want.
Reaching a big obstacle or hitting a wall is exactly what happens when you dare to venture into new dreams. Why? Because your dream is a life experience you have never had before. It is an imagined reality, a fantasy, a made-up pretend world never before lived by you. You have dared yourself to discover if you are capable of letting go of old ways of thinking, acting, believing, feeling, and choosing, and now doing all of those things differently.
As you encounter a major setback or obstacle, it is easy to loose faith in your ability to create a new life. Quite often the difficulty in front of you is larger than the skills or beliefs you currently possess. You face decisions you are not used to making, uncomfortable risks, and accepting more responsibility than you are accustomed to accepting. When your next step forward seems impossible, it is tempting to give up and tell yourself that you cannot have what you want because you are incapable, unworthy, or undeserving.
Nothing is further from the truth. Instead, you have reached this very obstacle because you have worked hard to bring yourself to this point of change. You are now facing an opportunity of important personal growth and emotional healing. Your challenge or obstacle is a necessary place of decision on your journey. One choice is to turn back to the known and comfortable life you are accustomed to living. The other choice leads you courageously forward to generate new beliefs about your abilities, build new skills, and uncover strengths you did not know you possessed.
To get through the challenges of your goal-achieving journey, the following steps can ease the way:
Acceptance of where you are right now is an important component of change. Acceptance is simply recognition. Recognition is vitally important, because to recognize what doesn’t feel good makes it so much easier to look around and wonder what might feel better. Acceptance is an agreement to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this very moment, even though there are aspects you would wish to change. You can face reality head-on without judgment – opening your eyes to explore the full, and sometimes messy, truth of what exists in your world without using illusions to pretend otherwise. You stop attempting to lay your problem on someone else’s shoulders. You realize no one outside of you will wave a magic wand and dissolve the problem. You can also stop blaming yourself. What you cannot accept, you cannot love. What you cannot love you cannot release.
2) Dream from the Heart
Lay your foundation of success by creating a strong vision of the life you want to be living. Take time to develop a new life potential by visualizing yourself as you want to be, not as you currently are. This involves going inside, sorting through some ideas and deciding which dreams, which desires, which outcomes feel exciting. Then instead of playing victim, blaming others, or dwelling on the worry or anxiety of what you don’t want in your life, you teach yourself to create an exciting partnership with something important to you. To succeed you must first dream! Dreams develop new possibilities, and give your life direction, purpose, and meaning.
3) Energy In Equals Energy Out
The energy that you place into the formation and nurturing of your vision is the energy that will be present when your dream becomes real. Create a bond of passion, love, and excitement between you and your dream. What you want is beautiful and good. Allow this love between you and your goal to be real and tangibly experienced. This excitement is the kind of internal love that says, “Yes! This is a good idea, a fun idea. I’ll spend more time playing with this idea, imagining myself living this idea, and taking action to bring this idea to life.” As you connect with your imagined outcome, you feel good once again. Feeling good makes you glad to be alive. Feed this increased sense of aliveness back into your dream by playing with your new potentials, new possibilities, and new opportunities.
4) Imagine Often
Imagination isn’t simply a visual picture of what is wanted. It is a full body experience. Take the time each day to sit, internally create, and celebrate a completely new world. You have the ability to pull up exciting ideas and share love, joy and life with your ideas and your body. The feeling good you are looking for doesn’t arrive in an shipping package later in time once you achieve your desire. The feeling good comes now as you allow ourselves to feel good because of your vision. Picture how happy you are living the dream, envision the details of this new expression of self, feel the exciting emotions of having what is wanted in exactly the way it is wanted. You can feel good right now.
Decide to achieve your dream. This may seem basic but many people never decide and commit fully to their dream. They simply keep “thinking” about it. Or, as the first obstacle appears they give up. Make a commitment to self that this is what you want. Obstacles, many of them, are going to arise. Failures and setbacks will occur. Deciding to succeed helps you develop a strong internal leader who will carry you through the good times and the rough times. By deciding that you will ultimately achieve your dream, you develop an internal leader who can remember the big picture no matter what is going on in the present moment. How and when you reach your destination is entirely flexible, but reaching the destination is no longer up for debate.
6) Take Action
For a dream to come true of course, you have to take action! Decide where you are now, and what seems like the right place to begin. Action means starting at the right place at the right time. Begin by choosing the smallest, most achievable, or most exciting steps that will create movement toward the desired outcome. Why the smallest steps? First, success builds on success. Secondly, huge, dramatic life-changing solutions rarely work. Instead, major changes are a result of a series of small steps that are taken, successfully completed, acknowledged, and then celebrated.
Believe in the outcome of your dream. In the beginning, your belief may be small, but that is still and excellent place to begin. Find even the smallest seed of hope and possibility and look for ways to nurture your expectation of success. You may have no idea how to get from where you are to where you want to go, but it is essential that cultivate a growing belief that you can, ultimately, have what you want. Use positive affirming messages to self, pictures of success, encouraging thoughts, motivational tapes, prayer, self-love, visualization. Do whatever you can and expend however much effort is necessary to reaffirm your dream and the belief that you can have what you want. It’s okay to have fear. Fear often means you are heading in the right direction. Your fear is a signal that your dream or goal is something that you really want. Only you don’t know exactly how to make your dream come true, so fear pops up to step you from risking failure. Acknowledge fear as part of the journey and don’t let it sway your expectation of overall success.
Feeling good, being excited about being alive involves taking responsibility for your life and your choices. Feeling good is a choice. Deciding to feel good also requires action. If you are feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, hopeless, or even depressed, your responsibility to reach inside and search for an idea or thought feels good and inspires. Only you can decide if your dreams are important enough to overcome any adversity you may face. What is one small action you could take right now to help you regain your confidence? No matter how much effort it might require, follow through and take that step.
9) Acknowledge Both Effort and Success
Keep a check list of all the successful, wonderful effort and action you put into achieving your goal. Chart all your achievements and efforts, big and small. Without a tracking process, you can’t see how far you have come. And if you can’t see your efforts, you are more likely to quit. Celebrate often. If the celebration is postponed until the end of the journey, you miss the entire soul purpose of having the dream. This is of course to feel better and more optimistically alive in the present moment.
10) Visit Your Dream Often
When you run into a wall, encounter a setback, or fail in your current attempt to achieve success, reconnect with your dream. When things seem most unattainable, you need to regain your strength in order to avoid giving up. The reason you spent time at the beginning imagining your goal, nurturing your goal, and creating a bond of love between you and your goal, was so that you could refuel when you need it most. You put love into your dream when you felt optimistic. Now that you are feeling tired, or even a bit hopeless, go back to your dream and allow it to feed your love back into you.
Creating the life of your dreams will require much effort, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Fall in love with the journey itself – not just the outcome. Fall in love with yourself for having a dream. Self-love is a consuming passion for our own happiness. It is a choice you make to focus your attention on beautiful outcomes. Follow the steps above and create your own world of dreams made real!
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Copyright 1997–2009 Annette Colby, PhD. All rights reserved in all media.