I often hear or read that a dream written down becomes a goal (so, a goal not written down stays a dream). What happens after you commit the goal to paper? I have a tendency to get stuck in analysis paralysis. I am using a quarterly journal that has been helpful in working through this. You break your goals down into quarterly goals, and identify monthly, weekly, and daily steps to make dreams and goals reality. It really works!
If you’re not familiar with analysis paralysis – it’s simply getting stuck in your head – thinking too much and not taking action. I can create grand goals, and break them down into many different action plans – in my mind. Working with my journal, committing to paper, and then taking the first tiny steps sets everything in motion. Breaking those goals into manageable, bite-sized bits diminishes the sense of overwhelming impossibility that comes with big dreams and goals. Focusing on the moment – the very next step that needs to be taken and actually doing – it is huge.
Failing to break analysis paralysis, or to sit down and put your goals on paper is a goal killer. Your dreams will always be just that. Dreams. No more, no less. Eventually they will turn into regrets. Not taking responsibility for YOUR OWN happiness and future is a dream killer. You will always be able to find someone or something to blame for not accomplishing your dreams. Unless you are committed to yourself and taking ownership of your happiness. I get that it’s not always easy to just decide to make your dreams a reality. Most often, though, it really is….and there are many more mental obstacles than physical ones. The very hardest, biggest, baddest obstacle you will likely have to overcome is your own mindset. That is where breaking things down into tiny little steps (and yes, it is a bit time-consuming) comes in. Take baby steps, take it slow, but take it. God created you – a magnificent, unique person with wonderful gifts and talents. And He gave you dreams for the very purpose of turning them into goals to make your journey on Earth wonderful.
Right now, I am struggling with a challenge. Struggling to understand why I have it. (It’s not health related – I’m okay!) Something that I used to really enjoy is not so enjoyable right now. I had been keeping it bottled up, actually out of shame. Finally decided to get out of my head and be really brave and talk with Bill about it. Instinctively, I knew he would understand and help me – but I let shame hold me back. The moment I decided I wanted to understand the challenge, possible answers started appearing. One of the biggest “issues” I have identified is belief in myself – trusting myself.
The thing about fears and challenges – they are dream and goal killers also. And if you don’t deal with them head-on, you are left with regrets. This was really brought to my attention yesterday. One of my goals this quarter (March through May) is to PR my 5k run time. I wrote it down, broke it down, and have been half-heartedly working on it. All the while telling myself that it probably wasn’t going to happen. Then I decided that if I missed one of my shorter goals or actions toward that goal, nothing would happen. I was exactly right – NOTHING HAPPENED! Yesterday, Bill went out for his run, and I was fiddling around and developing some excellent excuses for not running, and just getting a walk in. I stepped back and looked at myself – and didn’t like what I saw. So I took the first step. Well, several actually…threw together a new playlist for music, grabbed my earphones (which died halfway through…guess you have to charge them occasionally!), and headed out the door. Firmly squelching the “oh just walk” that kept jumping to the forefront, I made those steps happen quicker. For 3.1 miles. And came within 30 seconds/mile of my PR. Concrete proof that my goal is absolutely attainable.
That doesn’t mean that it will be easy from now on to just go run. But I can’t use the “can’t do it” excuse anymore – not legitimately. The other challenge – it’s a bit bigger and tougher – at least that is what my mind is telling me. I am writing it down, breaking it down, and working on the steps. Having only regrets would be devastating.
Grace is a wonderful thing, I am blessed to have a few people who regularly extend grace beyond measure. Life is a work in progress, and that progress is magnified because of grace.
Don’t let your dreams and challenges become regrets. Write them down. Break them down. Take the first step – as many times as you have to.