As a coach, I am always fascinated to hear about the many dreams and aspirations people have — the things they have wanted to do forever, but for reasons of time, resources, or life getting in the way, they haven’t pursued. These dreams rent space in the corners of our minds, peeking out occasionally in the hope of moving out of the internal ideas apartment. Yet somehow they remain untouched. Why? No action!
Without action, our dreams never move out. They get stuck and keep knocking on the door, yelling to break free. They bug you all the time…at work, before you fall asleep…what to do?
This New Year, resolve to give an old dream new life through action!
Over the last few years, I have found that the most effective way to maintain my New Year’s momentum is to think about my goals first, and then, most importantly, I “get them down!” I don’t just commit to them mentally, I also physically sit down — as I am now in Starbucks — to put them on paper (or a Word doc :)).
But even when we take this step, we often encounter a common barrier: the end game of our dream seems so far off and overwhelming that starting feels virtually impossible. Do you recognize this barrier? Do you come up with 50 reasons why you can’t do something and then stop dead in your tracks?
I see this so often that I wanted to share a few ideas to help you move your dreams from renting space in your head to actually shaping your future:
- Write down your big — maybe even crazy — aspiration. Make it as big as you like. No barriers.
- Write down how you might get there. Don’t worry about all the specifics. Start by listing the skills and knowledge you bring to the table to make that dream happen. (It’s here where most people stop and say, “Oh heavens, never mind!” Don’t stop! Keep going!)
- Pick three or four small goals and actions (“chunks”) to help you gain momentum. Some hints:
- Keep them manageable and achievable.
- Allow yourself some time so you can fit them into your day-to-day activities.
- When those chunks are complete, celebrate and identify your next three chunks.
- Rinse and repeat!
For example, if you are starting a small business, a “chunk” could be just researching and networking for three months to inform your business plan. Note that I did not say “build the business in three months”, but just start the research and the homework. When we break things into smaller pieces they become more manageable and tangible. It really works!
I’d love to hear if you plan on giving these ideas a try. Whatever approach you take, the most important thing is to start. I hope you all have a healthy and happy New Year!
This post was originally published on LinkedIn.