Have you ever felt like you cannot get ahead no matter what you do? Like you struggle for every inch of forward momentum in your life only to find you haven’t progressed at all? I call it swimming upstream.
I’ve been in that place more often than not. I wish I could say that I’ve only ever seen that happen in other people’s lives but that isn’t the case. I set goals. I prioritize. I work hard. Sometimes that just doesn’t seem like enough. Been there? Understand that?
I’ve had a few days lately where it definitely feels like I’m swimming upstream. I can see the dream. I can see the end result that I want but man this hamster wheel just keeps circling and circling. I think I need some new inspiration, some new focus. I think I need to see progress in a few things so I don’t feel like I’m fighting the currents.
Anyone got some advice for getting out of the cycle?
Double Dipping…. I am not talking about double dipping your veggies or chips in dip. Although I am sure I could make a post on that too. No today I am using the reference of double dipping in regards to the fact that for the next 90 days I have agreed to take part in the Team Heart 90 Day Live Facebook challenge and I blog. A lot of what I am doing in the 90 day Live video challenge is stuff I could just as easily write and post to my blog.
I guess I decided to save myself some time and share across platforms as I can and maybe not have to create double the content. Cheating? Um….probably but that’s okay it won’t be word for word, just maybe theme for theme.
So today in my live video I talked about taking action even when afraid. Now I am no expert on doing something despite my fear. I can honestly admit that yes, I have allowed fear to hold me back. I have allowed fear to make my decisions sometimes. It sucks. What’s worse is that no matter what I have told others I know the real reason I didn’t move forward, chase a dream, or take action. Living with my self after that is way worse than if I had just faced me fears head on and taken action.
Fear can be debilitating. Paralyzingly so. You can literally have a whole body physical reaction to fear. I’m learning to not let fear stop me. I’m learning to take action despite the risk, real or imagined. I’m learning to stop the conversations in my head about doubt and unworthiness and I am learning to quit making excuses so I can stay in fear. I mean, who wants to live there anyway?
Everything I want, everything I dream about is literally on the other side of fear. I have to want those things more than I want fear in control. Believe me it’s a work in progress but at least I am consciously working on it. I’m choosing every day to take at least one step beyond my fear.
Am I a raging success? Well, no but I can be as long as I don’t give up. As long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other. My point to all this? You can do it too. Just push yourself through the rapidly beating heart, sweaty palms, barely breathing moment and do it. You’ll live – I promise!
There has been a lot of talk in my little world about making time for the important things. There has also been a lot of talk about paying attention to what actually is important. We fill our lives with things that don’t matter and wonder why we never get things accomplished.
I am surrounded by people who are making a commitment to reach their goals through determined action. They aren’t doing it by the seat of their pants either. They have a plan, a way to track their progress and they have each other to be support and cheerleaders along the way.
I’ve always believed I am good at being organized and being a multi=tasker but after being a fly on the wall watching these people walk, run and fly toward their goals I have come to realize that I have a lot to learn about making time for the things that matter. I do good at it when it comes to family and some friends. I even do good at it when it is work related but there are other things that I want to build, grow and accomplish and I am having a hard time staying on target, saying focused and making time in my schedule to really do what I want to do.
I think part of it is that I am still trying to define the “important” part of this. The WHY that has to keep me motivated. Keep me moving forward, step after step. Everything we do is exchanged for a part of our life we will never get back so we need to make sure that we are making time for what is really important.
I believe it is important to have a dream that you are working toward. I also believe it is important that your dreams push you, challenge you, stretch you. I’ve also discovered that a dream should frighten you. Not to the point that you are too afraid to reach for the stars but it should scare you…. just a bit.
I think most of my life I have been happy with the status quo and been too afraid to reach for my dreams. I’ve settled instead of believing that I could achieve the secret dreams of my heart. The thing is, I am technically middle aged and I realize that if I don’t reach for my dreams I will never risk the chance of achieving them.
So, there are a a couple big audacious dreams in my life:
- Travel internationally at least once every other year.
- Visit every state in the US
- Become a published author
- Be a philanthropist and patron of the arts
- Earn a 6 figure income – through one or more income streams.
- To have the wardrobe of my dreams
- To live in a large house with plenty of room to entertain
They may not seem like amazing goals to anyone else but to me they represent an entire way of life that I have yet to achieve. Every day I want to move towards these dreams becoming a reality. It will require lots of growth on my part and hard work and diligence but I can’t give up.
So I’ve set an audacious goal this year. I’ve decided that I want to be out of debt by the end of the year. I don’t have credit card debt because quite frankly I don’t like credit cards. However, we had a business and over the last couple of years we just couldn’t compete with the “large companies” so we closed its doors. That’s all good but it has taken my husband two years to get back to paid work.
He has been working, helping a friend renovate a very old building into a restaurant and lounge. Pay will come eventually but in the mean time we were barely making ends meet with my income supporting a family of 5 and 2 business expenses. To say we got behind is downplaying our finances….. BUT…..
Things are radically shifting around with my husband back in the workforce which of course is why we have set a goal to get out of debt. But as I said yesterday, goals require action steps. I believe you have to take baby steps toward your goals. So here is my example of how to set baby steps toward a bigger goal.
Baby steps toward our goal:
- Menu planning, it’s true that planning out your weekly meals and shopping once a week for your grocery items saves you money and that money can go towards bills.
- The little splurges add up so cutting coffees from coffee shops makes a difference. You can literally save hundreds in a year if you are a major coffee drinker as long as you get smaller sizes, get refillable cups, or cut them out altogether.
- This one may sound crazy to some but setting a fun money budget works for us. We have a set $ amount that my husband and I split from his pay checks ($100) that we can spend any way we like. Why is this important? Because if you are working your ass off to get out of debt and stick to a budget, if you don’t plan for fun money you will eventually give it up because you are working to please everyone else and you feel like you get nothing for all the hard work. Keep it realistic and allow for some fun and you are likely to keep at it.
- It may be counter-intuitive but I focus on paying the bigger bills off first. Most people like to pay off the small bills first so they fee like they are really accomplishing things. I want the biggest bills gone and then I use the larger payments from the bigger bills to quickly pay down the smaller ones.
- Payments- I may be a bit defiant but I look at my budget and decide what I can afford to pay toward bills (outside of power, water, etc), then look at what bills are my primary focus and divide what I have to pay by the number of bills. I figure out how long it will take me to lunch off those bills and I accept it for what it is. Sound funny? Well, debt didn’t happen overnight and I can’t assume it will clear up quickly.
There are many other little steps that I am using and putting into place but this gives you the idea that you can chip away at a large goal by breaking it down into smaller, actionable steps.
I think to some extent everyone has some kind of goal(s) that they are working on. They may not be public about it but there is generally always a goal people are trying to achieve.
I try to set reasonable goals. You know, with easy to reach milestones. I try to be realistic in what I can accomplish but I also push myself not to make it too easy. I used to think I understood goal setting but I’ve recently begun to realize that I have more to learn.
Did you know that as humans we slow down our own success by slowing down how hard we work once we get close to our goal? It’s as if we put the goal as the highest mark and once it close we don’t see ourselves bypassing it so we slow down our progress so we only hit the goal, not shoot past it.
I didn’t believe it at first but the more I have talked to people the more I have realized it as truth. So, now when I set a goal I over set it. For example, I don’t just want to get my finances in order, I want to be debt free by the end of the year. Go BIG! Think BIG! Act BIG! Achieve BIG!
I think most people can name off a “grand” goal that they are wanting to accomplish. Everyone has a mental bucket list of things they want to do. I could name off several of my own goals but I am slowly becoming a believer in the fact that small goals are far more important than the “grand” goals.
That isn’t to say that one shouldn’t work toward the “grand” goals but that getting to them might be done more easily if you focus on small goals that eventually lead to the bigger goals. Learning to do this is something that I learned from my job. You take a large concept and then work backwards to create small but actionable steps that all lead up to the fulfillment of the large idea.
My question of the day is “what three goals” I want to accomplish this month. That seems easy enough since we are only talking about something that can be achieved in thirty-one days. So here is my three goals:
- to take a walk at least three times a week
- to rearrange my living room
- to get a complete month done in my bullet journal
I hope that everyone achieves success this year by taking those small steps that lead into bigger steps which lead into those “grand” goals being accomplished.