Most of us know the feeling when we've been working hard towards some goal but don't feel quite happy when we achieve it. We can feel an instant feeling of satisfaction. Not happiness though.
Sometimes we look back and ask ourselves: what went wrong? Was the goal right? Did we follow our values when we were achieving our goal? Or did we change along the way, but forgot to adjust our goal to fit our new selves? And was that goal really OUR goal? Was it even worth it? Was it connected to our dreams?
Many of us don't know what our dreams are. I certainly didn't pay as much attention to dreaming some years ago. It somehow seemed ridiculous, something that we were supposed to leave behind, somewhere in our childhood.
But our dreams hold the key to our true selves; so losing touch with our dreams creates unwelcome consequences: we surround ourselves with people whom we don't truly like. We have jobs and hobbies that we don't enjoy and excel at. We say things that we don't believe. We don't come across as genuine and authentic. We spend sleepless nights worrying about what went wrong and why we're so unhappy despite our many achievements.
The answer is simple: we aren't being our true selves and therefore we're living fake lives. So here are some thoughts on how to reconnect to our dreams.
Dedicate time to dreaming
Take time off - off work, off family, off friends. Whatever ‘off’ that you can afford and allow. It could be dedicating 30 minutes to yourself every day to work through your dreams. Or it could be a month off away from everyone. The significant others in your life will only benefit from this process, you need to help yourself first to be able to help others.
Remember what you used to dream about as a child
How did that feel? Not necessarily the fact that you wanted to become an astronaut, but the feeling when you were dreaming.
Think about your current life dream(s)
Think big. You can always scale down later. What dreams trigger that happy childish feeling? Dig deep down into your SELF - what is it that you really want in life? What do you enjoy doing?
Set your values
What are you prepared and not prepared to do to achieve your dream? How are you prepared to treat others on the way to accomplishing your big dream? What is the absolute no-no for you?
Examine the showstoppers
You’ll mainly find these in your head. Watch out for thought patterns starting with ‘I can’t do this’, ‘my dream is silly’, ‘others won’t understand’, ‘I’m too busy’, ‘it’ll never work out’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘too risky’ and so on. Discard them because they aren’t tangible risks, they’re just that - showstoppers in your head.
Work on a plan
You could jump straight into that big dream job, or you could start your dream as a hobby. It’s easier to break down your grandiose plan into smaller parts and adjust your plan as you go.
Don’t get fixated on a grand end goal
Sometimes you just start on a path and then see where it leads you. You can always change the path or change your plan or your mind, right?
Enjoy the process
This is really important, in fact the most important thing. If you aren’t enjoying the process of dreaming and achieving your dream, what’s the point? If you aren’t enjoying it, either your dream isn’t YOURS, or you aren’t living to your values, or your mental showstoppers are still bothering you. Or perhaps you need to practice some mindfulness.
The right people and opportunities will start appearing in your life
Why? Because you’ve attracted them - by identifying your dreams and values and by enjoying life. So you’ll see more like minded and supportive people around you who will be attracted to your attitude and satisfaction with your own life, but most importantly by your authenticity.