Welcome to Building the Life You Want, our weekly series for August & September. Each week we'll be covering a new step to help you uncover what it is you really want to focus on, what type of life you want to build for yourself. If you are wanting to follow along with the series, I'd suggest giving yourself 30 minutes a week to read through the post and complete the worksheet. A new post will be available every Tuesday.
I'm excited to see where we can go when we set intentional, mindful goals for our life!
Day One: Have you ever really defined what you want out of life?
Many of us are toggling between at least two type of days.
Option One: The day goes by filled with task after task until the day is done and we chalk it up to just another one of those days.
Option Two: We get a wave of inspiration, become energized by the possibility of what the future could hold - if only we did THIS THING! But, we let that energy fade because we are either too scared to make that dream a reality or we let that list of tasks take over once again.
Unfortunately, neither of these options help us move forward and build the life we want.
I did this for years. Yes....years. I talked a big game - oh yeah, I had DREAMS! And usually I could tell you items 1-100 that I needed to do to make those dreams a reality. But, suiting up and getting myself out onto that playing field - that was another story.
I was scared.
I was scared that I'd get in over my head. Sure, I know how to do items 1-5, but that number 6 ... whew, people will surely realize that I'm not meant to be there by that point.
I was scared that because I had so many dreams that I wouldn't choose the right one. What if I get into it and it's not what I really want?
I was scared that the dream was better than the reality. As long as I kept it out there - out at some future date - it couldn't hurt me. I could make my dream as BIG as I could make it and I couldn't fail at something I was planning on doing.
I had friends and family cheering me on. People loved that I LOVED to dream and they just knew that I'd make it happen, one day.
And that was a happy place to be in - until it wasn't.
I don't think I'm alone in this. I believe many of us grew up with big dreams. We'd sit around our dorm rooms in college talking about what we'd become - someday. And we believed it. Oh yes, our someday would come - after we achieve this and get this thing done. Then we'd have time to focus on ourselves and make our dreams a reality.
Then our lives become focused on those little things, on getting ourselves settled in life. Or, those wonderful little beings called children entered our lives and the idea that it was NOW time to focus on ourselves and OUR dreams - was laughable.
We have important, grown-up things to take care of now.
All of this puts us in a place where we might not know what we really want out of life. Those dreams that we made unattainable, for the fun of it or to keep us safe from ever having to actually pursue them - they aren't really want we want out of life. Few of us can stand firmly in proclaiming that what we really want out of life is a beach house for the summer, a housekeeper, nanny and chef, a lake house for those cozy fall weekends, a mountain cabin for adventurous winters, to travel to far reaching parts of the globe, and of course to support various charities.
We've created a dream life for ourselves that is just that - a dream.
So what is it that we tell ourselves we want? We create a realistic, achievable vision for what we want out of life that's so small or responsible that it's boring.
We aren't motivated by saying we want to save for our kids college, pay off our mortgage and have enough tucked away to splurge ever once in awhile. Few people wake up with vigor and energy ready to pay off that student loan.
And nowhere in either of these definitions of what we want out of life can you find anything about what your life actually feels like.
We are stuck between dreaming too big or too small.
You dream too big and you risk it remaining a dream, never to be pursued. You dream too small and yes, you may check off those boxes, but are you living a fulfilled life?
Luckily these too big & too small dreams can give us hints as to what we are really looking for out of life!
Today's worksheet will help you brainstorm around both visions you have for your life. Both the dream life that is so big it may just remain a dream and that responsible grown-up vision for your life where you achieve everything you are supposed to achieve.
When you complete these sections, complete them with the achievements or things you've always dreamed of rather than anything you think you should be dreaming about. What I mean here is that our society has a tendency to tell us what success should look like - you know those images of the rich and famous sipping champagne on a yacht off the coast of France. If that is a media-created dream and not a dream you have in your heart, don't include it. I want YOUR big dreams.
At the bottom of the worksheet you'll find a section to write what you want your life to feel like. This is an extremely important part of goal setting that we often overlook. Imagine yourself waking up and going through your Ideal Day and all the feelings you want associated with the different pieces of your day. Use emotional words like peaceful, energized, intrigued, fulfilled, proud, inquisitive, adventurous, challenged, soul-filled, connected. Make sure you can define these words for yourself. If you include "fulfilled", in what way? What does that mean to you?
We'll continue our Build the Life You Want series next week with Why do we want what we want?