For years I made resolutions that I felt great about for the first several weeks of the New Year and, then, by year’s end I realized not much had really changed and I hadn’t accomplished what I’d wished for.
Last year was the first year I decided not to make any resolutions and it was one of my most personally successful years yet. I published my first book, got interviewed on my first podcast, and had incredible breakthroughs in my personal relationships. And...I was the happiest I’d been in years.
My book "A Beautiful Death"
was about losing my mom, my journey through grief and the tools that helped me during my darkest days to see the light. I’d been working on this book off and on for 6 years.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend suggested that maybe I hadn’t yet finished the book because I wasn’t ready yet to let go of her. That’s when it clicked for me.
I wanted so much to move forward with my life but I was scared that letting go of her would be like she never existed, which is silly but is how I felt in my grief. I was so stuck looking at the closed door behind me that I missed the open door in front of me with God’s open arms beckoning me to step through and receive the beautiful life that awaits me. I knew in that moment that I no longer wanted to waste my life away being stuck in the past. I wanted a chance to live the life I’d always dreamed of. That became my why. Once I knew why I wanted what I wanted, I spent 7 days a week, 8-10 hours a day, for almost 2 months on finishing the book. I was determined!
This brings me to the first thing you can do to finally achieving your dreams.
1. Know your why. What are your dreams? What’s your vision for your life? What do you want to see happen for you? More importantly, WHY do you want those things? It’s the “why” that’ll keep you going long after the motivation has dropped off and the excuses start rolling in.
2. Write down your goals and then break them down into bite-sized actionable steps so they don’t feel so daunting and out of reach. I tend to get overwhelmed when I look at the bigger picture and everything I want to create for my life so I’ve just started breaking down my larger vision into steps—for the year, for each month, for each week and then for each day. Everyday should include some sort of action, no matter how small, towards your vision.
By the way, goals don’t have to be centered around getting “things” like making more money, buying a new home, finding your soulmate...they can be something as simple as wanting more peace in your life. If that’s the case, start meditating everyday or use a situation that would normally ruffle your feathers as an opportunity to instead respond peacefully.
I was blessed when finishing my book to be able to make the time and have the ability to do what I did to finish it. Don’t worry if you can't make those large amounts of time available. Even setting aside a few minutes everyday to write 1 page, make 1 phone call, meditate for 10 minutes, or (fill in the blank here) will get you closer. My sister always reminds me that “you can’t eat an elephant whole”. It’s the consistent small steps that add up and give you results.
3. Nike said it best: “Just do it.” We can’t achieve our dreams and goals without doing something about it. Those mornings when you don’t want to go the gym because you’re too tired and too comfortable in your bed, do it anyway. Those days when you don’t feel like making the phone calls or those fears that creep up that hold you back from making a move, do it anyway. Just do it. And if you’re struggling with that, remember your “why” and ask yourself what’s more important: living the life I dream of or staying stuck in the same old rut year after year after year? I heard this in a motivational video recently—there’s either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. I don’t want to live with regrets. Do you? Just do it!
To share with you how I'm just doing it, I created a YouTube channel "LoveJOYoga Therapy with Michelle"
to create a community that can empower and elevate one another, mind, body and spirit. Check out the video version of this blog
there and subscribe to get updates on future posts, like my revamped "Tips on Tuesdays" and other goodies to help you live a happier, healthier, more meaningful life.
Wishing you a blessed, fulfiling and successful New Year. TODAY is your day! Start now.