Thursday, July 10, 2014

What is Keeping You From Achieving Your Dreams Right Now?

Image via Delightfully Tacky
This week Elizabeth of the blog Delightfully Tacky posed a question that's been on my mind recently, "What's keeping you from achieving your dreams right now?". When I ruminate over this question a lot of reasons instantly come to mind.

Time vs. Money
One factor that seems to hold me back from achieving my dreams is time and money. It always seems like when I have plenty of free-time to accomplish my goals I'm lacking in money. Conversely, it seems that when I do have the funds to achieve my goals, then I don't have the time to do it. Sound familiar?

I realize there are ways to combat this problem like with careful planning. If I purchase all of the things that I need when I have money, then I can complete them when I have the time to do them. But sometimes that's easier said than done.

Location
Another factor that comes into play is location. I found it really difficult to pursue my career goals in my hometown because there weren't very many people who understood what my degree was in or the value in what I could offer. And after moving to the English countryside, I quickly found that my job options were limited to the military base or surrounding area (unless I wanted to go back to school again, complete a lot of complicated and expensive paperwork, or travel over 2.5 hours to work one-way) and I was faced with the same struggles that I had at home. So there's always a part of me that wonders if I would have an easier time accomplishing my goals if I lived closer to a larger city with a larger creative community.

Fear/ Lack of Motivation
I have a tendency to over-think things, which can be a good thing in some instances (i.e. if there is ever a tornado in England, I have a safety plan), but sometimes I can let those "what if" scenarios overwhelm me to the point where they paralyze me and I just shut down or give up altogether.

Also, like Elizabeth at Delightfully Tacky, I crave approval. I was taught that hard work = approval, recognition, and success. But, as I've gotten older I've learned that this does not necessarily translate into the real working world. I've worked in plenty of jobs where I was busting my ass and felt like I was doing good work, only to find that my co-workers who didn't seem to care about their work were getting all of the promotions. And when that happened it was very easy to loose heart and motivation for what I was doing.

HELPFUL TIPS:
While achieving my goals is an ever changing work-in-progress, here are some things that have been helpful.


  • Break down your goal into small achievable tasks. I like to make lists on Google Docs or Notepad to review everyday and I get a sense of achievement every-time I cross one of those tasks off the list.
  • Talk about your goals (or blog about them). Sometimes it helps me feel more accountable and motivated to achieve my goals if I tell someone else about my goals. This appeals to the part of me that craves approval, because I feel like I would be letting other people down if I don't accomplish the goals I said I was going to do.
  • Reward yourself for accomplishing tasks. When I accomplish a task on my list I'll often reward myself by getting a latte or cupcake or taking myself out to a movie that I've been wanting to see. I'll also reward myself if I've had a particularly stressful day at work to motivate myself to keep going.
  • Focus on you own accomplishments. When you see other people people getting rewarded while your efforts are going unnoticed, it's easy to get bummed out. Try to focus and remind yourself of your own achievements. You might not be getting recognized for your achievements right now, but eventually other's may take notice.
  • Remember:



This has become my mantra. 
Don't let other people dictate whether you're happy or not. If you're truly unhappy right now, make a plan to change it (of course, if you're unable to come up with a plan on your own, you can always seek professional assistance).

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