“One day, I’ll quit and start my own company and be my own boss. It will be amazing.”
“One day, I’ll get around to cleaning out this house and start the renovations.”
“One day, I’ll get around to trying to sell the stuff I make on Etsy.”
“One day, I’m going to hike the entire Appalachian trail.”
“One day, I’ll actually get to see Paris in person.”
“One day ——“
What is your “one day” dream? Sure, you might have a whole bunch of them. I certainly do.
But what is the one that you’ve been dreaming the longest and the hardest? The one that won’t go away and leaves you sighing wistfully in more retrospective moments? The one that doesn’t even make it to your New Year’s Resolution list because, let’s be realistic for a moment: We know I’m not going to stick with going to the gym regularly, much less actually doing that “one day” thing.
Stop being realistic. Because you aren’t – you are putting limitations on yourself, or choosing to make other things your priorities.
Now before we get into this, let me make one thing clear: I’m talking about real, achievable dreams that seem to be just outside of our comfort zones, or just outside of our wallet’s ability to pay for them. I am not talking about dreams of becoming the next NBA superstar while you are in middle school, or about becoming the next leading lady of Hollywood when you’ve never even attempted to break into the business. That is an issue I’ll address on another Thursday. Hmm, maybe next week. But not right now.
I’m talking about the “one day” dreams that any one of us could accomplish if we really wanted it badly enough.
I wanted to blog. I tried it out a few times, and it just didn’t stick. I got bored. I hated my blog design. I didn’t feel like I could pay for everything it entailed. I wasn’t consistent. So I quit. Although the Norseman encouraged me to not give up, but to wait until the right time.
Can I say something? Knowing the difference between waiting for the right time, and waiting for the impossible is crucial. I was neck deep in a demanding undergrad degree, still traveling regularly for work, and soon after I met and fell for the Norseman, planning a wedding and a cross-country move. So yes, I was stressed and had way too much on my plate to be running a blog by the seat of my pants. So I waited.
Then we were married, and kinda settled in a new home, and I was back in school at a new college on that same crazy schedule – and a baby came into the picture. And that baby brought along some terrible morning sickness. Heard of Hyperemesis Gravidarum? I dropped out of school. And I don’t regret that for a moment. Because I would be in bed all day, unable to move, even on medication. That sickness is no joke. It forced me to slow way, way down and reevaluate life, priorities – everything. And I realized that it was time to start a blog, now, while I had unlimited time to read and research and prepare. Here’s what I learned along the way.
1. You Make Time for the Most Important Things
Saying “yes” to one commitment or opportunity means saying “no” to another one. I was saying “yes” to an undergrad degree, which meant saying “no” to the blog. It wasn’t a wrong decision. It was the right one for that point in my life. Now, saying “no” to the degree for a time has allowed me to say “yes” to the blog. It is your choice, what you choose to say “yes” to. If you feel like you have too much pressure to say “yes” to things you don’t want to, then try reading Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. It has helped me immensely in my boundary setting.
Take some time, over the next few weeks, to examine your priorities and where you are headed. Be sure you are saying “yes” only to the most important things. Does your “one day” need to become a most important thing?
2. Once You Say “Yes” to Your One Day, Commit
As I started planning for blog launch, it was the lazy side of me that wanted to quit and not bother with it. It was going to take up a lot of time, which had previously been used for other things. But I had made it a priority. It was time to commit. I had to act like the grown adult that I am and say, “no” to laziness. I told my husband about my decision so that I was held accountable. Tell someone, and have them hold you to it.
3. Don’t Jump in Right Away
Once you commit to your “one day,” begin whatever research is needed to do it the right way, the first time. Read articles. Read books. Take a class or two. Practice the necessary skills. Invest ahead of time in the tools needed to do it well. I had an opportunity to take a blogging class and get free web hosting for a year for less than $1. I took that opportunity, and began collecting other resources, reading, taking notes, and planning. I paid for a good blog design that I liked. I invested in my “one day.” And I waited almost three months to actually launch the blog, ensuring everything was properly in place. I didn’t wait until everything was perfect, but until it was ready enough.
4. Don’t Get Caught Up in the Impossibilities
The Appalachian Trail is really, really long. You don’t have the kind of life that allows you to take off for eight months to go hike the whole thing. So don’t. Hike it one bit at a time. Get the basic camping supplies you need, a piece at a time if it’s too expensive to do all in one go. Wait until you have it all together to set out on the first leg of the trail.
The same goes for Paris. Save up your vacation days. Start a “Paris Fund.” Maybe give up something else temporarily so that you can save if you don’t have a huge income. Look for deals. Arrange for someone to watch the kids. Look for unconventional ways to get there. But make a plan. And make it happen.
5. Don’t Force it to Happen
Maybe now isn’t the best time to start executing a plan. Maybe your aunt just died, or there is no one you’d trust to watch the kids, or you’re working three jobs just to get by. So don’t put any deadlines on your plan just yet. But do start to plan. Start to look for some networking opportunities if your support network is tiny or nonexistent. Start learning about what your dream will take. And start deciding what one tiny step you can take, today, to move that much closer to your dream becoming a reality. Try adapting this goal-setting method to your dream, and see what happens when you stop dreaming and start acting.
6. Don’t Give In to Fear
I was afraid. Afraid no one would read my blog. Afraid that people I know would read it, and laugh at me. Afraid that someone would find out that I’m just a wife at home with a dog and a cat and say “What do you know?” Afraid that we’d put money into something that was just going to fail. I talked my fears out with my husband. He is so encouraging. He reminded me of why I wanted to fulfill this dream. And he said, “So what if it fails?”
If you are afraid of what might happen when you start fulfilling your dream, get an encouraging mentor or partner or friend. Someone who believes in you and won’t mock or criticize you for daring to dream – but who will be realistic and keep your feet planted on the ground when you try to get too far ahead of yourself! And look that fear in the face, and punch it to the ground. You can do this.