Four Ways to Get Started on your Dreams
January 12, 2020
The most common question I get asked is, “How do you do it?” How do you have two kids, a full-time job, a husband, a house, and find time to write and publish books? The answer is, I make the time. It’s really easy for us all to look at our lives and determine we’re too busy to do something. We can all make that excuse. Especially moms. I did too, for a long time.
Then I got frustrated. I was frustrated chasing this dream that felt like it was too far away to be a reality, but I wanted it really badly. I was frustrated because I was just going through the motions, I wasn’t on track to accomplish any kind of personal goal. I craved knowledge and satisfaction of finishing something. I wanted to tell people stories.
Time will always be precious. We have so little of it throughout the day to accomplish anything aside from our day-to-day tasks. But it can be done.
So, how do you get started?
Make a goal, no matter how small
I always thought of goals as these things people who worked out and ate really healthy set into motion. Lose 10 pounds. Eat more vegetables. Stuff like that. I honestly hadn’t realized the value of establishing personal goals that had to do with stuff I cared about - not just what I saw out there on social media.
Making your goal (and yourself) a priority is necessary, even if it feels impossible. I believe this more so for anyone who is a parent. Kids are unbelievably wonderful, but what I found was after giving so much of myself to them, I kind of lost sight of myself. Having a personal goal helped me keep a firm grip on what I eventually wanted to accomplish.
When I first started writing, I started with a really small goal. Write one page of my story a week. I had a newborn baby and a toddler and I knew if I wanted to stick with something, I had to start small. It worked. I started writing more and more and even found people who wanted to read my stuff. It was incredible.
Once I was in the habit of writing weekly, I went bigger. 30 minutes of writing every other day. From there, I formed a habit of writing every single day. (DISCLAIMER: I do try to write every day, but I don’t kill myself to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Life gets in the way. The most important thing you can do is not beat yourself up.)
Be cool with failure
You are not always going to accomplish your goals, and that’s cool. Seriously. There’s no shame in not achieving something you set out to do. There can be a million different reasons for it. The most important thing to take away from failure is to learn from it. Set yourself up differently next time. Figure out what went wrong and try to fix it.
You don’t grow unless you mess up. You don’t get better at anything unless you put yourself out there or get uncomfortable. You are never, ever, ever going to please everyone. Getting that idea out of my head was one of the best things I ever did. Not everyone was going to like my writing. Okay. Was it the end of the world? Nope. The readers that don’t like my writing just aren’t my readers. And that’s perfectly fine! The world would be a pretty boring place if everyone liked the same exact thing.
Talk about your goals
Sharing personal goals can be really scary. You might think people won’t care about them. Or people are too busy to bother hearing about your ambitions. Or whatever silly excuse you can come up with. Don’t worry, I came up with them all.
Over the course of my journey, I finally opened up. First to my husband and my family about what I wanted to do. Then, I found a wonderful community of other writers whom I shared my hopes and dreams with.
One thing I should mention is that not everyone was supportive. It surprised me that people I considered close friends didn’t take me seriously or insinuated it wasn’t possible. What I came to find out was that attitude often stemmed from others feeling uncomfortable with how far away they were from whatever dreams they had. It also made me reevaluate some relationships I’d been holding onto that I needed to let go.
Talking about your goals makes them real. It makes you accountable for something. And more often than not, it will give you a nice boost of confidence.
Allow yourself to brag
So you have a goal. You do a bunch of things to accomplish said goal. Then, you achieve it.
It’s monumental for you. Maybe you have an internal celebration. Maybe you do a little dance around your room or something. But if you’re anything like me, it feels really wrong to brag about it to anyone else. Maybe you’re not like me and you really want to brag. By all means, do it. Brag away. You should! You accomplished something and that, my friends, is awesome.
If you’re apprehensive about it, you probably need to ease into bragging. My husband wanted to throw me a party when I released my first book. I shut that down quickly because it made me uncomfortable. But, I did brag about it on social media and to the friends I knew were supportive. The response was overwhelming! It helped reassure me that this writing thing was something I should keep doing.
When I first started making goals, however, I was less vocal about them. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband. I just kept these accomplishments to myself which made them feel less monumental and sometimes pretty lame. Once I started talking about my accomplishments, however, I started to feel better. New goals started to feel even more achievable. My excitement rose, and I became less apprehensive about bragging.
Goals are rad. Make them. They might feel really small at first but that’s okay. Everyone has to start somewhere.