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Do you remember the last time you dared to dream big? For many of us, it goes all the way back to childhood.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question every child is asked nearly from the time they can talk. Until I was nearly out of elementary school, my answer was always, “Live in a big house with lots of animals.” Invariably I got a smile and a kind and encouraging word…no one judges the dreams of children.
By the time I reached my teen years my sweeping passion was horses, and I still fantasized about a future filled with animals (I alternated between wanting to be a vet and wanting to ride in the Olympics). I believed in those dreams with my whole heart, but now I was starting to get some less than positive feedback (my parents called it “being realistic”).
Soon after I was out of school (having traded my pre-vet major for accounting), I set aside my passion for horses (just for awhile, I told myself) to start a family. Over the next two decades, I did the “responsible” thing and worked hard to provide for my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret for one second pouring myself into my family 100%!
But…one day I looked around and somehow found myself solidly in middle age, and it had been more than 25 years since I had ridden a horse. My inner teenager was mortified, disappointed, and full of regret.
Does this sound familiar?
If you’re like me and many others, life happened to you too, and you woke up one day with dreams long buried, dreams that were only meant to be temporarily shelved. Maybe you have accumulated a list of “someday” dreams. Maybe, you have even forgotten how to dream big.
Well, today we are going to channel your inner child and do some serious dreaming! It’s not too late to chase – and catch – your wildest dreams, no matter what your current circumstances are.
First, some rules:
NO JUDGEMENT – your inner critic is not invited to this party
SET ASIDE FEAR & REGRET – they are also not welcome
SUSPEND LIMITATIONS – not is not the time to worry about the “how”
Download this worksheet to help you with the exercises
Ready? Here we go.
1. let’s brainstorm (or, as i call it, “dreamstorm”)
First, make a list of all the things you can think of that you want to be, do, or have. Don’t censor yourself! Imagine you have everything you need to make all of your dreams come true – all the time, money, and resources in the world. Just start writing and see what comes out.
Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how big, small, or seemingly impossible.
Still stuck? I get it! As moms, we have made careers out of putting others first. Sometimes when we have stifled our dreams for a long time, it can be difficult to get started. Here are some prompts to help “prime the pump.”
- What did you love doing as a child?
- Where would you like to travel?
- What have you always wanted to learn to do?
- Who have you always wanted to meet?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- Is there a career that has always fascinated you?
- Do you want to start a business?
- How would you like to give back?
- Are you satisfied with your health and fitness?
- Are there ways you would like to challenge yourself?
- Need more inspiration? Check out Pinterest!
2. Set it aside
I guarantee that once you have opened the floodgates, your heart and soul will continue to feed your brain ideas while you go about your daily life. I call it “percolating.” Sometimes my best ideas come to me while I am in the shower or walking the dog!
Pay attention, and add things as they come up.
3. Review & edit
Now that you have a list of your wildest and most wonderful dreams, big and small, it is time to read over it and pay attention to your reactions.
Do these things resonate with you? Excite you? Inspire you? Do they align with your values? Most importantly, are these dreams YOUR DREAMS?
For years, I aspired to goals I thought I was supposed to aspire to. My list included far to many “shoulds.” Don’t let this happen to you – it will cause you a lot of stress and distress. There is no room for “shoulding” all over yourself here!
Cross off anything that isn’t authentically you.
Next, look at your list with a critical eye and decide if there are dreams that would require so many resources that pursuing them would interfere with other parts of your life or other important goals. Decide if there is another way to include them, or honor their importance and let them go with love.
Finally, make sure that each of the dreams you have listed are specific. For example, don’t say “I want to travel.” Say, “I want to visit each of the 50 states.”
4. put your list someplace special
I am a sticky note addict, but our dreams deserve something better, don’t you think?
- Write out your list, laminate it, and hang it somewhere you will see it often
- Find a beautiful journal to record your dreams and progress
- Blog about it!
- Create a word document or spreadsheet
- List them on a website, such as BucketList.org (as an added bonus, you will be able to give and receive encouragement from others chasing their dreams)
5. Look at it often
Keep your dreams front and center so you are constantly motivated to work toward them! I keep mine tucked inside my planner so I can review them every day.
Whether you are full of dreams and goals or you need a little help getting the ideas flowing, the exercise of writing them down is the first step toward making them happen!
What are some of your big dreams? You can see mine here. Share yours in the comments!