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Goals

How to Overcome Fear and Follow Your Dreams

Recently, I went bungee jumping for the first time off of a 160-foot bridge (I like to go extreme or not at all) and I convinced my little sister to join me. As the older sister, I went first. Of course, the jump was scary, it is a massive bridge. But she was watching me. I knew that if I hesitated she would see it and it might affect her confidence jumping after me. I had to look over the ledge, take a deep breath and jump. It was amazing. However, I had to take a moment to face my own fear in order to instill confidence in someone else. We often praise those who overcome their fears and achieve great things. In facing your own fears, you may become an inspiration to others. You will not only achieve your own dreams; you will help others achieve theirs. Overcome fear and follow your dreams.

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Fear is a fickle friend. It can both motivate but also paralyze. Everyone feels fear, even the bravest people have been afraid at some point. Working past that fear to face a challenge can be so liberating. What fears are limiting you? What is making you afraid?

I had a fear of starting this blog. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough or that I wouldn’t have anything interesting and new to say. But I’ve been working past that fear to try something new.

Sometimes, taking the full plunge all at once might be too scary. Necessary for bungee jumping but not always necessary for other areas of life. If this is the case and fully jumping into something all at once is too much then take it in smaller steps.

A common treatment for phobias is exposure-based therapy. This is essentially, gradual exposure to the feared object. While a phobia is an irrational, extreme fear of something, this concept of gradual exposure can be utilized in coping with other fears as well. If jumping all in at once feels too unattainable for you then try breaking down your fear into smaller pieces and slowly build your way up to overcoming it.

In my blog example, it took me forever to actually start it. I slowly brainstormed my concept and researched and researched. I bought my web address but did nothing with it. Then I designed my site but didn’t make it public. But eventually you do just have to take the plunge. Accept the fear, acknowledge the feeling, and do it anyway. 

When I planned my recent trip to Spain I often found myself being asked about how I feel going to Europe with all of the terrorism happening. This frustrated me because I’m not going to change my life based on the idea that something might happen. I can’t stay home and live my life in fear. The city in which I live in has a mall that was called out as a possible attack site. I’m just as at risk at home as I am there. Letting fear take over can prevent you from having incredible opportunities.  Please, don’t let fear of what could go wrong stop you from following a dream (That being said, if there is a true and actual risk to your safety then don’t do it).

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Ways to Tackle Fear:

  1. Accept the feeling. It is okay that it scares you.
  2. Explore the fear. What is causing you to feel afraid? Truly. Be open and honest with yourself. Brainstorm what the possible causes might be. Figure out where this fear is coming from. If you don’t know the true reason why you’re feeling afraid then you can’t truly address it and change it. If the fear is that you won’t be successful in your endeavor, then know that any step in the direction of your dreams is a learning experience. It’s possible that you might not be successful by your standards but you learned something along the way that will make your next endeavor more successful.
  3. Face the fear. Whether it’s in small increments or all at once. Face the fear. You have to take that plunge. Trust me, it feels amazing.
  4. Live Your Dreams.

Please join me in the comments with some of your fears and how you have overcome them!

 

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Stop the Excuses. Start Life Now.

Don’t let excuses stop you from living a life in which you thrive.

If you are waiting for the opportune moment to create a life you love then you will die miserable or unfulfilled. Too often I hear twenty-somethings make excuses for not carving out their lives on their own terms. They vary from reasons such as student loans, uncertainties about what to do, or prioritizing a relationship over themselves. And this is just some of the excuses I’ve heard. This is not okay! Start life now.

You are the most important person in your life and you need to treat yourself as such. One of the ways to value you is to drop the excuses.

Start Life Now!

The opportune moment will never occur because there will always be something standing in your way. A life in which you thrive, starts when you stop letting excuses run your life. Even the smallest step towards your goals is still a step in the right direction. Start life now!

Identify your excuses or barriers.

Definitely student loans or any sort of debt can be a barrier to pursuing dreams. Trust me, this is often one of my excuses or barriers. There are times when I lament that my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my schooling. However, at the end of the day, I’m glad it’s on me because now I have to work that much harder. If it is debt/money that is holding you back then what steps can you take to get out of debt or save money? If your dreams include travelling or buying a home, try carving out the absolute minimum you can afford to save a month and put it aside. It could even be $20. The progress will be slow but once it gets rolling it can feel so good which may motivate you.

When it comes to paying off my debt, I often feel like I am staring at an insurmountable hole that I can’t climb out of. But I can get a second job and put that income towards paying off my debt. I could also reduce my spending. I know that I can do it if I stop looking at the whole picture and cheering for my small progresses (like not buying that really cute top).

What are some small steps you can take to overcome those excuses?

Sure, not knowing what you want to do is valid. But, if you keep saying that you don’t know what you want to do without experimenting or trying different things then you will stay stagnate. There are ways to explore options for yourself. One of my favourite is volunteering. Volunteer positions are often a small time commitment, in many cases add back to the community, and provide you with a way of exploring interests (volunteering is also a great way of building a resume to help with finding a job). With volunteering, it is okay to change your mind after a few months if you realize it wasn’t for you. After all, it was your free time.

Or if volunteering isn’t for you, which is fair, many universities offer both online or in person open studies. This would allow you to take a few courses without fully committing to a degree. Later, if you did find a passion, these credits could count towards a degree. If there’s something else you’ve always wanted to do, find a small way to try it out. Start life now!

Often, I find myself expecting an “Aha” moment of clarity for what my next direction will be. The trouble with this is “Aha” moments don’t always just happen organically. A lot of that clarity comes from experimentation or placing yourself in the conditions to create that “Aha.” If I have been doing the same thing for months or even years without gaining clarity, then maybe it is time for change.

What are some small steps you could take towards discovering what you want to do?

The only thing that I can say about relationships or significant others is that those people need to be supportive of you. If your significant other isn’t supporting a decision to take some time to explore what would make you thrive in life, then is this really the person that you want to spend that life with? For anyone that has been on an airplane, at the beginning of a flight they always talk about what will happen if cabin pressure drops. Air masks will descend but make sure to put your own on before helping anyone else or you may have two people down. The same goes for life. You can’t be the best support or the best help for the people you care about if you aren’t prioritizing yourself. And you aren’t prioritizing yourself if you aren’t pursuing your goals. Start life now! I know how much I’ve said it in this post but I really want the message to stick with you! Start living for you!

 Please join me in the comments with some of your barriers and brainstorm some of the small steps you could take to surmount them?

Start where you are. But you have to start life now.

How To Create a Bucket List

Almost anyone that I have ever encountered has had some sort of list of things they hope to do “Someday” or “Before I die.” These are most commonly known as a bucket list. Some people, such as myself, choose to write out a bullet point list of these goals. I even go as far to try adding date of completion to mine. Other people do not write down their goals and they float through the realm of their mind lost forever. I’ve always found that writing down my goals or things to do, makes them more tangible. Writing down goals allows you to clearly see what it is that you want to accomplish.

However, simply making an effort to write down your goals is not enough. Recently, I found an old “Life List” that I made as a teenager but hadn’t seen in years. Looking back on it seven years later I did see that I had managed to accomplish quite a few things that I set out to do. This is awesome but there are also many items on this list that are exceptionally unclear and therefore will never be completed.

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Some unachievable goals.

Sure, delving into my personal psychology or breaking my destructive patterns were noble wishes of an 18 year old. However, how will I know when I’ve completed them? If you want to be able to complete a bucket list the items you add must be tangible and have clear outcomes. Make the items on your list actionable items. “Go to the Grand Canyon” I did that, I know when I did that, I can cross that off. You could even go as far to have multi-part items: Learn to Scuba Dive, Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef, Scuba Dive in Belize, etc, But all items must be clearly actionable and have a clear end point. There is no point if having a bucket list that you cannot complete!

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When the item has clear end goal it is much easier to say you’ve done it.

Give yourself some timelines. A great human error is always thinking that we have more time. Oh, I’ll get to bungee jumping some day. Sure, I’ve always wanted to white water raft but I just don’t have time right now. Thinking you have more time and making excuses will prevent you from ever completing your bucket list. Try choosing 1-3 items a year that you will complete. You can make the time to do three things a year that you have always wanted to do. Even just completing one is a big step towards living the life you want. I will be transcribing my list into my Filofax so that it is always with me.

It is perfectly okay if your goals change over time. Rewrite them so that they fit your new life trajectory or simply remove them. People change over time and our ideas or lifestyles change. For example, I see that at one point I wished to get married. I no longer find this to be important. Sure, I want a partner someday but I don’t find the formality of marriage to matter so much. If five years down the road you see an item that you no longer care to do then change it up.

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Many of my Bucket List items are travel related but not all of them have to be.

Five Easy Steps for Creating a Bucket List:

  1. Actually take the time to write the items down. Better yet, make them fancy, a list that you can be proud of or write them down in their own special notebook. Your dreams and goals are important.
  2. Make them tangible, actionable items. How will you know when you have completed them?
  3. Give yourself some timelines. For example, I want to learn how to scuba dive by 2018. I want to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef by 2020.
  4. Revel in the feeling of success or happiness when you have achieved something that you have always wanted to do. You are amazing! Look at what you have accomplished! This will motivate you to keep going.
  5. Adapt your goals to your current life. Desires can change but never lose focus on doing what is best for you.

 

Side Note: Many of the ideas in this post are also translatable to lists and goals outside of bucket lists.

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