By Joeel A. Rivera
Regardless of the road we have traveled and what we have achieved in our life, we all have dreams that we want to experience and accomplish. Or, at least we should because there are only two alternatives for every living thing: grow or die.
When we are growing we are looking to expand our own understanding, seek new experiences, contribute to others, or leave our legacy. When growth stops, we are stagnant—simply letting life pass us by and allowing our surroundings to define who we are and where we are going. I am a big believer that all of us have the power within ourselves to create whatever reality we want. I am also a big believer that one of our basic human needs is growth.
When we’re feeling in a slump—unmotivated and unproductive, there are two possible causes. We may have stopped striving to grow and expand. We may have settled for less than what we want and therefore gotten out of sync with our purpose. We then lose motivation because we have no momentum and no plan. What we truly want does not seem possible—and so we stop dreaming. At the same time, when what we want—our dreams—aren’t big enough, we lose motivation, stop taking action, and stop growing.
A simple shift in perspective and a few minutes spent considering what you truly want can turn your life around.
I challenge you to dream bigger, make a plan, and take action. Below I want to share with you 5 simple keys that will help you reconnect to your own expansion, remember your dreams, and go for them! Take out a piece of paper and actually take the 5 minutes or (or two hours, whatever works for you) and give yourself the gift inspiration.
What is your “Why”?
What is motivation? It’s having a motive, a driving force, a purpose, a meaning for what you want. Therefore, before you can truly create motivation that is sustainable you have to ask yourself an important question and that is, WHY? Why do you want what you want? Is that “why” big enough? Is it actually something that meets your core needs? By answering your “why” you will be clarifying the outcome you are truly looking for.
QUICK TIP: Forget the “to do” list that is full of busy work and instead focus your energy on the outcomes you are looking for. Instead of a list of tasks to check off, make a list of outcomes you want to achieve in that same time frame. Then, refer to it as a “ta-da” list rather than a “to-do” list.
Why is it important to fully understand your “why”? Here’s an example: I often hear people say they “want to make $10,000 a month,” to which I reply, “Why?” They respond with something like, “Because it will give me freedom and release my stress.” Oh, so your desired outcome is to develop a life of freedom and one that is stress-free. At least the person knows the outcome they want, but it’s still not quite clear. It can be liberating to look deeper into our reasons for wanting our outcomes. In this example, it may not take the money that they think it will to actually create it. At the same time, they may create that financial reality and, in the end, find themselves with less freedom (working all the time) and with more stress—not what they intended. The key here would be for the person to define what “freedom” and “stress-free” mean because that definition will further clarify his/her desired outcome.
Ask yourself this—can you think of ways the person could experience freedom and low stress in his/her current reality, perhaps by shifting perspective or actions? Now can you see why it’s so important to give your “whys” a closer look and to be as specific as possible regarding what your desired outcomes are? Whether your “why” is financial, relationship, or experience-based, take some time and come back to it until you feel satisfied that you have gotten as clear as possible.
Set goals towards your outcome.
I know it sounds simple enough, however most people never actually take the time to set goals. If you are not setting goals and moving toward something then what you have is “just a dream.” When you set your goals, make them attainable. I suggest making smaller goals first and larger goals because as you achieve the smaller ones they will give you the confidence to reach the larger ones. For example, if you want to start working out you may not be able to set a goal to work out an hour every day from the start. It may not be sustainable because it is too easy to create a million excuses not to do it. However, you can commit to doing five-to-ten minutes a day, which is much easier, and then build on that. It is important to start small since the hardest part of life is taking that first step.
Make it visible.
You want to put your list of outcomes (affirmations, dreams, “whys”) somewhere that forces you to look at them every day. This is important because it helps keep them fresh in your conscious and unconscious mind. It will also be more powerful if you can read your outcomes daily, especially at the beginning of the change process. Write it as if it is alreadyreality. For example “I am experiencing ……. in my life.”
Develop a support system.
Let’s face it, sometimes the people around us may not be the best support system. Ask yourself, who can I ask to be my accountability partner? Who can be that person who asks me what I have done today to get the outcomes that I want? Studies show that when we develop a support system, specifically an accountability partner, our ability to achieve is much higher. At the same time, keep your distance from those who discourage you, distract you, or hold you back. At the minimum, don’t discuss your dreams with them. You become who you surround yourself with—choose wisely.
Life is never about the final outcome. We may think that it is, but once we have achieved that outcome we will look for others—it’s human nature. Therefore, embrace the journey. In other words, every time you reach a goal or milestone, celebrate it. Develop a reward system. For example, if you want to have a thriving coaching business and you get your first paying client, take part of what you made and spend it on a celebration. What this does is that it reinforces in your mind that what you have done to get there has a purpose and that you are moving in the right direction.
Do not be afraid to pat in yourself on the back because that is what is going to sustain you. In fact, take a minute and think of what you have overcome or achieved in your life and the areas and times in your life that you can say, “I did it!” Then, pat yourself on the back—you deserve it. And, remember that whatever outcome you want to create in your life can be achieved if you have clarity and continue to grow in that direction.
Joeel A Rivera, M.Ed., is a visionary, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. From an early age, Joeel faced adversity, including immigrating to the United States, failing his freshman year of college, losing his brother, and being in a nearly fatal car accident. These experiences inspired him to return to college, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Education and is currently completing his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Psychology, with an emphasis on happiness. Joeel opened a non-profit teen center in honor of his brother and developed curriculums for the Juvenile Justice System. In almost a decade, Joeel has reached over ten thousand people as an educator, entrepreneur, speaker, and consultant. Visit www.joeelandnatalie.com.