Consider your life to date: Could you have done more for your family, your community, your business or yourself? Would your life be more fulfilling if you had dared to change jobs, start your own company or pursue a new passion?
I’m reminded of the lyrics from Asaf Avidan’s 2014 hit, the Reckoning Song: ‘One day baby, we’ll be old, and think about the stories that we could have told’. The message is clear: Are you wasting your life while the days and months tick away?
The new year is traditionally a time when we say goodbye to the past, forget the goals we didn’t see through, and create a new list for a new year. But are we really starting on a clean slate, and why will this year be any different from the last? You only have so much time to achieve what you want in this life, so what’s holding you back?
If you’re like most of us, each year you add more goals to your bucket list than you tick off. And so the list gets longer and longer while we wait for the right moment to reach our dreams – a moment that never comes.
How many near misses are in your vocabulary? ‘I almost started that business’; ‘I almost went sky-diving’; ‘I almost hit target.’
The Power Of Almost
Almost all of us have had individual moments when we actually went through with a task we had been postponing. Most often those experiences were nowhere near as daunting as you imagined; some were even fulfilling and brought with them great rewards.
So why don’t we start? There are three major obstacles that hold us back from pursuing our goals.
There are the fears of rejection, the unknown and failure. We envy people who are courageous and believe that they have no fear. This is not true. Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s acting in spite of fear.
Self-doubt causes us to think damaging thoughts like, ‘Who do I think I am to do this?’and ‘I don’t have the skills or relationships to get this done.’
Self-doubt starts small and grows over time. The longer we entertain these thoughts, the more we believe them and so they become our reality.
The third obstacle is thinking about how others are going to judge us. We think of how a behaviour will be judged by the people surrounding us. If we believe they won’t like it, we won’t do it.
Have you ever heard the quote that, ‘we buy the things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like’? It’s human nature to pay attention to the impact of our behaviour on our relationships. But we should still always do what we believe to be right.
Reaching your dreams
Here are three tips on how to be more deliberate in your use of time and pursuit of goals:
1. Accept your fears
If you fight against them, they will win. If you use them, you will win. Ask yourself what the fear is trying to make you aware of. If the fear wants to protect you from making a very dangerous move, maybe take smaller steps. Courageous people also experience fear. The difference is that they have learnt how to manage it. You can do the same.
2. If you doubt yourself, ask yourself ‘what is the worst thing that can happen if I do it now’?
If the answer is a list of terrible things, make a second list planning how you can eliminate those challenges. Work on it until you are sure that nothing bad can happen.
Most thoughts about what other people think about you are invalid, because most people don’t spend all their time thinking about you.
They’re too busy thinking about what you think of them. If you have a real concern about someone who is important to you, then don’t just think about it. Go to that person and discuss what you have in mind. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive response to your proactive handling of the situation.
Don’t waste another year waiting for the next year to come. You don’t complete a marathon by running a marathon. You complete it by running one step at a time and not stopping until you have reached your goal. Use your talents, dreams, hopes and skills to make your life a life well-lived. Start now.