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How To Think And Act To Realize Your Dreams

How To Think And Act To Realize Your Dreams

The idea of pursuing our dreams can bring up either excitement or anguish in most of us. For a lot of us, those dreams we had as kids when it felt like we could do anything and be anyone, are long extinguished. Settling down in the humdrum of life has led us to give up on our true path to happiness.

That’s not to say the life you have now isn’t making you happy but should you settle for just okay? Perhaps you went the safe route with your job – after all you have a family to support; you can’t go chasing after frivolous dreams. Your parents wouldn’t support you to start the career that you felt so passionate about so you went and got the safe job that does nothing for you? Perhaps you’ve hit a time in your life where you start to re-evaluate your path and what truly makes you happy but you’re not quite sure what to do or where to begin?

For many people realizing their dreams is hard because both mindset and action can be difficult to put into motion. We’ve lived so long not pursuing our dreams so from our comfort zones we look out and see a world of fear, rejection, failure and what ifs. If you feel this is you – you’re longing to pursue your passions and realize your dreams, then this can be achieved with a change in mindset and a good strategy. Follow these steps to get the wheels in motion and pursue those long-forgotten dreams.

1. Adjust Your Mindset to Realize Your Dreams

This is probably the number one inhibitor of dreams – the mindset. Whatever your mindset is tuned to will determine whether or not you can achieve your dreams. It determines how you think and behave and ultimately how successful you will be. There are many negative mindsets that we develop over time and stick with us either out of fear or lack of understanding. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, then it’s time to change your way of thinking.

  • Believing you can’t achieve your dream: The number one dream-squashing mindset. Falsely believing that your dreams are out of reach is usually a product of low self-esteem and fear manifested as excuses. Realize that YOU CAN achieve your dream – you are no different to anyone else who has experienced achievement and courage to go after what they want in life.
  • Your dream is about validation rather than true happiness: Going after a dream that is all about you – recognition, getting rich or even famous – is a big no-no. This is showing your focus is all wrong and you are most likely pursuing a dream that is trying to heal deep-rooted issues. Find something that has a pure motivation behind it and don’t make it about others or status.
  • It won’t require much work or growth on your part: Realizing your dream can be an exciting prospect but it’s important to understand that it may take a lot of effort and growth both on the inside and the outside. Be prepared to fight for what you want and put yourself out there – don’t let fear get the better of you because most of the time fear is just an unjustified emotion based on ideas and past experiences that don’t hold water anymore.
  • Only see the opportunities directly related to your dream: Sometimes opportunities will present themselves but aren’t quite what we want or we feel they are beneath us and our dream. Saying no closes potential paths to exciting places; ones that will take you to realizing your dream. Be prepared to have a mindset that supports saying yes to all opportunities and stop limiting your potential.

2. Identify What Your Dreams Are

For many of us we have an idea of wanting to do something different with our lives but are unsure of exactly what it is. You may have found yourself unemployed and wanting to take this opportunity to finally go after your dream but don’t quite know what it is.

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Ask yourself this question: ideally, if you could choose any path and dream you wanted what would it be?

The key to this question is to relax, ask it to yourself without any pressure and see what comes up. Choose to trust your gut feelings and don’t dismiss anything as silly or unattainable – this is a true insight into what would make you truly happy and once your mindset is in check then you can start to believe that this could happen for you.

For me, when I asked myself this question, I couldn’t give any answers other than I wanted to do something creative. Once that was in my head I noticed more and more instances where writing came up and it planted the seed. I eventually realized I decided that becoming a writer was something I wanted to pursue.

3. Deal With Your Limiting Beliefs

Your limiting beliefs are the thoughts and ideas in your head that justify why you can’t achieve your dreams. They will usually manifest as “but I don’t have the financial security to just follow my dream”, “I’m too old now, there’s no point”, “I’ve never managed to achieve much in my life before so I can’t see how this is going to work out”.

These are damaging and usually come out of fear and lack of trust in yourself. When these come up, try and analyze why they are there. Are they real or are they just created out of fear? Many people who achieve their dreams have made a leap of faith quashing their pesky limiting beliefs – feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Try and find examples in your life or someone you admire to show you that these limiting beliefs aren’t actually true; there’s nothing standing in your way other than your own mind.

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And yes, I came up with ALL these when I first toyed with the idea of making a career out of writing so you aren’t alone!

4. Don’t Listen To Negativity or Opinions That Counteract Yours

There will always be people who will not support your dream – unfortunately this will be a lot more people than you wish it was. But understand that people have their own ideas and thoughts built on their own fears and ways of looking at things and this doesn’t mean they are right. If someone is being negative or unsupportive then accept this and remove yourself from speaking to them about your plans. Instead find people who are excited for you, supportive and believe you will succeed – this will help push you towards your dream and make it a reality.

I came across a lot of opinions and negativity about how I’ll struggle as a writer and it’s not financially secure – why would you want to choose that kind of life? But I chose not to listen to or read negative things – I set my sights on what I wanted to do and solidified my reasons for doing it in my own mind.

5. Don’t Bow To Social Pressures

In relation to the last point, so many of us live our lives due to societal ideas, beliefs and pressures. We live in a world saturated with messages about what we should do. The idea that you should have a safe and stable job and be married with children is a world-wide social pressure. We are made to believe that these things will bring us ultimate happiness but this isn’t the case for everyone. Chasing our dreams is often looked as as irresponsible but who gets the right to say that to you? If you want to pursue a career as a writer rather than sitting on a desk at a reception then you should have the right to do it no matter what people will think or say!

We often use the excuse to live a safe and comfortable life to justify dismissing our dreams. If you find yourself feeling unhappy and frustrated with your current life – that it’s being ruled by other people’s expectations then it’s time to take action.

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Having a career change in my 30s wasn’t exactly ideal according to society. Instead I should have been settled down, making the big money even if it’s in a boring job. But at the end of the day, it’s my life and this is your life – only you get to say what happens in it and realize your dreams.

6. Create A Plan Moving Forward

So you’ve sorted out your mindset, said no to the social pressures and naysayers and decided to take control of your life and realized you deserve to make yourself happy! Now is the time to come up with a plan. Take small steps and start with some research – find people who have done the same thing and look for potential ways to start the ball rolling.

When I realized I wanted to become a writer, I had no idea where to start or if it was truly possible but I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I looked around online and found stories and ideas that reinforced in my mind that this was achievable. I invested in a daily program that took me through the steps to set myself up as a freelancer and built up my confidence.

It’s really important to take small steps to get your mind around the idea that this is possible. Small, achievable steps = more confidence which will take you on your way to realizing your dream.

List any anticipated problems that could arise and how you will deal with, and overcome them. Having a good plan in place will quash any fears of the unknown and give you a sense of comfort.

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7. Don’t Give Up!!

It won’t always be easy (although with the right attitude and planning it can be) so if you come across hurdles, negative talk or opinions and general fears that will crop up from time to time (we are human after all!) then whatever you do don’t give up.

I’m still on my journey to becoming a writer and I still don’t even know where it’ll take me but I know I’m on the right path and following my dream. At the end of the day, life is about your own happiness so go and do what makes you happy.

There are many inspirational people out there who have managed to go out and grab their dreams. If you need any more motivation then check out 9 Famous People Who Will Inspire You To Never Give Up On Your Dreams.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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