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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 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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