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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Start Taking Action on Your Goals and Dreams Now

How to Start Taking Action on Your Goals and Dreams Now

I’m going to tell you the secrets on how to start taking action on your dreams. When you decide to turn thoughts into action, there are specific, actionable steps you can take to move forward.

The first thing I want you to do is think back to when you were a child. Our childhood selves hold many of the secrets to realizing our real life dreams. Think about what you loved to do most and how you told yourself it was possible without worrying about what might get in the way. I’d like you to reconnect to your imagination and playfulness.

By taking the following steps, you’ll do some playing and storytelling to reveal your dreams and start making them come true.

1. Tell Your Story

Your life story is unique and has brought you here today. The next chapter of your life is in your power to write and to realize by taking action. Not everything that happens to you is in your control[1], but the actions you take and how you choose to feel about what happens are in your control.

Finding out what our future lives and dream lives might look like can be done effectively through the eyes of our childhood selves.

Can you remember what you loved to do most as a child? Maybe you enjoyed collecting things like me–I always had a collection of pebbles in a carrier bag that smelled of seawater nestled under my bed. Perhaps you loved taking care of your pets: I had a dog, a tortoise, and many guinea pigs. Or maybe you were really great at making stuff.

You can use the instincts, passions, and skills you had as a child to fuel your progress toward your adult dreams.

I’m inviting you to really think about what you wanted to be when you grew up[2] and the memorable activities you enjoyed as a child, the ones that gave you a real sense of freedom and excitement, or the pursuits that you truly lost yourself in.

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What we call getting into our flow state[3] as an adult is what came naturally to us as children. So, go back there now and think about how that felt. It may clue you in to what still remains true and important to you today.

2. Define Your Dream

The first secret when you want to start taking action on your dreams is to know what they are. This sounds obvious, but so many people only have a loose definition, such as: “more free time,” or “more money.” Busy people know there is something else to life apart from slaving away for a job, or a boss they don’t like, but if you’re too busy to even know what your dream looks like, how can you make it come true?

Once again, I’d invite you to connect to the optimism and playfulness of your childhood self. Go back to thinking about what your dreams involved at age seven or eight. Some of those may still be what you want today.

Now, write down what it is that you want and when you want to achieve it. Note down how you’ll know when you’ve got there and made this dream come true. How will you measure your success? Be as specific about your goals as you can.

A study at the Dominican University in California[4] proved that writing down your goals, accountability, and commitment are three key ingredients to successfully achieving our goals and learning how to take action.

This step also involves building motivation for the steps to come. If you need help in that area, check out Lifehack’s free Ultimate Worksheet for an Instant Motivation Boost.

3. Picture Your Dream Coming True

Think about exactly how it will feel when you start taking action and ultimately achieve your dream, the sense of freedom and excitement. Imagine it in as much detail as you can with all five senses. If you’re finding it hard to imagine a different life, imagine a childhood memory with all its sensations.

As a little girl, I loved to ice-skate, making huge swirly patterns across clean expanses of beautiful glistening ice. The feeling of freedom, of trust in myself to balance, of speed. It felt very immersive, the coldness and my breath turning into little clouds in front of my face.

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Imagine a childhood memory like this, and then imagine the future you want, with as much detail and attention paid to how it looks, feels, tastes, smells, and sounds.

Draw, paint, speak, or write your future story.

If you loved to create pictures like I did as a child, or write stories, or play on the computer, use your natural creative skills and what you love doing to map out your exciting future. You could create a picture, vision board, written story, or audio file.

Then, let’s put that future story somewhere you can easily access it. Make sure that you include a timescale for when you want to achieve this dream by, how you will measure your success, and what you need to get there. If possible, start breaking your dream down into small, manageable steps.

4. What Part Do You Play?

You can’t control everything, so you need to be realistic about your role in taking action and making your future dreams come true. Think about where you need help. During childhood, we were not afraid to ask for help from a parent, friend, or sibling to realize our dreams and plans.

Whatever we needed, our eager and enthusiastic childhood selves would reach out for support. We’d be resourceful with whatever we had to make our creative ideas a reality.

As adults we also need to ask for support and help, and at the same time to notice what is in our control and what we can do to take action today towards our dreams.

5. Who Can Support You?

If you’ve noticed you need a bit of help, then get your tribe together. Which friends can cheer you on, and which can connect you? Who in your family will indulge in your dreams with you? What about the pragmatic ones who might help you work out what you need to get there?

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Whether you need someone to check in on you and see how you’re progressing, or need a buddy to brainstorm with to help the ideas flow, bring a few of your friends into the plan to help you move forward. Successful people know that the habit of taking action is best built with help.

6. Ensure Your Dream Is Realistic

Maybe the dream you’ve outlined just feels impossible. It costs too much or will take too much time to achieve. Instead of telling yourself “no, but,” try the “yes, and” approach. This is much more representative of how a child’s mind works.

When we were little, we weren’t scared to fail, as failing was not a concept to us back then. Let’s harness some of that kid energy and see how “yes, and” can move us forward when our dream feels unrealistic.

Let’s look at an example: maybe your dream is to have a hit record, and you think you can’t sing, or you don’t believe you have any musical talent. Instead of closing that down, if we “yes, and” it, we can say: “I want to have a hit record. Yes, and there are so many ways to achieve that. Some people have a hit record by working for a music business, and others might design the cover art. Some people speak on records instead of singing… yes, and someone has to write the lyrics or have the idea for the song. Yes, and I know someone who organizes a choir every Christmas at their local bar, and everyone in the bar is on the record. That amateur choir even got on TV as it was so much fun and all the money went to charity.”

So, before you decide your idea is unrealistic, try “yes, and-ing” it to see how you can start taking action on your dreams, even if you think it sounds impossible!

7. Use Small Wins and Rewards

On your journey toward achieving your dream, there will be small wins and important milestones; it’s not just about going straight to the destination. Measuring your progress is important and can be a chance to celebrate.

Finding a way to measure it that is visible can really help. Whether it’s a chart or an app, whatever you choose, following and celebrating your progress is key, and celebrating that win is part of the joy. Being in the process and on the journey is just as important as reaching your target. Celebrate with the happiness of a small child: do a dance, take a photo, tell your friends.

8. Update the Map

You might find the plan you made isn’t working for some reason. Things have changed, and your goals and targets are not working out for you . Let’s look at how you can change things up and put new life and energy into the project.

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Take it apart and put it back together again, but start small. Define the new plan and the new goals, and start on the next phase of the journey, equipped with the knowledge and learning from what didn’t work last time you tried to put your thoughts into action.

9. Make Space

Achieving our dreams might mean losing something else, and that’s ok. It could be a literal swap, such as giving up wine to save money towards the goal. Or it could be something more ideological, like giving up saying yes to everything to make more time to focus on your pursuits. Think about what you can give up to make space for taking action on your dreams.

10. Use Your Superpower

What’s your superpower? Use this to take action on your dreams today! Perhaps you’re awesome at using your network to find solutions to problems. If that sounds like you, then consider picking up the phone and start asking for some ideas and connections.

If you prefer to research, get reading or watching TED talks and presentations to find practical ways to achieve your particular dream. Who else has overcome a similar problem? How did they do it? What can you borrow from what they learned, and what can you learn from how they won or lost along the way?

11. Keep Your Energy up

Remember to take a rest and recharge on the journey towards taking action on your dreams. Take breaks, eat and sleep well, exercise, and listen to and tune in to what your body and mind needs to thrive.

Final Thoughts

Achieving your dreams is unlikely to be an overnight task. It’s more likely to be a winding road with setbacks, lessons, obstacles, and new discoveries. It might take years, but every step, no matter how tiny, can be enjoyed, even the struggles. Maintaining a mindset around enjoying the journey will really equip you to thrive and see those ambitious dreams become a reality.

More to Get You to Take Action Towards Your Dreams

Featured photo credit: Tom Rogerson via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Lucy Gower

Founder at Lucidity. Coach, trainer and consultant as well as a best-selling author and international speaker.

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Last Updated on May 13, 2021

How to Move Forward After Achieving Goal Success

How to Move Forward After Achieving Goal Success

After achieving goal success, you will feel like you are on cloud nine. You have overcome a challenge in your life and, as a result, built a habit that will bring you to new heights.

It’s a wonderful feeling, but eventually, that dopamine-high from the success fades away. And like so many other people that have obtained success, they are left with a big question:

What should I do now that my goal has been achieved?

People are ambitious, but after successfully reaching a goal, people can lose themselves or slow down their momentum of growth. This part of the process is a problem that many individuals face at some point if they haven’t faced it already.

To help you on your way, here are some suggestions for what to do as soon as you achieve goal sucess and how to better proceed forward.

Moving Forward After Goal Success

When you first set yourself a large goal that you’re working towards, it’s easy for you to focus solely on that goal. There isn’t any kind of space at all to think about what you should be doing after you achieve goal success.

Fortunately, there is some basic information and lessons that can help you once you reach goal success and move forward in life. These are principles that millionaire Paul Scolardi has put into practice to great effect.[1]

Here is a breakdown of these principles:

Stay Humble

You might not be striving to become a millionaire like Scolardi. However, it’s still an important lesson to keep in mind. While you’ve made great progress with goal success, it’s important that you don’t underestimate what you left behind or look down on those who are in the same situation as you were.

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Growth is a fragile thing, and it can easily be replaced with bad habits that push you back into a worse situation.

Furthermore, acting cocky or arrogant about your achievements can push people away, whether that’s friends, family, or key supporters. That’s not good because growth often stems from sources beyond ourselves. Many millionaires have mentors to help guide them; athletes have coaches.

We don’t often hear about them in particular stories, but many people are involved in your growth in one way or another. Stay humble and recognize who those people are and acknowledge them.

Train Yourself to Set Bigger Goals

I’ll be expanding on this idea further below, but the idea is that once you achieve a goal you didn’t think you could achieve, you want to continue by setting an even larger goal.

You want to progressively set goals that you think are impossible to achieve after every successful leap in achievement.

For example, if you’ve achieved a high ranking position at your job as part of your goal success, an even bigger goal would be to build your own business in that particular industry.

You can learn more about setting big goals here:

Work Harder and Smarter

When working on your goals, maintaining confidence, positive thinking, and work are all needed for achievement. Naturally, if you’re taking on a larger endeavor, you’ll need to put more motivation, confidence, and work into that, too.It also pays to work smarter and reflect on your achievements. What helped you achieve this goal in the first place? What method or approach did you take to make all of this happen for you?

Many people lose their way because they let their goal success get to them, and they lose what got them into that lofty position in the first place. That stems from a lack of reflection, so make sure you look back to what helped you get to where you are right now.

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People also tend to get bogged down in procrastination, which makes achieving future goals more difficult. If this is a problem you often face, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

Ignore Critics

Haters and critics are all the same. Whenever you achieve something, there will always be people who will try to drag you down. It turns out that many people are jealous individuals and go as far as wishing that you would fail.

Part of the problem is that many people who haven’t worked toward goals expect goal success to be simple. Not only that, but we are often oblivious to the amount of work that’s needed to bring people to pinnacles of success.

Take Scolardi as an example. Unless he shares his particular story of how he became a millionaire, we don’t really know what he went through to get there. All we know is the tip of the iceberg—that he wasn’t a millionaire and now he is.

Even if your goal success is going to impact a small area, you’re still going to get haters or people who don’t believe in you. Successful people know it’s best to leave them be, as your success has nothing to do with how they are feeling.

What to Do After Goal Success

With these four principles in mind, you would want to apply these in your life moving forward. Better yet, apply these right now while you are still working towards your goals.

But what comes next after you have achieved success? After all, these principles are great, but not all of them will bring you that momentum you need in the aftermath of your success.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Set That Bigger Goal or Expand It

As I mentioned before, you want to be setting larger goals. The ambition of people is endless, and deep down you are always looking to achieve more. It sounds greedy, but striving for more doesn’t always have to be in the form of money or high achievements.

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You could reach out to more people and help them with their problems. Or maybe, you want to form a deeper connection with your family and friends. Perhaps you want to train for even better physical health and test it by participating in a triathlon.

Whatever the case may be, you want to set a larger goal than before. In many industries and aspects of your life, there is always room for some kind of expansion. Therefore, when you put your mind to it, you’ll find that there are also other ambitions that you have and other areas where you can pursue goal success.

Another way to look at this is to expand your original goal beyond where it was before. In some cases, there are natural progressions similar to how you want to set milestones that lead you to accomplish your goals.

For example, if you’re looking to lose weight, and you’ve hit your target, the next target would be to train your body in a specific way, such as training for a local marathon. You’re still striving for physical activity, but you’ll be training in a different way that your body isn’t used to.

2. Help Others Out

Another approach is along the same lines as staying humble. Instead of looking down at people, devote some of your energy to helping people out. Chances are you got involved in a community or group that helped you achieve your results in some way.

Since that group or community helped you, why not give back to them?

This isn’t necessarily progress, but it gives you the respite you need to figure out what you want to do next. All the while, this allows you to pass down and reinforce what you have learned.

Remember that your ideals are important, and they can shift if you stray from the path that brought you goal success in the first place. Helping out your community is a good idea to help you stay true to your morals and ideals and focused on your goals.

3. Look at Other Baskets

As the saying goes “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It’s a fitting phrase in our lives, as we all have many aspects (or baskets) to work on.Along the same lines as the first suggestion, perhaps some of you spent so much time building up one basket that you ignored another. In that case, why not look at other baskets and give them the attention that they need? Review your goals to see which areas of your life need more attention in the short term and long term.

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4. Practice Self-Reflection and Find Yourself

Take some time for yourself. Pause, self reflect, and aim to find yourself once more after this big step of success.

It makes sense that after goal success, you’ll want to move onto the next big thing, but it’s important you go back to yourself.

As mentioned above, there are many aspects of ourselves, and if we focus on one part of ourselves, we weaken the identity of something else. I learned this the hard way as I spent so much time at work that I neglected other areas of my life, like my health and family.

These aspects are part of my identity, and neglecting those for a time caused my life to crumble. All I had was my work. All of that changed when I took it upon myself to look at who I was and who I wanted to become and made active changes in my life to find myself again.

Final Thoughts

People want to think that success is easy to obtain and solves all of our problems, but that’s not often the case. With each success you achieve, there will be something else that will demand even more from you.

Of course, you are free to stay in your current position, but maintaining is important as well. By keeping all of this in mind, having these principles, and applying these practices, you can better prepare yourself for what’s to come.

More Tips on Achieving Goal Success

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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