I’m being quite serious. I’m about to make a case in point for not chasing your dreams.
There are a few points I’d like to make and I’ll start off with them, just in case you choose to depart for greener pastures after the second paragraph;
- Have dreams in your heart but live for today
- Living your best life does NOT mean what social media would have you believe
- Focus on habits not outcome
- Be human
Okay that’s it. Really.
Okay, let me explain…
I do realise that what I’m about to say is contrary to much of the current #LiveYourBestLife social narrative. I also realise that each of us have to follow our own path so listen, or read, to what resonates with you and ditch the rest.
Have dreams in your heart but live for today
The problem I have with the whole #LiveYourBestLife story is that it’s unrealistic depending on your interpretation. Often the interpretation, if Instagram is anything to go by, is that this means travel, a great body, first class food etc etc. It’s just not realistic and it’s too much bloody pressure; eat perfectly, make money, keep in shape… blah blah blah. Of course we all want those things but I think in the pursuit of them, we miss life. At least I have in the past and now Living my Best Life means a quick drive to the shops with my dad, coffee with my mates, dinner with my family, going to work, ice cream and a good book. That’s a great life right there. Yes I want many more things but to be honest I’m not entirely sure it’s in my cards, I guess we’ll see.
The thing is, and I was recently chatting to international speaker Dennis Heijn on this recently, as he’s written a piece about luck being as significant a factor in reaching your dreams as hard work is. What I’ve come to realise is that the truth is that I’m not / you’re not in charge of the luck department. Read more on this great piece here.
So before I carry on I want to just clarify the differences between dreams, goals and a life plan with the caveat that not many of my plans have ever gone according to plan. A dream is just that; it’s a desire in your heart that may or may not come true due to an array of factors that need to come together in order to make it so. A goal is something that you can work towards given certain steps you can take. A life plan is a general plan that you keep to in order to live a life that you can be proud of.
For example my dream is to go to Italy and try as I might I have not yet been able to make it come to pass. My goal is to reach 50 Discovery Vitality weekly rewards this year – hopefully mostly on my bicycle and my life plan is to retire with enough money to support myself. Of course there’s more but I’ll leave that between me and myself.
Focus on (REALISTIC) Habits
Recently I was doing a marketing strategy and one of my slides was titled “behaviour” and I did it because New Year’s resolutions, and goals… well, they come down to the same things; habits and behaviour. A marketing strategy is slightly but not vastly different from a life plan, goals and resolutions. It’s about where do you want to do and what do you need to do to get there plus or minus.
So in terms of my examples above I make sure I train at least 4 days a week and am set to save 40% of my salary each month. Whether the stars align and I can one day go to Italy or whether I do or don’t get sick, which will affect my training and therefore the goal, well that’s not entirely up to me and that’s okay.
“We’re trained to be outcomes driven, but being habit driven is a far greater determiner of success”
Be human and let gravity to God
Think about it. Do you write your New Year’s Resolutions or your goals in terms of outcomes? If you don’t stick to it are you done? What I’ve come to realise is that you WILL fall off the wagon because it’s just life and there was no damned wagon in the first place. It’s a flipping sad day when we come to see weekends, dinners out, celebrations and Sundays in bed as falling off the wagon. It’s called life!
And secondly life is about habit and practice.
It’s become normal to have these massive dreams but I’m not sure that it’s that healthy. Also goals are great but what about the daily action that happens to make them so?
Discovery (the masters of behaviour) is great because they give me a dashboard on an app that tells me how far I’ve got to go each week but I pretty much know intuitively how many sessions I need to do. I also know exactly what behaviour is needed from me each day / week / month to effortlessly achieve things and not have to have massive pressure on me.
I truly think we have more anxiety in society than ever before. The word can be crazy and scary. We live high pressured lives. Do we really need habits that just up the ante? The wise answer I think is not if it’s going to kill us.
Now I realise, with some humour here that I sound like I have all the answers. I don’t. I’ve just chased many dreams in my life. I’ve also failed a number of times and honestly if I can spare you the pain then that’ll make me happy. So my friends hold dreams in your hearts but as to the realisation of the dream, well as my dad always says
“Lisa, let gravity to God”.
PS If you loved this then you may LOVE this talk from Srikumar Rao “Discover The Spiritual Formula For Unshakable Mental Toughness & Outrageous Success”