“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~Nelson Mandela
Do you wish your circumstances in life were different? Have you reconciled yourself to accept that you can't achieve your goals? Do you think it would be nice to travel, but you don't think you can afford it?
It's time to change your mindset and learn how to take control of your own life.
Think Like a Child
Children don't like to accept “no” for an answer. They question every refusal. “But why not?” they ask.
“Because we can't afford it” is not an acceptable answer to a child. That has no real meaning to him.
A couple of years ago, my son set his heart on a gaming computer. That's a souped-up, fancy, faster, better, very expensive desktop PC. The price on these things start at over $1,000.
I explained it was out of the question, not in the realm of possibility for us at my income level. But he wouldn't let it go. He wouldn't accept that we couldn't afford one. He had to find a way. He kept coming up with ideas and “what ifs.”
What if his grandparents and everyone we know who buys him birthday and Christmas presents put all their money together to buy the gaming computer?
Well, that still wouldn't be enough money, but the more intelligent his suggestions became, the more I started to take them seriously. Maybe he's onto something here. We sat down to brainstorm and write down ideas of how we could actually make this happen.
And we did make it happen! We asked my ex if he would contribute to the new computer, and he agreed to help. My son asked for cash only from family members for his birthday and Christmas. The ex found a friend who could build a computer for our son, and we ordered the parts from Amazon.
We ended up getting a sleek and beautiful, powerful gaming computer worth about $1,500, but it only cost me $400.
A few months later, my daughter shared her monumental dream of going to Paris. Having just learned the above lesson from my son, I refrained from saying, “No possible way! We can't afford it.”
Instead of dismissing the idea as unrealistic or out of the question, I thought about it seriously and came up with a plan to save from my tax refund over the next several years. My daughter will be asking grandparents for cash gifts for her coming birthdays during that time span as well.
We began this plan right after she turned thirteen, and our goal is to visit Paris by the time she is seventeen.
Develop a Plan
What do you want out of life? Is there something you want to achieve that you think is out of your reach?
First, change your mindset. Instead of dismissing your dream as unrealistic or too big, ask yourself what it would take to accomplish it. Don’t dismiss your dreams; think how you can make them happen!
Brainstorm with friends or family. Sometimes they will have different ideas you may not have thought of. Anyone who is not helpful or tries to tell you that you can’t achieve your goal does not get to play!
Develop a plan for achieving what you want in small, do-able steps. Make each step relatively easy to accomplish so you achieve success right away. That feeling of success in achieving each goal will motivate you to reach the next one.
Too often, people fail in achieving their goals simply because they don’t develop a do-able plan like this to help them succeed.
Do you want to earn a degree, lose twenty pounds, move to a nicer place, or organize your house? Develop your plan to begin your process of getting there!
For example, instead of the vague idea of losing twenty pounds, come up with a plan to set several smaller steps that you can reach easily.
You could start with the first step something like committing to exercise for twenty minutes while watching your favorite TV shows only three days a week. Or walk the dog ten minutes longer each day. Something that makes sense for you with your own lifestyle that will be easy for you to succeed.
Then when you get that step down, go to your next step which could be eating a healthy salad for lunch three days a week or drink a glass of water before each meal or whatever you know will work for you to accomplish another step closer toward your ultimate goal.
You will stay motivated as you achieve each step, and the process will be much more painless than attempting a strict diet or exercise regimen all at once.
When New Year’s resolutions fail, it is usually because a whole lifestyle change is much more difficult to stick to than one easy positive change at a time. Be patient. Those small positive changes will lead you to achieve big goals!
In the scenario of organizing the house, increase your chance of success by developing your plan of small, do-able steps, and then accomplish the first one. You could start with a hall closet one weekend. Your child’s left-side dresser drawers. A section of the garage.
As you mark off each small goal successfully accomplished, you move closer toward your ultimate goal of the whole house. You’ll be much more likely to keep motivated because you will not feel too overwhelmed with those small tasks you can accomplish quickly.
After you develop your plan and divide your goal into small, do-able steps, take that first step. Now you've actually started! Reach your first easy goal, and then ride on that feeling of success to accomplish the next one. You’re unstoppable! Be patient and persevere. You’ll get where you want to be!
What dream can you make your reality by developing your plan to make it happen?
Photo by Kara Harms