I am a dreamer. And not just in the sense that I have a vision for my future and plans for what I want out of this life. I also have dreams about my present - ways in which I wish my current situation was just something very different.
I dream of a different house, of more money, of better time-management skills, of a happier attitude, of peace and contentment. So why can’t I ever seem to make any of these things happen?
It may be largely due to the aforementioned inability to use my time efficiently, but I think the biggest reason is that I’m just plain scared to.
As humans, we are creatures of habit, and I love having a daily routine. It gives me purpose.
But sometimes that routine becomes a crutch, and any attempt to stray from it (even if doing so would result in improvement) is met with great resistance from none other than yours truly.
I am my biggest obstacle. And here are seven reasons why I know this to be true:
1. I am afraid to fail. I have long prided myself on being the over-achieving, straight-A, valedictorian gal who can do anything she puts her mind to, and do it well at that. And to be honest with you, I’ve done pretty well in that task for a good portion of my life (though motherhood pretty much dashed that to pieces…). But the thing is I’ve never really strayed too far from my comfort zone. I’m very aware of my abilities and I try to play those to my advantage. But I don’t expand myself because of it. I never really move forward. Because I’m too scared of what might happen if I try something new that I may not be good at.
2. I hate bringing attention to myself. I really really do not like being the center of attention. I don’t really think I have anything important to say. And I DO NOT want to be the one that anyone looks to for advice or to make decisions. But what if I do have something valuable to say? What if going against the grain or changing up my own status quo will bring something new to light for myself or for somebody else? Doesn’t that make it worth it?
3. I don’t like that my decisions affect more than just myself. I’m not just afraid to fail myself, I am deathly afraid of failing others. Namely my family. And as a parent and wife, my decisions have consequences that touch their lives as well. What if I throw too much of myself into a given direction and it goes to pot? Then I haven’t just wasted my own time and energy, I’ve taken time away from my loved ones and have nothing to show them for it in the end.
4. I am afraid of what others will think of me. I’ve just never been a very bold individual, because I don’t want to offend anyone or cause any tension in my relationships. But same thing here. By not pushing the boundaries and starting the tough conversations, aren’t I allowing my relationships and my own life to grow stagnant?
5. I don’t have enough faith. I love God. I really do. But I do not have enough faith. I battle myself every single day because deep down I still believe that I am the only person who can make anything happen for myself. I don’t really give God the faith that He deserves. Faith that He has a hand in the direction of my life, and that only HE can make that happen for me.
6. I don’t want to give anything up. Although there are a lot of things that I would change in my life right now, and things I would gladly trade, there is also a lot that I really cherish and don’t want to give up for the sake of progress. Of course I have my non-negotiables, my family’s health and well-being being one of them, but what about things that seem to take great priority in my life such as the time I spend on social media or that extra hour of sleep I take advantage of many mornings? Are there better places to expend my time and effort?
7. I am afraid of what I can’t see, what I can’t dream of. Like I said before, I am a dreamer. I have a vision. But what if I never see that vision come true? What if the future holds something completely unexpected? What if my imagination is what limits me from reaching my full potential, simply because I just couldn’t imagine what was in store for me? How will I ever even find out, if I don’t first learn to forfeit control of my own vision? AND...what if I am actually limiting the realization of my PRESENT potential for the very same reason - that I am not reaching outside of my own expectations for myself?
You know what I see from these seven points? That I spend an awful lot of time worrying about myself and my own insecurities, and I put a lot of weight on myself by expecting that I should be able to find “success” ON MY OWN.
Whether I like it or not, I can’t and I won’t.
As much as these seven points are very much a part of who I am at this time, they are keeping me from achieving my dreams and achieving my future.
So here’s my counter-strategy: I’m going to continue to wholeheartedly pursue my dreams, but I’m going to let those dreams be flexible, even impressionable. I will reach out to the people around me, those I already know and those that I don’t, and learn from their dreams and visions, and let those affect a change in my own. I am going to seek guidance from others on how best to reach my goals and search for ways to aid others in achieving their own goals.
I’m not going to live life alone, and I’m not going to DREAM alone.
I’m going to push myself and others to live outside our comfort zone, to try new things, to openly share our hearts, to ask ourselves if there are better ways to spend our time than the activities we currently include in our routines...and I am going to ask myself to fail, because that’s a necessary part of succeeding.
As you look ahead to the New Year and think about what changes you might want to make to get you closer to reaching your goals, I encourage you to also take some time to think about how you might be a limiting factor in making those dreams and desires into realities. Write those thoughts down, share them with a friend or loved one, put them someplace visible, and let them be a reminder to let go of yourself, have some fun, and open your mind to the unknown - to the dreams you never dared to imagine.