Today, we are discussing Steps 1-3 in the 10 Steps to Meaningful Change presentation. What do I mean by “meaningful” change? Meaningful change is characterized as that which has a profound impact on our daily routines, activities, and focus items. Examples of meaningful change might include finishing a degree, opening a business, writing a book, learning to play a musical instrument, becoming a mentor, or quitting smoking. Meaningful change is that which necessitates getting in touch with yourself in ways that you are probably not in touch with yourself currently, and then taking the specific action necessary along the road of self-discovery and accomplishment in order to achieve your goals and dreams. If you’re a middle-of-the-packer like most people, you’re used to taking a backseat to the other people you prioritize: your parents, your spouse, your children, your boss, etc. It’s time to change that. It’s time to get behind the wheel and drive to your destinations.
Most people make excuses to delay or altogther avoid chasing their dreams. How many times have you said something like:
“When I have more time, I’ll finally be able to…”
“Once things slow down at work, I’ll have time for…”
“As soon as life gets less hectic, I’m going to…”
The problem is, you never have more time, things at work never slow down, and life certainly never gets less hectic. You need to decide today to begin a journey to accomplish your goals and dreams. You need to begin this journey with purpose, with a roadmap in hand, and with the belief that you need to make you a priority. You need to put yourself first, even if your goals and dreams are not self-serving.
If you’ve come this far, I’m going to assume you are close to, or are at that point in your life right now. You’ve decided to seize the day and begin to engage in meaningful change so you can get the most out of your life.
So where do you begin? We will answer that question with today’s post. Then, throughout the next several weeks, we will continue to explore the additional steps. By the end of this exercise, you will have the roadmap and tools necessary to guide you on your journey.
Step 1 – Have an Honest, Deep, Heart-to-Heart With Yourself
This requires you find a quiet space, at a quiet time, when you are in a reflective, focused, inspired mood. Sit down with a pad of paper and a pencil and write down your thoughts to the following questions:
-Am I the most I can be?
-Are my dreams a priority?
-Am I doing the things in life that make me the happiest?
-Am I accomplishing all I can accomplish?
By answering these questions, you will begin to spark the long-suppressed thoughts about the dreams and goals you have for your life. Perhaps you’re far away from where you want to be, and perhaps you’re almost life your dreams. No matter, we can all let life get somewhat in the way of what we truly want to do. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. As middle-of-the-packers, we need to learn to put ourselves first. If you take the time to have an honest and open discussion with yourself, you can identify those things that are fires burning deep within. Perhaps they are flickers, perhaps they are raging flames, but either way, you need to pay them attention. You need to give them oxygen. You need to give them life.
Step 2 – Make a Dreams List
After you’ve answered the questions in Step 1, it time to think big! What would you love to do in your life? What dreams do you have? What have you always wanted to do? Here are some ideas:
- Establish a non-profit organization
- Open a restaurant
- Complete your first novel
- Learn to speak French, Italian and Russian
- Get your Master’s Degree
- Start a consulting business
- Become an inventor
- Become proficient at playing piano
- Design and make your own clothes
This list can go on and on, and doesn’t begin to explore the possibilities. What’s important for this step in the process is to avoid filtering. Dream as big as you can. Be as wild as possible. If you want to be the world’s best ping-pong player, write it down. If you want to win an Academy Award for best original screenplay, write it down. If you want to donate eight hours of your time each week to charity, write it down.
Step 3 – Stop Dreaming and Start Doing
Now that you have your list of five, or ten, or twenty things you would like to accomplish in life, prioritize them. What things would make you the happiest to pursue? What goal is just a little more special than all the rest? Which dream has a bigger sense of urgency than the others?
Once you have prioritized your Dreams List, choose the three most important, meaningful, and obtainable life goals. If your Dreams List is a long one, you still might be able to reach all of your goals, but for now, we will start with the top three.
Remember, these first steps are only meant to have you identify your life’s dreams and goals. We will move on the next steps in future posts.
Grab your pad of paper, your favorite pencil, and go find a quiet place where you can reflect, have a true heart-to-heart with yourself, and create a working list of your dreams and goals.
Stay tuned and let’s work together on this process in a purposeful and meaningful way.