Someday, I’d like to ________________________.
What would you fill in the blank with? Skydive? Finish your degree? Hike a 14er? Eat healthier? Visit Africa?
We all have things on our “someday” list. Often they are big dreams that are a little scary. So scary, in fact, that we don’t always say them out loud.
At times, we treat our someday dreams like a cat we smuggled into an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. We keep them hidden in a safe place; removing them occasionally to nurture, and quickly stowing them away for fear that they may be discovered.
If we’re not careful, our someday dreams become regrets.
In my previous posts, I discussed the unique challenge it is to find purpose in the mommy years, and how part of that process is getting to know yourself. Another piece of the purpose puzzle is taking action.
Listen, moms, I know how easy it is to get into a rut. There are a million (good) reasons to stay in your routine and go with the known. It’s simpler for the kids, it doesn’t take effort, and you don’t upset anyone else’s agenda. Plus mom guilt.
If you are discontent, you might need to shake things up a bit.
Why not take on one of those someday dreams?
Someday dreams reveal parts of our personality. They usually appeal to our sense of adventure or our desire for self-improvement. They are often big. So big that they overwhelm us, and we don’t know where to start. Then we get stuck.
We get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start because we are focusing on the end result and not the first step. So back up and ask yourself, “What one small step can I take in the next few days toward my someday dream?”
Those first small steps are often exploration. What options are available to you based on your time availability and budget? Don’t underestimate free resources like online learning, community courses, podcasts, webinars, and library books. Or maybe just ask advice from someone who has already done what you want to do.
When I turned 40, I decided to fend off a mid-life crisis by running a sprint triathlon. I’d not swam a lap in…I don’t know if I’d ever swam a lap on purpose. I’m a mediocre runner and both my bikes date back to the 1990s.
Not exactly a recipe for success.
But completing a sprint tri was a someday dream, so I decided to go for it.
My first small step was to ask the advice of a friend who had done several triathlons.
My second small step was to sign up for the race that she recommended.
After that, I went to the pool and tried to swim.
That first day gave me confidence to go to the pool again. And again. And again.
Then I got my 1995 Bianchi road bike tuned up. And I rode it.
Then I took a Triathlon 101 class that was offered by the city.
None of these actions got me all the way to my goal; yet, each small step got me a little bit closer toward finishing the race – which I did 9 months after registering.
Like a snowball rolling downhill, each intentional action you take toward your goal will build momentum.
But you do have to act.
You will think up one million reasons not to act on your someday dreams. You don’t have time, you don’t have money, it’s not practical, it’s not important, etc., etc., etc. Or is the real reason fear?
Fear of failure. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of making the wrong choice. Sound familiar?
Let’s exploit these fears for the lies they are.
Failure: Are you scared that you won’t achieve your dream? If you never try, you also won’t achieve your dream.
Looking stupid: There’s a really good chance that you will look stupid when you do something new, but are you willing to sacrifice your dreams for the opinions of others? The first day I went to swim laps, I showed up in a mom-tankini and a ponytail. No goggles. No swim cap. I also thought I was going to drown because breathing in water is hard. You know what? I have no idea who else was in the pool that day and I’m guessing they don’t even think about my flailing awkwardness at all.
Making the wrong choice: If you are mired down by analysis paralysis, I feel you. This is my favorite fear. It’s my default. When in doubt, I research, and research and research some more. Then I take time to think about my choices and then still do nothing. So please hear me when I say that something is better than nothing. It is easier to change course when you are moving than it is to get moving in the first place. Besides, there is often more than one route to your goal – so don’t get over-invested in finding the most perfect way. Just do something.
Mamas, your someday dream might still be far in the distance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to start moving in the direction you want to go.
Someday, I’d like to ___________________________.
What’s your answer?
What small step can you take in the next few days toward your someday dream?