As a young woman, I used to dream of all the things I would do and places I would see, knowing one day these dreams would become a reality. But as the years progressed and I grew up, I realized if I wanted my dreams and ambitions to become reality, it was going to be up to me to make this possible!
We all have dreams of a better life, things we want to do or achieve. But so many of us are still waiting for the perfect moment – the money, the right time, the ideal place, and so many of these dreams will remain just that. Many people will give up these dreams and say, “It will never happen for me anyway,” and sadly many of them will be right. Here’s why.
Commitment: The Fast and the Furious Society
We want things and we want them NOW, with minimal effort and even less of a clue as to how we will actually procure the desired item. As a society, the need for instant gratification is becoming more and more common when it comes to achievement, relationships, job success, and life in general.
Considering “instant gratification” is often used for behavioral change (think Applied Behavior Analysis and Pavlov’s Dogs) it isn’t hard to understand the motivation behind this behavior. Desiring optimal results with the least number of calories burned is rooted in our DNA as a “survival tool.”
But this isn’t an excuse in our world today. We are not cavemen anymore. We don’t need to hunt in survival mode all day to stay alive (non-metaphorically speaking). For the most part, life is not as ambiguous as it was “back then.” Sure, unpredictable things happen all the time. That is why “committing” is important. When you’re committed to something, such as a relationship, a career or your children, you are better able to make decisions that deal with those unexpected situations, rather than to run around arms flailing in the wind or to just give up altogether with the attitude of “oh well.”
As the World Changes, We Must Change with It
Having just made the statement about cavemen above, we as humans have an enormous brain capacity for problem solving. At this point, it is less about ability and more about our motivation. The problem lies in the fact that most people aren’t motivated enough to make their dreams become reality. It takes day after day of perseverance and hard work, and BOTH FEET IN to the decision to become successful in whatever it is you want to be successful in. Motivation only takes you so far before COMMITMENT comes in to play. And as I stated before, commitment isn’t something that many people are willing to “commit” to (pun intended). We are always keeping that “option” open for something “better” – better job, better relationship, better gadgets, better lifestyle, better life.
Living half-heartedly is not really living at all. You will always be in a constant “perceived” state of “transitioning”. I am not talking about change. Everyone changes as they grow and learn; I am talking about feeling like you are forever wanting, always waiting…never living in the moment to truly improve your situation, and instead always having that one eye on the lookout for the “perfect life.”
Well…LIFE AIN’T PERFECT FOLKS…but life IS what we make it.
How to Live with Both Feet IN
Most people will never achieve their goals because they never truly set one. Goal setting is S.M.A.R.T.:
Achievable (for you personally)
Relevant and Recorded
If your goal is to make more money, then that isn’t really a goal. Ok, so you want to make more money, but what are you willing to do and how are you going to do it? Setting a specific goal is where people get confused. They know what they want (sometimes), but never want to make the changes necessary that will get them there. Change is scary, it takes effort and time, and if you aren’t willing to give that time and effort then ultimately you will stay where you are, still dreaming of making more money, feeling stuck and helpless.
Commitment to the Goal: Decide
I used to have the most difficult time making decisions. I would weigh every pro and con until I drove myself crazy, and neither choice looked particularly desirable. This made me feel stuck, which caused me to shut-down sometimes, and shutting down will never get you to your goals.
Goal setting is simply deciding, and committing to sticking with that decision NO MATTER WHAT.
A good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be:
Finishing your bachelor’s degree. Now that the goal is specific, you can make it achievable. When you know the what, the where, when and how will almost seem to just fall into place. Get the ball rolling by simply calling the school to find out what you need to do. Often all you must do is ask, and the answer will be given to you, so to speak.
Of course, I am making this seem like it’s fast and easy, but like anything worthy or valuable, it takes effort on your part. In the example of going back to college, it will be on YOU to make it happen. YOU must fill out the enrollment forms. YOU must learn ways to pay for tuition such as applying for grants or scholarships. YOU must sign up for the classes, and go through the bureaucratic red tape. YOU must actually attend the classes, study, and show up. It is a process, it is a commitment, and you cannot be only halfway in or you will fail.
Usually it isn’t the long-term process that people have issues with, it’s the daily grind. Stay focused on the present, on the task at hand, and go one minute at a time if you must. Commit to the goal every day.
Nothing in your life will ever seem worthwhile if you are only in it halfway. Commitment is scary, but ironically, commitment is also freedom. Don’t waste any more time. If you want something, go get it, both feet in.