We all have goals, aspirations or at the very least, desires and wishes that we want to see come true one day. Some of these we work more or less hard for, others we sort of contemplate in an offhand but hopeful manner, waiting for something to happen of its own accord. A bit like wishing you might win the lottery, if you like.
The problem with this, and I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, is that to win the lottery, you’ve got to actually play from time to time. The same principal applies to your goals.
If you spend your life wanting to be good at sports, but never actually leave your couch, then there’s absolutely zero chance that your dream will come true. In fact, your lack of trying will inevitably produce the adverse effect – you’ll grow even more unfit, thus making your goal even harder to reach at all. You’ll feel miserable about it, but you’ll stick to the misery because that’s what’s comfortable.
Until it’s not.
For those who wait, life could perhaps be divided into two parts. The part where you think you’ll get on with it later and the part where you realize it’s too late. This shift in situation and perspective doesn’t come all at once of course, otherwise more of us might actually do something about it. Rather, it creeps up on you, one little thing at a time.
It starts with cartwheels or running around without needing to catch your breath. Granted, some people manage to do both those things for a very long time, but for most of us, the idea of propping up our entire body weight with our arms can seem a little daunting. We relegate these things to childhood. We think that it’s just a part of aging, a part of life.
You probably remember people telling you that you would gradually have to give up your dreams as you grow older. You wanted to be an astronaut or a doctor or a singer. The use-by date on those dreams might be gone now, simply because life and circumstance forced you onto a different path. You’re okay with that path (hopefully), even if you sometimes dream of spaceships or scalpels or jam-packed concerts. You’re okay, but it still kind of hurts when you realize that people were right. You had to let go of something, sooner or later.
Sometimes, it can be emotional. You think you have so much time to spend with your love ones, until you lose one and then it’s too late. You regret the times you blew them off or didn’t listen to what they were saying. You want to turn back time, to put things right. You want to choose a different path.
You want to be at the point where you can “do”, where you can choose. Where you can make a conscious decision to do the right thing. You wish you could have the foresight to make those good choices now, even though you know you probably won’t. You’ll forget about it. You’ll go back to your old ways. Next time you’d rather stay in, you’ll find an excuse. You’ll make a choice and you won’t even pause to consider the consequences.
It is a sad fact that you can’t do everything you want to. Life forces you to choose all the time. Your desire to be a prima ballerina? Yeah, probably not going to happen unless you’re six years old and extremely flexible. That’s okay. There’s other stuff to do.
I’m talking about your real dreams, the ones that keep you going. The ones that are still possible, the ones you’ll get to later. Yeah. Those ones. You know exactly what I mean.
They’re asking for some attention. They’re asking that you start playing with them, instead of just looking. They want you to find that spark, the one you dream about, and keep it alive.
It’s not easy. Don’t listen to those who pretend it is.
If you want to be a writer, sit your ass down and write.
If you want to lose weight, make ALL the necessary changes in your diet, even if it means cutting out your favourite foods for a while.
If you want to start exercising, take that very first step. Go for a walk. Go for a run. Go for a swim. Whatever makes you feel alive.
If you want to make new friends, put yourself out there. Speak up. Reach out. Don’t wait for others to come and find you.
If you want to quit your job, consider your options and listen to your heart. Don’t waste time doing something that gets you down. There is a place for you, out there, somewhere.
If you want to start a business, focus on the things you can do and let other people know.
You might not get those perfect results immediately, but your wish will still come true. You’ll be doing whatever it is you set out to do, which is the best you can hope for. The only way you can be good at something is by doing it… and you don’t get to claim it as one of your interests or hobbies if you’re always saving it for later.
Do what you have to do, to get to where you want to go.
Do it now.