What’s Keeping You From Chasing Your Dreams?
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Does it ever seems like something is holding you back from chasing your dreams? Whether those dreams and goals are financial goals, career goals, aspirations to have better health, better relationships or better anything, do you ever feel like you’re stuck between wanting those things and being able to take the necessary steps to get there?
I can identify.
For years we wanted to have a better financial life. We wanted to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, to beef up our savings and retirement, and to be free of the bondage of too much debt. However, it took nearly 15 years from the time we decided we wanted those things until we actually started taking concrete steps to get there. Has that ever happened to you? Or, are you still in the stage where you know what you want but you haven’t made that commitment to do what needs to be done to reach your goal? Today we’re going to talk about some of the things that might be holding you back from chasing your dreams, and what you can do about those roadblocks.
Fear of Chasing Your Dreams and Failing
I think part of the reason it took my husband and I so long to start on our journey to debt freedom and financial independence is because we were afraid to fail. Several times in the past we’d start budgets, but we’d never make it last past the first week. Why? Because any time we spent money, we felt like we failed. As if it was no use trying to reach our goal because we knew in our hearts we weren’t going to succeed. The fact of the matter is that we didn’t have any faith in ourselves and our ability to stick with our goal to completion.
How did we fix that? Well, we lowered our standards, in a sense. We decided in our hearts that even if we could make it 10% of the way to our goal, it was better than nothing. We took the pressure off of ourselves to win the war, and focused on winning the battles, so to speak. We first committed to make it through one day of spending wisely. Then we challenged ourselves to spend wisely for a month. Soon, the small successes we saw started to be contagious, and we realized that we had a lot more strength, smarts and perseverance than we thought we did.
If you’re afraid to start chasing your dreams because you’re afraid to fail, try setting the bar a bit lower and pursuing a smaller dream, an easier goal, and then move up from there.
Fear of Success
Another reason it took Rick and I so long to start pursuing our dream of financial independence is because we were afraid to succeed. I know that must sound silly, but think of it this way: any time you find yourself chasing your dreams, and then completing that dream or goal, there’s a whole new kind of pressure that can come along with that success.
For instance, when one reaches a goal of being debt free, they’re going to have to learn how to keep living a life of debt freedom, only with a whole lot more money available to spend. They’re going to have to challenge themselves not to go on a crazy spending spree. Why? Because being in a secure situation, financially for instance, can breed a false sense of security.
Several times in the past Rick and I had been at a point where we had paid off all of our consumer debt, and every time, what followed was a very carefree attitude about money. We told ourselves that it was okay that we charge $1,000 because that would be easy to pay off or that it was okay to spend all of our money because we had no debt, and if an emergency came we could just use the credit card.
When we started our debt payoff journey this time, we were afraid of success in a different way. We knew we had the perseverance to reach our goals, but we were afraid in a way of losing the life we love. We were afraid of losing relationships with people we know who identify with us because they’re struggling financially, and we were afraid that people might not feel the same about us if we’d reached our goal of financial independence.
How did we overcome this?
Well, we set checkpoints, so to speak, in place to conquer those fears. For instance, regarding our fear of losing relationships because of our changing money status, we resolved not to mention our road to debt freedom to anyone unless they specifically asked us for our thoughts or advice regarding money. With another fear, a fear of become jerks if we became wealthy, we committed within our family that if we saw one another becoming prideful or arrogant, we’d call the person on it. By setting checkpoints in place to conquer the fears about success you might have, you move those roadblocks out of the way, leaving you free to keep chasing your dreams.
You’re Not Ready
Another thing that might be keeping you from chasing your dreams is that you simply don’t want those dreams bad enough. It’s been said that when the fear of staying the same is bigger than the fear of change, it’s only then that we’ll have the strength we need to make the changes we want to make. If you’re having trouble chasing your dreams, maybe it’s because you don’t want it bad enough.
How do you fix that? Well, it might be time to have an honest conversation with yourself. How important is chasing your dreams to you? Do you really want debt freedom, or are you, deep down, okay with making just the minimum payments every month? Do you really want to be healthier, or is your evening snack of ice cream and chips more important? There’s no right or wrong answer here, but really, there’s no point in pursuing a goal of being debt free if you really don’t care that you have debt, so why pressure yourself to pursue dreams that might be somebody else’s and not yours? This is the time when you have to sit down with yourself and decide what dreams are truly important to you. Draw that line in the sand, decide what you truly want, and then make the commitment to dump the dreams that aren’t important to you and to focus on reaching the ones that mean the most to you. This will help ensure that you succeed at chasing your dreams, provided they really are the dreams and goals that mean the most to you. If you’re having trouble reaching your goals, decide today to diagnose the roadblocks that are keeping you from taking positive steps toward reaching those goals, and then go for it. I know you can do it.
Have you ever had a dream in your heart that seemed unreachable? What did you do about it? Is paying off debt one of your dreams? If not, what dream do you want to chase? If you’re not chasing your dreams now, what’s holding you back?
Photo courtesy of: Ignacio Palomo Duarte